The defending champion from Paddock started eighth and finished the day second, behind Graham Jarvis from the UK (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team), despite enduring a rocky start.
“I had a bad start today and hurt my foot. I don’t know how bad it is actually but it’s been pretty painful for most of the day. Still, I came on strong towards the end of the day and I’m happy having made up quite a lot of time, so I’m very happy to finish second today,” he said.
In terms of the South African Gold Class riders, Dwayne Kleynhans (Brother Leader Tread KTM) finished 21st, Matthew Green (Kargo Liqui Moly Racing) 23rd and William Oosthuizen (Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing) 27th.
The day got underway with Pol Tarrés (ESP) first onto the tracks on his Husqvarna. The Gold Class track was a shorter one with 102km but supposed to be quite intense.
However, most of the pro riders admitted that they are now beginning to understand why the tagline of the Red Bull Romaniacs 2019 Edition is “Sweet 16”: Challenging, but rideable and just a bit less demanding compared with the last two editions.
The conditions for the Gold Class were really dry and saw Young, Manuel Lettenbichler (GER, Flatschingfast Factory Team) and Jarvis pushing hard right from the start.
Given the results of the Prologue time trial in the centre of Sibiu on Wednesday, Lettenbichler started 9 minutes, Jarvis 10 minutes and Young 11 minutes after Tarrés.
Since Off-Road Day Two is supposed to be a lot faster, Jarvis knew he had to make up some time in the tougher and more technically demanding terrain which he is most skilled in.
Given the shorter distance of 102km the “Silent Assassin” didn’t fool around: Right from the start he got into his quite unique rhythm and passed one rider after the other.
Avoiding mistakes and making sure not to mess with the orientation on the tracks, he maintained a continuous pace and was pleased with his result.
Jarvis said, “It was an easier day compared with Off-Road Day One in 2018 which I was quite happy about. I didn’t really make any time on the difficult sections but I kept a good pace throughout the race.
“Also, I didn’t make any serious mistakes and I caught the other guys early on so I gained a bit of time. It’s going to be faster days, it won’t really suit me. But I have to get over it and go full throttle.”
Lettenbichler finished behind Young in third place. “The day was not bad, I gave it all and had a good start. I was pretty fast on the first uphill and caught some riders who had started ahead of myself like Billy Bolt. So we rode in small groups for most of the day, it actually felt almost like a Motocross race today.
“Sure, some of the uphills were a bit demanding but not too hard – I expected the day to be much harder I must admit. I made a little mistake just before the finish, went over the handlebars and had to fix the throttle real quick. If the Off-Road Day Two tomorrow is supposed to be a fast day it obviously will be really fast.”
The young privateer Davide Cyprian from the Czech Republic showed an exceptional performance on his KTM by clinching an impressive sixth place ahead of Jonny Walker (UK, KTM) and Taddy Blazusiak (POL, KTM) who won the Prologue.
Cyprian commented, “I had a great day today – I rode a very solid pace. I managed to stay mistake-free through the day and ended up seventh, which is great. It has just started to rain now so tomorrow might be pretty tough but I’m still looking forward to it and we’ll see what happens in the next few days.”
The Off-Road Day Two course will be one with some historical flavours. Decebal was the last King of Dacia – a historic region in Romania and he is famous for fighting the Romans.
However, the riders will fight against the track, especially on the 151km of the Gold Class: The second day will again start with a proper Red Bull Romaniacs style Gold Loop before it turns into a very fast race track covering a lot of kilometres. Thus, the riders with fearless high speed skills might have an advantage.
At the end of the race there is a new section – Brother of K2 – where riders will have to demonstrate excellent uphill skills if they don’t want to lose too much time there. The remaining section between the Brother of K2 and the finish is a fast track again.
Top 10 Results – Gold Class
1 Graham Jarvis (GBR Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing): 4 hours 27 minutes 16 seconds
2 Wade Young (ZAF, Sherco Factory Racing Team): 4h 28m 31s (+1m 12s)
3 Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU, Flatschingfast Factory Team): 4h 29m 22s (+2m 3s)
4 Mario Roman (ESP, Sherco Factory Racing Team): 4h 30m 11s (+2m 56s)
5 Alfredo Gomez Cantero (ESP, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing): 4h 31m 1s (+3m 55s)
6 David Cyprian (CZ, JD Gunnex KTM): 4h 46m 58s (+19m 44s)
7 Jonny Walker (GBR, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): 4h 45m 13s (+19m 56s, +2m 30s penalty for speeding)
8 Taddy Blazusiak (POL, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): 4h 48m 6s (+23m 16s, +2m 30s penalty for speeding)
9 Pol Tarrés (ESP, TTR Officine Rigamonti Husqvarna): 4h 54m 8s (+26m 21s)
10 Dieter Rudolf (AUT, KTM): 5h 8m 1s (+40m 46s)