Directed by Michael Graber
70 minutes, not rated
Throttle Entertainment, 2009
by Victor Wanchena
There is enduro racing and then there is hard enduro. The average enduro race involves a race against the clock around a cross-country course. There are time checks along the way to check whether you’re ahead or behind the speed laid out for the course. Arrive early at a checkpoint and you’re okay, late and you get penalized. Then there’s hard enduro. This rarified sport is the domain of true maniacs. A hard enduro is longer, harder, and infinitely more punishing on rider and machine.
This month’s video is a recap of the “2008 Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rally, The 5th Edition.” The event is held in the picturesque town of Sibiu, Romania. The event organizer, Martin Freinademetz, chose Romania because of their generous laws regarding cross-country motorcycle travel. Consequently, the daily stages of Romaniacs are longer and tougher than any other enduro race. The pro-level riders are often riding 100+ miles a day on grueling terrain for 4 consecutive days.
The event begins in the center of town with a qualifier event called, “The Prolog”. It is an obstacle course that is runs through the town center. Your qualifying time determines your starting position. The obstacles shown were rather daunting, including truck tires laid on their slide and a huge arced slalom built from wood that snaked between two buildings. The Prolog is tough enough that not every rider makes it through unscathed and provides excellent, up close viewing for spectators.
The next day, the actual enduro portion of the race begins. The course is marked, but because of the remote nature of the tracks, many riders get lost. A few even got lost just trying to find the start. As one competitor put it, “The directions were to turn at the wooden fence. There’s f’ing lot of wooden fences in Romania.”
The riders headed off into the wilderness, guided by a few course markers and hopefully a working GPS. As they climb and descend the mountainous terrain of the Carpathian Mountains, you begin to get a sense of how truly grueling the competition is. Of the total number of entrants, only a handful will finish. Some sections are so steep that they are nearly impassible. The locals pride themselves on staging in these areas to help drag bikes up the hills. Without spoiling the final results I can say that even the favorites and highly ranked riders fall victim to the brutal course. Injuries and broken bikes are common.
I thoroughly enjoyed this video. The production quality was excellent and the action was almost non-stop. A nice cross-section of riders was followed with special attention paid to the top-level pro-riders and promising up-and-comers. My only critique is that producers didn’t include enough detail about the course, or (especially) The Prolog. I would have loved a more detailed run through of the obstacles and a basic idea of the main course. Despite this, I was glued to screen for the entire time.
There are videos documenting other years of The Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro. This video chronicled the 2008, but each one is equally exciting and worth viewing. They are available from Throttle Entertainment at www.throttleentertainment.com.