With Graham Jarvis starting first on day three of Red Bull Romaniacs after claiming victory during the second day's action, the pressure was on for the defending champion to pull away from Jonny Walker – the challenger to his crown, and winner of the Red Bull Hare Scramble last month.
But reeling Jarvis in was the only thing on Walker's mind and as they approached the mid-point in the day, he had already wiped out Jarvis' five-minute lead.
As the difficulty of the terrain increased during the afternoon's stages, neither rider was able to capitalise. Racing towards the spectacular finish on the roof of a disused coal factory, Jarvis reached the Red Bull finish arch first, but Walker clinched the win on adjusted time. With little or nothing to separate them in the overall classification, the final day of racing will be a flat out drag to the finish.
Third place went to Wade Young for the second day in a row. It seems the teenage South African has stepped up his game, and he is now in contention to claim a debut podium at Romaniacs.
Starting the day in fifth, Paul Bolton enjoyed a solid ride to place fourth with Andreas Lettenbichler back in fifth.
Fix Me Quick – I'm racing tomorrow
The Red Bull Romaniacs is punishing. It's not just hard on bikes, but also on the body and mind. Endless kilometres of the hardest terrain in Romania takes its toll on the riders. Ensuring competitors remain in the best shape possible, renowned physiotherapist Annett Fischer is on hand for the duration of the race to ease out those aches and pains or tape up strains and sprains.
Personal physio to the Dakar Rally driver Stéphane Peterhansel, Fischer knows her stuff when it comes to fixing battered bodies.
I've seen all sorts of injuries in this race.
"This is my fourth year at the Red Bull Romaniacs," says Annett. "I've seen all sorts of injuries in this race – from muscle and joint strain to knee injuries and aching bodies.
"This year I've also been working closely with Andreas Lettenbichler. He arrived with a neck injury before the race even started. Lymphatic tape goes a long way to help riders finish each day, but ultimately their mental strength is what drives them on. They're so determined to finish – it's incredible."
What tomorrow will bring?
The end of this year's Red Bull Romaniacs may be in sight, but there's still some 180 kilometres left to race over on the final day. With the fight for victory so close it will be an all-out fight to the finish. Any mistakes will be costly. For the afternoon Grand Finale the infamous Gusterita hill climb awaits too. Conquer this near vertical climb and you've beaten the 11th edition of the Red Bull Romaniacs.
Iron Class hero
Name: Christian Häusle
I lost my right leg in an accident when I was 13 years old. Sport has helped me to master my destiny. I started skiing at the age of 15, five years later I became a disabled ski world champion two times and finished second in the Paralympics once. My fate became a big motivation for me to reach my goals.
Sport has helped me to master my destiny.
After racing in the Superbike world championship in the late 1990s, I started riding Enduro bikes about five years ago. To compete in the Red Bull Romaniacs Iron Class I trained strength and endurance up to five times a week. I was always fascinated by this race, and now I want to see if I can do it.
On the second day I hit a stone with my boot. After that impact my prosthesis was twisted through 90 degrees. While servicing the bike we called my orthopedic technician to learn how my artificial limb could be adjusted correctly again.