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Manuel Lettenbichler’s First Career WESS Championship Victory

Manuel Lettenbichler’s First Career WESS Championship Victory

The World Enduro Super Series was back in action last week with Red Bull Romaniacs in Sibiu, Romania. Known as one of the most difficult enduro events in the world, Romaniacs is a five-day event including an Urban Prologue in downtown Sibiu followed by four days of epic enduro terrain winding in and out of the Carpathian mountains. Coming into the weekend, the young German Manuel Lettenbichler sat 2nd in the series standings after a 5th place finish at the Hixpania Hard Enduro. The veteran Taddy Blazusiak was also in the mix and had his eye on a solid finish in Romania.

 

Day 1 Highlights

Blazusiak got off to a great start in Sibiu and fought off a hard charge from South African Wade Young to take the victory on the technical urban Prologue circuit. The Polish legend set himself up nicely for the following days and held the lead going into Day 2. Lettenbichler wasn't far off the pace and took 6th place to get the event started.

 

Day 2 Highlights

The real enduro action began on Day Two as the field moved to the wilderness. The riders were greeted with a high-speed, 102-kilometer course that Lettenbichler later described as, "a Motocross track in the woods!" Veteran Graham Jarvis lead the pack in the early stages, with Lettenbichler and Blazusiak just behind. The lead pack broke out in the afternoon and Blazusiak suffered a mechanical problem with his bike, causing him to lose a lot of time. The day ended with Manuel Lettenbichler in 3rd and Taddy Blazusiak in 8th.

 

Day 3 Highlights

Day Three saw a momentum shift and some early drama as last year's winner Wade Young was forced to retire from the race due to a mechanical problem. With the defending champ out of the race, the front pack took advantage of the opportunity, and Manuel Lettenbichler held on to his position in 3rd. Taddy Blazusiak moved up two spots into 6th position and looked to close the gap to the front runners in the final two days.

 

Day 4 Highlights

Day 4 of Red Bull Romaniacs saw the field take on a 142-kilometer course weaving away and back from the host city of Sibiu and was arguably the most demanding day thus far. The lead pack saw many changes throughout the day, with Alfredo Gomez eventually forfeiting the lead to Manuel Lettenbichler at the close of the day's racing. Taddy Blazusiak had a great Day 4 and clearly favored the terrain as he moved from 6th to 2nd place. Lettenbichler was the third race leader in as many days and looked to hold control through the final day and earn his first WESS Overall win.

 

Day 5 Highlights

On the fifth and final day of racing, Lettenbichler controlled the lead from the early stages and looked to gap the field as much as possible. Heavy rains greeted the riders as the race wore on and Alfredo Gomez was able to close the gap on Lettenbichler in the slippery conditions. The two exchanged the lead a few times before Manuel took control again, and he entered the final climbs with a comfortable gap. After crossing the finish line first, he patiently awaited for Gomez to cross the line before he was declared the winner. After many podiums and impressive performances dating back to last season, Manuel Lettenbichler enjoyed an emotional first career WESS victory!

Manuel and his father, Andreas Lettenbichler, became the first-ever Father-Son duo to win Romaniacs, with the senior Lettenbichler's last Romaniacs win coming in 2009. The big win also pushed him to the top of the WESS championship standings after five of eight rounds completed.

 

“I’m over the moon right now, I really can’t believe it. This race is really something special and to win here feels amazing. The event is so long and so hard and anything can happen, so I’m so pumped to take the win. It’s been an incredible five days and so gnarly, especially with all the rain we’ve had. Some of the uphills that would have been tricky anyway have become near impossible today. It’s 10 years since my dad won Red Bull Romaniacs so it’s great to be able to match his achievement – the Lettenbichlers are definitely going to celebrate tonight!” - Manuel Lettenbichler

 

WESS Championship Standings

  1. Manuel Lettenbichler - 3570 Points
  2. Graham Jarvis - 4460 Points
  3. Alfredo Gomez - 3164 Points
  4. Mario Roman - 3070 Points
  5. Billy Bolt - 2725 Points
  6. Jonny Walker - 2700 Points
  7. Taddy Blazusiak - 2590 Points
  8. Josep Garcia - 2555 Points
  9. Nathan Watson - 2031 Points
  10. Pol Tarres - 1995 Points

 

WHAT'S NEXT

The World Enduro Super series resumes in late September with Round 6 of the series at Hawkstone Park in the UK.

 

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