By Adam Simpson
THE Red Bull Romaniacs is renowned as the world's toughest Hard Enduro - and for good reason. Now in its 14th year, the gruelling five-day event sees riders sent across some of the most extreme terrain imaginable. Every year the course is designed to be as hellish as possible for the competitors and 2017 was no exception. Here's our run down of the highlights across the epic five days of the 2017 Romaniacs:
As the riders prepared to tackle the already punishing Prologue, a heavy downpour made for some treacherous and challenging conditions during the opening day of this year's Red Bull Romaniacs. Spain's Alfredo Gomez managed to get through the slippery urban assault course with the fastest time, followed closely by Brits Billy Bolt and Jonny Walker.
Off-road day one
The first day of the off-road racing saw a battle emerging between Great Britain's Jonny Walker and Graham Jarvis. Walker was leading with his fellow countryman only a minute or two behind. Jarvis then managed to catch Walker, make a pass and check out to become the overall winner of day one with an impressive ten minute lead. Mario Roman of Spain also passed Walker, who finished the day in third place.
Off-road day two
Day two would prove to be another testing day for the riders, as they would have to negotiate some of the toughest terrain Romania has to offer. This of course included the frightening 'Holy Rock' section, which saw even the world's best riders tumbling down the hill, with both their body's and bikes bouncing off the rocks that lined the steep, narrow pass. Jonny Walker finished the morning in first place ahead of Paul Bolton and Graham Jarvis. Walker made a mistake later in the day however, which allowed Jarvis to pass him and take back the lead. This meant the Husqvarna rider would retain his overall leader status going into day three with Mario Roman in second and Walker in third.
Off-road day three
By day three, serious fatigue had started to set in for many of the rides, and another huge storm the night before made everything that little bit harder. The seemingly unstoppable Graham Jarvis edged ever closer towards another Romaniacs victory while a disappointed Jonny Walker was forced to retire only minutes after setting off, due to a hand injury sustained the previous day.
Walker said: “I was hoping for the best but it just wasn’t to be. I couldn’t hang onto the bars properly with my left hand. I couldn’t operate the clutch properly either, which is one of the most important things at Romaniacs. I had no option but to retire.”
Off-road day four
To the joy of his friends and family, the final day of racing belonged to the one and only Graham Jarvis. The 42-year-old made history as he became the most successful rider in the history of the event, winning the world's toughest Hard Enduro race for an unbelievable sixth time, with Mario Roman in second and an elated Paul Bolton in third. Jarvis proved that age is only a number and cemented his status as the best Hard Enduro rider of all time.
Jarvis said: “It’s an incredible feeling to win Romaniacs for the sixth time. Everyone was on top form all week and I’ve had to up my game a lot just to take the title.
“It’s been a battle for survival over the last four days, so I’m just glad to get to the finish. The win is a bonus.”
Final Overall Results
1. Graham Jarvis GBR 32hours 33minutes 26seconds
2. Mario Roman ESP +00:34:44
3. Paul Bolton GBR +00:50:53
4. Manuel Lettenbichler GER +01:01:35
5. Travis Teasdale RSA 02:05:27