The 15th edition of Red Bull Romaniacs is go, with Britain’s Billy Bolt storming ahead for the prologue win. Here’s how it all went down. In front of thousands of spectators, Billy Bolt put in a commanding ride to claim a start-to-finish win in the opening day of racing at Red Bull Romaniacs 2018. Charging clear, Bolt topped the podium over Wade Young and Taddy Błażusiak. World Enduro Super Series leader Jonny Walker was fifth behind the top three and championship rival Manuel Lettenbichler, while 2017 Red Bull Romaniacs winner Graham Jarvis was seventh.

Competitors perform during the prologue at the Red Bull Romaniacs in Sibiu, Romania on July 24, 2018.

In the heavily stacked Gold class, it was Lettenbichler who topped the qualification time sheets over WESS point’s leader Walker. However, with the flag dropping on the race, Bolt was the rider who immediately rose to the head of the field. Never challenged throughout the 15-minute final, he cruised his way to a commanding victory. I’m delighted with the result, it’s a nice confidence boost, but I know once we hit the mountains, that’s when the race really begins.

“I’m chuffed to get the prologue win,” told Bolt. “The track was seriously tough and with so many bikes on it picking a clean line was difficult. I seemed to find a good pace from the off and kept my cool throughout. I’m delighted with the result, it’s a nice confidence boost but I know once we hit the mountains that’s when the race really begins.”

Young made the best of bad traffic to pull clear and secure his debut Romaniacs prologue podium. “I enjoyed myself out there,” said Young. “We had a good battle going all race long and it was a lot of fun. I managed to break away towards the end and had enough in hand to keep second.”

With Błażusiak third and Lettenbichler fourth, WESS series leader Walker remains quietly confident about the week ahead. “I’ll take fifth, it’s not a bad starting position to be in for the first day in the mountains,” commented Walker. “By all accounts it’s going to be hell out there, the ground is wet and soft – there is no easing into this year’s race.”

As the most successful rider at Romaniacs, Graham Jarvis is also the most experienced, with over a decade’s knowledge of the Carpathian Mountains under his belt. Seventh in the prologue, he too is expecting a big day ahead. “It’ll be survival of the fittest this year. The weather has not been kind during the last month or so and the ground is wet,” said Jarvis. “In conditions like that the race won’t be won tomorrow but it could well be easily lost. Seventh isn’t a bad starting position – I’d have liked to be higher up – but I know what I need to do and I’m solely focused on that.”

Gold Class Results:

Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 11 laps, 17m 50.377s Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 10 laps, 17m 56.627s Taddy Błażusiak (KTM – POL) 17m 58.377s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 17m 59.877s Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 18m 17.127s Pol Tarres (Husqvarna – ESP) 18m 34.130s Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 18m 55.377s Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 19m 04.880s Alfredo Gómez (Husqvarna – ESP) 19m 39.130s Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 9 laps, 18m 48.377s