Courtesy of KTM Racing
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker, Taddy Blazusiak, Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson are ready to race Red Bull Romaniacs. The demanding event marks the fifth stop of this year’s World Enduro Super Series and looks to be one of the toughest on the 2019 calendar.
Celebrating its 16th edition, Red Bull Romaniacs will once again challenge all riders with new trails and extreme sections in the Romanian hills. Tuesday July 30 will see the traditional Prologue take place on the streets of Sibiu before four full and demanding days of riding lead to the event’s thrilling climax on August 3, where the 2019 Romaniacs champion will be crowned.
Two-time winner of the event Jonny Walker comes into this year’s race having finished as runner-up in 2018. Currently lying seventh in the WESS standings, but with the top positions extremely close on points, Jonny knows a solid finish could successfully rocket him up the rankings.
Jonny Walker:“I’m feeling good coming into this year’s Romaniacs, I’m lucky in that so far this year I haven’t had any major problems with my fitness, it’s just the strength in my arm that’s lacking a little. I have been spending a lot of hours on the bike on the run up to the event and I’m confident that my pace and skill is definitely good enough for the podium. I’ve won before and finished second last year so I know what to expect and what to do to succeed. It’s definitely going to be a challenge as always but I’m hoping the extreme sections this year will fit in nicely with the faster flowing tracks and we can get a really good race out of it. Obviously, nobody can control the weather and if conditions are bad it could make for a very tough race.”
Following a strong start to last year’s race, Taddy Blazusiak was forced to retire midway through the event due to a bout of food poisoning. Determined to make up for it this year, the Polish rider is aiming to claim his first win in Romania. Taddy lies eighth in the championship standings, one place behind Walker, and will be going all-out to claim valuable WESS points.
Taddy Blazusiak:“I’ve been looking forward to Romaniacs, partly due to what happened last year. I’m feeling good and more comfortable on the bike now and I think I have a really good package for the race. Everyone knows the event will be tough and the organisers always try to throw in a few surprises along the way. I know my pace is good, so if everything goes well, I’ll definitely be aiming for a position on the podium.”
Currently sixth in the WESS standings, Josep Garcia already has one win under his belt for 2019 having claimed victory at round two – Trefle Lozerien AMV. The young Spaniard made his Red Bull Romaniacs debut last year and for this year’s race he not only knows what to expect but has also adjusted his training to suit.
Josep Garcia:“Last year’s Romaniacs was the hardest race for me, but I got through it and I plan to do the same this year. It looks like the weather might play a part again but I think I am better prepared and have been working a lot on my training. My plan is to get to the finish and earn good WESS points before the next two rounds at Hawkstone and Solsona, where I think I have a good chance of taking the win.”
Similarly, to teammate Garcia, Nathan Watson was thrown in at the deep end at the 2018 Romaniacs with the race being proclaimed as one of the toughest in history. Battling through the rain-soaked days, Watson never gave up and was rewarded with 16th place overall – an impressive achievement for the motocross-turned-enduro rider. Although not his favourite event on the calendar, Nathan comes into Romaniacs with a positive attitude and a desire to claim his second consecutive finish at the world’s toughest hard enduro rallye.
Nathan Watson:“I’m coming it to Romaniacs determined to do well and get to the finish. It’s safe to say it falls slightly outside of my comfort zone but with a year’s experience I know what to expect now and I know exactly how tough and challenging it is in every way. I think my extreme skills have improved since last year so I’m hoping to improve my result.”
Red Bull Romaniacs, round five of the 2019 World Enduro Super Series, takes place in Sibiu, Romania from July 30 – August 3.