Sherco’s Mario Roman has finished a sensational second at the 2022 Red Bull Erzbergrodeo in Austria, round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship.
The Spaniard was one of only eight riders to get to the finish line in the brutal event before the four-hour cut-off, with his factory teammate Wade Young also among the select group.
Young was running in fourth position until some mechanical woes near the end saw him limp home in seventh.
Roman finished just over three minutes behind Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler after a near race-long arm wrestle, while Canadian Trystan Hart was third.
It was a debut win for Lettenbichler in the 26th edition of Erzberg – and it also marked the first father and son duo to win the race, with Andreas Lettenbichler victorious in 2015.
The fight for victory hung in the balance between Lettenbichler and Roman for most of the journey, with a couple of new savagely difficult sections – where Roman’s trials-like skills came to the fore – keeping things interesting.
At times there was very little in it, but Lettenbichler always maintained the upper hand.
Roman said: “It was super hard. We had walked a lot of sections, but there were a lot of surprises to contend with. It was probably the hardest edition I’ve ever done.
“Mani (Lettenbichler) and myself were close all the way and at Dynamite it was down to nearly 20 metres, but I couldn’t close the gap. He rode a great race.
“I lost my grandfather on Monday too, so I want to dedicate this result to him.”
Meanwhile, Aussie hard enduro championship leader Chris Perry was a very respectable 31st in the final classification on his Sherco 300 SE Factory, one position ahead of countryman Wade Ibrahim. Victorian Anthony Solar (Sherco) was 40th.
After three rounds of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Roman is now in second position, just 2pts behind Billy Bolt who was fourth at Erzberg.
But it’s a tight leaderboard, with just 16pts separating Bolt from eighth-placed Michael Walkner. Young is seventh on 32pts.
The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship continues with round four at Red Bull Abestone in Italy from July 8-10.
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 2:58:51; 2. Mario Roman (Sherco) 3:02:17; 3. Trystan Hart (KTM) 3:11:53; 4. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 3:18:25; 5. Alfredo Gomez (GASGAS) 3:20:30; 6. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 3:40:32; 7. Wade Young (Sherco) 3:55:13; 8. Matthew Green (KTM) 3:55:54…
Championship standings (after three of eight rounds):
1. Bolt 45pts; 2. Roman 43pts; 3. Lettenbichler 40pts; 4. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 37pts; 5. Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 35pts; 6. Gomez 33pts; 7. Young 32pts; 8. Walkner 29pts; 9. David Cyprian (KTM) 16pts; 10. Green 16pts.