Mbabu Muturi is a brave man. The 42-year-old has been riding Enduro for about four years, but his reputation proceeds him as he becomes the first Kenyan to take on Red Bull Romaniacs.
'People tell you that Romaniacs is the toughest off-road race in the world, but you can't picture it until you get here'
Muturi came through the first off-road day in one piece, but found it an eye-opening experience. "The first day was very hard, very rough. I really suffered.
"I’ve put in a lot of time to prepare for the event, but I found myself out there questioning whether I’ve actually done enough training."
But there’s no doubting the dedication and hard work Muturi has put into his preparations: "I crashed quite a lot for about the first year and a half of riding Enduro, and I was often injured."
"Then I did some training with Chris Birch and he completely changed my riding style."
Muturi has had an eye on competing in Romaniacs for about 18 months: "I've been following the race and looking at clips on YouTube and it really appealed to me. Last year I came here as a spectator and that was enough to convince me to give it a try."
And after just one day of riding off-road in Romania, Muturi knows what he has to do differently to prepare for the future.
"People tell you that Romaniacs is the toughest off-road race in the world, but in truth you can’t picture it, not in concrete terms, until you get here.
"Even if I were to train all day in Kenya, nothing could fully prepare me for what’s waiting for me here in Romania."
But he has no doubt what the biggest obstacle has been for him so far: the long climbs up into the mountains. “The mountains here are horrible!" he laughs. “Sometime we’re climbing up a steep, rough hill for more than 500m. And just when you think you’ve reached the top, there’s another climb, which is just as long and just as steep.”
But it’s all part of the Romaniacs experience because out of that hardship, grows a unique camaraderie among the riders. “At the start a lot of riders try to get out as far in front as they can and ride alone. But then you hit a point where suddenly all the riders start to stick together, look out for each other and even help each other out."
So even though Romaniacs is the hardest Hard Enduro in the world, when it comes to falling off, it’s at least a softer landing than you’d get from Muturi's home ground. "The terrain is very rocky in Kenya, so if you crash, you can very easily get seriously injured. But here in Romania, there are soft forest floors with lots of leaves and branches. So it’s a much softer landing than in Kenya.”
Stay tuned to redbull.com/motorsports for more Red Bull Romaniacs news.
- Red Bull Romaniacs site
- Report from Day One of Red Bull Romaniacs
- The history of Red Bull Romaniacs
- More motor sport on redbull.com