Rain and sun, stones and mud, hellish and heavenly up- and downhills delight since ever the participants of the coolest ATV competition worldwide: CFMOTO-HUNT-THE-WOLF. The week-long event in Romanian Transylvania has lured to this year’s ninth edition 83 drivers from 16 nations in its three classes, among others the American professional driver Rick Cecco. Looking at the first EXTREME sections he said: “I never thought that such steep ascents and descents are doable with an ATV …”. From 27 registered riders in the EXTREME class then only 7 got to the finish…

But in order.

Because the race always takes place from Monday to Saturday, most drivers arrive over the weekend in the small mountain village of Baisoara. A few days acclimatization in the area located at 1200 meters above sea level is a good thing to do especially for first time starters. The ATV park is guarded and in the neighboring guest house all the registration procedures are rapidly unwound Monday. Then starts and started the actual race: the EXTREME drivers immediately had to follow a GPS-lined path in the woods directly behind the pension. 5.4 km had to be driven in less than 30 minutes, when it took organizers 21 minutes to finish that round. The Czech Pavel Saska, winner in 2013 and 3rd in 2014, and others undercut this time right away by 5 minutes. And to the surprise of the organizers no driver exceeded the preset time. Well then, on to the real race.

In rows of seven all pilots simultaneously started on Tuesday. Spectacular it continued over 50 to 85 km long and most beautiful ATV trails in Europe. While EXTREME and CROSSOVER drivers must follow the GPS tracks with a tolerance of 100 m left and right, for ADVENTURE pilots the search for the “wolves” in the vastness of the Apuseni mountains begins with the mass start.

The first day was designed gentle, really serious it was getting the four following days: more “wolves” for finding and photographing in ADVENTURE, more ups and downs and diagonal rides for CROSSOVER pilots and more of everything in EXTREME. Gasoline could always be refueled at a checkpoint midway, but without the time ever stopped. Start and finish and in between just flat out! Soon were rolling the first ATVs … in all classes. Driving errors, overestimation and technical problems reduced the field; the organizers were busy as hell to get out of the woods defective vehicles, or what was left of them. The mechanics at the base were working day and night.

With two jeeps photographers and film crew were carted to the most spectacular passages like Killer Downhill, Highway to Hell, Rocky Canyon, Small Valley, Gerini’s downhill, Radu’s uphill and to the many other passages that owe their name to participants that in the previous events had rolled over there. Via Facebook was reported live from the tracks, also when the only not bad accident occurred: because of a faulty self-construction on the footrest, the driver suffered an open lower leg fracture. We wish rapid healing.

Rain exacerbated the difficulties on the second day of the race. Many drivers reached their limits, switched to a lower class to avoid future damages on body and vehicle. Not so the inspiring Quad rider Petr. With the help of his ATV-driving friend David the Czech managed every day to reach the finish in CROSSOVER despite silted routes and two-wheel drive – and no rear gear on his Quad. Chapeau! But the weather forecast promised sun. Race director Oliver let the tracks upload as planned on the GPS devices: Dan’s uphill, Andreas uphill, Vlad’s uphill, Bogdan’s uphill, …. and many new passages got names this year: Rick’s downhill, Kai’s uphill, …

The best nose and orientation proofed three teams in ADVENTURE: the race-experienced love couple from Austria, Ursula and Gerhard, then father and son Pawel and Marek from Poland and finally from Germany Jan-Rudolf, Andrej and Mike. The latter won the final sprint on the last day despite their exotics between the legs: Dinli and Cectek … Bravo!

In CROSSOVER everything could change until the final finish. Although the Hungarian Robert won the last four of the five days, Aleksander, Liviu, Emil and even the always calm Edu always stayed on the heels. But because Robert made no more mistake, and the others could not pass him, he won in front of the young Pole, the Romanian, his Hungarian friend and the German Edu.

In a somehow separate class two riders drove in EXTREME: Saska and Rick.  They simply drove so much better then anybody else. Saska won what could be won: from the test-round to all days, even to the last. Because of the “day to cancel” he had not even to start on Saturday. But he did, letting everybody pass immediately. But after 70 km he nevertheless reached the finish line first. And just before the finish even a brown bear crossed his way … What a lucky guy! Less relaxed the other Extreme-pilots were racing. They fought for second and third place. Rick pushed the gas most aggressively – but always only until the next creek. Organizer Authentic-Spirit had borrowed its own racing machine to the American professional rider, but unfortunately cooler problems slowed Rick down from the second day on. After long climbs the US-guy always had to fill up the radiator-water, which cost time and nerves. Because he also managed technical and really steep sections next and not on the ATV, as the other drivers did, on the faster sections Rick had to push like crazy in order to secure his second place. And he succeeded. Bravo! The other drivers remained with the third place on the podium, which – with luck and skill – the Romanian Dan secured himself, after Alessandro lost a lot of time because of technical problems and Vlad unable to pass him. The finish was finally also reached by the only non-Can-Am rider Dominik with his cat and Michael – who had to leave behind his young friend Kai days before after a total loss crash.

Thus, only 7 of 27 drivers reached the finish in EXTREME.  Is this 6 too many?

Results in EXTREME:

I. Pavel Saska, Can-Am Renegade 800xxc (CZ)

II. Rick Cecco Cecco Racing, Can-Am Outlander 800xxc (US)

III. Dan Condre, Lion Racing Team, Can-Am Renegade 800xxc (RO)

Results in CROSSOVER:

I. Robert Kiss, Heca, Can-Am Renegade 1000 (HU)

II. Aleksander Mazurkievicz, Silezian Riders, Can-Am Renegade 800 (PL)

III. Liviu Bereteu, Can-Am Renegade 1000 (RO)

Results in ADVENTURE:

I. Jan-Rudolf Patsch, Dinli Evo 525, (DE)

Andrej Meier, Cectek King Cobra 500, (DE)

Mike Rehberg, Can-Am Outlander 1000 (DE)

II. Ursula Unger, Can-Am Outlander 500 (DE)

Gerhard Kovarik, Can-Am Outlander 1000 (DE)

III. Pawel Sliwa, Silezian Riders, Can-Am Outlander 1000 (PL)

Marek Sliwa, Silezian Riders, Can-Am Renegade 1000 (PL)