KTM’s Jonny Walker starts next week’s Red Bull Romaniacs as the defending champion. So is he ready for the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rally?

With the #1 plate on his bike, Walker heads to Sibiu, Romania as the rider everyone will be trying to beat. Undefeated in all the major extreme enduro races in 2015, Walker is looking to continue his winning ways but knows all too well that at Romaniacs anything can happen…

Jonny, what does it feel like to be headed to Red Bull Romaniacs as the defending champion?

Jonny Walker: “It’s hard to believe that this year’s Red Bull Romaniacs has come around so quickly, but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it. It’s pretty cool to go there as the defending champion and have the #1 plate on my KTM. I take a lot of pride in that. Winning Romaniacs was one of my highlights in 2014 – it took a lot of work and effort to win it.”

What makes it so tough and different to other races?

Jonny Walker: “It’s just such a different kind of race to what we normally do. It’s not just hard for one day but five days of some insane riding. Last year I clocked up 36 hours of racing – that alone is crazy, never mind doing it across some of the hardest enduro trails in the world. It’s a style of race that takes time to learn and it took me until last year to figure out how to string the perfect week together.”

podium redbull-romaniacs 2014 MG 9409Walker took the win in 2014 but will he do it again this year? Beating Jarvis at his ‘favourite event’ won’t be easy.

Is there anything you’ve learned that’ll give you an edge this year?

Jonny Walker: “I think the biggest thing I’ve learned with this race is confidence. Trusting myself in what I’m doing. The navigation isn’t overly technical – actually the course is very well marked – but when you’re alone on that mountain it’s up to you to make the right decisions, sometimes in a split second. I’m happy to lead at the front now, open the course, cut the lines and still ride fast enough to win. To me that’s one of the most important things you need to be able to do in this race.”

We saw you race at Cowm Quarry in the UK last weekend, why was that?

Jonny Walker: “I only get a couple of chances to race at home each year and with Cown Quarry being so close to where I live it was a great opportunity to go there. I like taking the 250f outdoors – it’s a great bike. I’d spent a lot of time on my 300 EXC recently so it was nice to mix things up, getting the win by over four minutes was a bonus.”

Overall 2015 has been an incredible year for you so far with wins in all of the Red Bull Hard Enduros, does that add any pressure heading into Romaniacs?

Jonny Walker: “It’s amazing just how well 2015 has gone. But it doesn’t really add any extra pressure because I want to try and win any way. Of course I’d love to have been the only winner at Erzberg but we all did the best with the hand we were dealt. Romaniacs is a new race, everything that has happened is in the past doesn’t really count for anything. Someone could step their game up and have the race of their life. But I feel ready for and I’m just as hungry as ever to win. I won’t be backing down without a fight!”

jonny.walker erzberg-2015 MG 6525Impressive form at Erzberg suggests that Jonny Walker is going to be a hard man to beat at Romaniacs