Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Graham Jarvis may be one of the more veteran riders in the 2016 Red Bull Romaniacs field, but his substantial skill allowed him to turn back time in more ways than one during off-road day two in Sibiu, Romania, Thursday.
The 41-year-old Jarvis had bided his time during Tuesday’s prologue and Wednesday’s opening off-road day, but on Thursday the Brit stepped up his game considerably. Starting fourth, behind Wednesday winner Wade Young, overall event leader Alfredo Gomez and Travis Teasdale, Jarvis took day’s win in such dominant fashion that he now has a commanding 15-minute lead over the rest of the field.
“I enjoyed today a lot more than yesterday,” Jarvis said afterward. “It was more my type of riding, with some really gnarly bits and some flowing tracks as well. I managed to catch some time up, it’s all about trying to get vital seconds now, trying to claw something up. “Hopefully the same again tomorrow. I’ll be starting off first. It seems whoever gets off first gets caught, so I have to make sure that no one catches me.”
Young started off well but was hampered as he reached the “Viagra Falls” obstacle as his bike began to suffer with clutch problems. Young was able to hand tough and manage a third-place finish behind Mario Serrano to remain third overall, behind Gomez.
“Halfway through this morning I lost my clutch,” Young said. “It’s frustrating when you want to go but can’t. I really did lose a lot of time. It’s gonna be hard to catch up, but I’m gonna try”.
Gomez was fast during Thursday’s stage, but he a lot of time due to crashes. The Spaniard finished the day fourth, losing the overall lead to Jarvis.
“It was a tough day for me today,” Gomez said. “I got a log stuck in my front wheel in the morning and then a big one in my rear wheel in the afternoon, I also crashed a few times, I just made too many mistakes.”
The Gold class has another tough day in store for it on day three, starting off with a steep hillclimb followed by the classic “10A” section. Other signature obstacles will include “Black Slope”, “English Farmer” and the new “CDI”.
The Silver class will face similar conditions to Thursday. The highlight will be the monstrous 1000-meter uphill called “The Beast.” Meanwhile, Bronze and Iron class riders will be on separate single-track trails, but all classes will share some parts of the track, creating potential traffic conditions among the Gold riders and the lower classes.