Determined to reel race leader Graham Jarvis back in after his runaway win on Day one of the event, Jonny Walker hit day 2 of the 2015 Red Bull Romaniacs hard and fast.Striking immediately, he quickly capitalised on a rare navigation mistake by Jarvis right off the start.
The Husqvarna rider tripped himself up just 100 metres after the 6.30am start by initially following the Bronze class route. Realising his mistake and turning back, Jarvis lost a few precious minutes in the process. More awake than most, Walker nailed his line choice perfectly and began to make inroads into his rival. Catching up to him, he found a way past as they entered the midway service point.
Riding side-by-side for the majority of the afternoon, Walker eventually made his break for the win with 30 minutes to go and pulled out an extra one minute gap to level the overall scores and take control of the race leade heading into day three.
"After my rookie errors yesterday, I had my race face on and was fired up to close the gap to Graham," confirmed Walker. "I got handed a bit of a gift right off the start when I was the only one of the front runners to find the correct route for the Gold class and after a couple of checkpoints I was right with him.
"We both left the service at the same time and rode together for most of the afternoon. At times I tried to breakaway, and so did he, until finally with about 30 minutes to go I went for it and gapped him before the finish-line. Overall I'm pleased with today, I needed to put myself back into contention and I feel like I've done that."
Disappointed with handing advantage to Walker so early in the day, Jarvis could do nothing but settle for second. But the Red Bull Romaniacs is a marathon and not a sprint ,so he's confident his time will come again.
"Brain fade really, that's all I can put it down to," admitted Jarvis. "I missed the arrows that separated the Gold and Bronze class and was just following the trail. When I realised I'd messed up it was too late, my advantage was lost.
"I rode well after that but wasn't able to breakaway from Jonny at the end. Thankfully tomorrow's another day and I've still time to set things right again." After his disastrous first day, South African Wade Young got into the rhythm of the race on day two and was the third fastest rider across the line.
"Day one was a write-off really. My bike set-up was off, I shredded my tyre and just wasn't there in my riding," commented Young. "I rode much more like I should today. I was getting better and better as the day wore on. Hopefully this is the start of me turning things around." Still struggling to find his grove, Husqvarna's Alfredo Gomez suffered a few more crashes and mistakes to end his day in fourth and third overall. Completing the top five but knowing there's room for more, privateer Paul Bolton has fifth
Day two wasn't the best for the KTM duo Chris Birch and Andreas Lettenbicler.A high speed crash early on rung Birch's bell pretty good and brought an end to his race. Lettenbichler meanwhile was one of the numerous Gold class riders to miss their markers after the start. Despite running at the front of the pack until shortly after service point, a hefty time penalty has now put a fair dent in his hopes of a possible podium result or better.
Red Bull Romaniacs 2015 current standings
1. Jonny Walker (GBR) 11h22m06s
2. Graham Jarvis (GBR) 11h25m57s
3. Alfredo Gómez (ESP) 12h04m56s
4. Paul Bolton (GBR) 12h05m038s
5. Wade Young (RSA) 12h21m37s
6. Blake Gutzeit (RSA) 12h55m27s
7. Philipp Scholz (GER) 12h56m13s
8. Andreas Lettenbichler (GER) 12h59m14s
9. Brett Swanepoel (RSA) 13h00m07s
10. Lars Enockl (AUT) 13h03m14s