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Kiwi riders take part in world’s toughest enduro race By Denise Gunn
This year’s Redbull Romaniacs extreme enduro ride drew a group of New Zealand riders which included Waikato’s Sean Clarke and his 16-year-old son Jesse
Considered the world’s toughest enduro race, the Redbull Romaniacs takes place over five days with riders covering daily distances of up to 180kms per day through the mountainous region near Sibiu in Romania. Each year the course is designed to include difficult obstacles and extreme elements over rocks and fallen trees, through mud and rivers, and up steep climbs.
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Waikato’s Sean and Jesse Clarke made the trip to Romania to take part in the recent Redbull Romaniacs extreme enduro ride
Sean has been racing dirt bikes since he was 12 years old. “I started in motocross and then rode enduros and cross country events since I was about 16,” said Sean. “Jesse started riding bikes when he was about five and has only ridden in cross country and enduro rides.” The pair used the forestry around Tokoroa to train in the lead-up to the event. They also undertook a lot of fitness training each night for a couple of months before they left.
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“We arrived about four days before the event started and had a ride on the bikes beforehand,” said Sean. Both Sean and Jesse have taken part in similar rides in New Zealand. “We run one each year called the ‘No Way in Hell’ extreme enduro out at Oparau near Kawhia,” said Sean. This year’s Redbull Romaniacs drew 205 entries from all over the globe. “That’s the best thing about going to Romania is the countryside,” said Sean. “You get to ride in the mountains up to 2500 metres and there is no fencing so you can travel 150kms and not have to stop to open a gate.” In 2011 Sean finished ninth in the Pro Class at the event but this year he was unfortunately hit in the leg by another rider during the prologue. Jesse and team mate Mark Newton came in seventh place in the Experts Class. Jesse was the youngest to ever finish the event.
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Sean and Jesse were able to hire enduro bikes from a dealer in Romania — the same type of bikes they ride here. Sean rode a Sherco 300 and Jesse a KTM 200 EXC.
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Sean and Jesse are already making plans to enter the Redbull Romaniacs next year along with a number of other New Zealand riders. “Next year, Jesse and I are going to ride together in the Experts Teams Class,” said Sean.
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Taranaki/Manawatu Farming Lifestyles, August 2012