NEVER AGAIN!...WELL, MAYBE
RED BULL ROMANIACS PART 1
Our story begins, as do many motorcycle tales, when our main character was in his early teens getting the best possible introduction to bike control and skill riding an assortment of field bikes. He had inherited a famous biking name, Lampkin, that of the champion trials and moto cross dynasty from Yorkshire; but aside from a common interest there was no other connection.
CuriosityCuriosity took him on a visit to the famous Lampkin home in W Yorkshire. He was welcomed as a fellow rider, and until his death in 2005 the senior Lambkin, 'Grandad', would send a Christmas card – Arthur his son was a BSA works moto cross rider; brothers Martin and Alan were British and world trials champions; and Martin's son Dougie has been world trials champion twelve times.
Although not a championship contender, Mark Lampkin is an enthusiastic motorcyclist and has continued to ride 'on the dirt' as part of his local Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) group – the TRF organises and encourages the use of legal rural trails for motorcycling. He's also one of the UK's leading motorcycle accident solicitors and a Circuit Judge to boot www.lampkins.co.uk
Along with his mates Mark Hollingsworth and Rob Rogers they had ridden TRF routes in Wales and dabbled in a couple of local enduro events. Nothing too ambitious until last year when they entered and rode in the Welsh Two Day, a tough enduro across some of the best off road terrain in the UK. Mark rode his 200 KTM; they all finished and enjoyed the experience, which is where the 'problems' began.
The toughest extreme enduro in the world...Having an interest in trail and off road riding meant that our three protaganists had heard of the Red Bull Romaniacs event. A tortuous four day enduro, attracting the world's top competitors and described as the toughest extreme enduro in the world. As the name implies it's held in Romania, a country where the spectacular mountain geography and miles of open landscape lends itself to a race of this kind.
Gulp!The other Mark suggested they enter, and, perhaps not fully understanding what would be required in terms of bike handling experience and body torture, the three agreed and parted with the £1600 entry fee – pause for readers to gulp. This did cover their accommodation and food for the event, and fuel for the bikes, but they would still have to get themselves and their bikes to Sibiu the town in Transylvania where the competition based itself in 2015; and set up a system to maintain and manage the bikes during the race.
Like many medieval cities Sibiu holds lots of interest aside from being the Romaniacs base. It was founded in the late 1100's and became an important trading centre in the 1300's when the population was made up mostly of ethnic Germans. It achieved European city of culture status in 2007; it's located right in the centre of Romania and surrounded by several mountain ranges.
The logistical and organisational part of the exercise was partly solved by our trio signing up for a support package offered by Desert Rose Racing www.desertroseracing.com They are the foremost organisation offering support to UK riders who enter off road motorcycle rallies in different parts of the world. Much of their expertise comes from Patsy Quick's experience as the UK's stand out female long distance rally rider. She has been British and European Enduro champion, and was the first woman rider to compete in the Dakar Rally (2003) when it was still run across the Sahara. Patsy operates the company and its services along with her husband Clive.
They transport your motorcycle to the rally site, and as Mark Lampkin told me with some pleasure, they sign write your name on the side of their huge truck so that when you show up in the prime position they occupy in the paddock you feel like a works rider. But the most important part of their involvement is the detailed pre-race check they carry out, the advice and experience they offer, and the fact that at the end of each day your bike is handed over and mechanically sorted. This was obviously effective as the least of the problems they encountered as riders were mechanical.
Here ends the first instalment of the story - always best to end on a cliff hanger - the most exciting part, how they actually got on at the enduro is coming tomorrow...
John Newman for Wemoto news
SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER
Sign up to receive updates and new posts straight to your in-box.