Enduro season battles starts
FIGHTING CHAMP: Wade Young (16) from Paddock, KwaZulu-Natal won E2 of the Liquorland Baynesfield WFO Enduro race on Saturday (Feb 23).
kwaZulu-Natal 's Wade Young (16) started the 2013 Liquorland National Enduro Motorcycle championship the way he finished the 2012 season – with a victory.
Young, the youngest rider to win the gruelling Roof of Africa in Lesotho (in 2012), took his first victory of the season by winning the Baynesfield Enduro race at the season opener on Saturday (Feb 23) near Pietermaritzburg in KZN.
KEEPING THE LEAD
Young (Husaberg) posted consistently fast times on the six timed special stages and won stage four and E2 - the 200cc Class. He was in a tight battle with the 2012 runner-up and triple E2 champion Marc Torlage (Yamaha) who won two of the six stages.
Torlage’s pit crew had to fix a bent sprocket and chain guide resulting in him receiving penalty points when he left the service area after his dedicated time. The defending E2 champ finished fifth overall (third in E2).
It was a first National Enduro podium and E1 (Open Class) victory for Nicholas Pienaar (KTM) who finished second with 94 points behind Young. Only 32 points separated Pienaar from Scott Bouverie (KTM) who finished third (second in E2) after a consistent race. Torlage’s team mate Kenny Gilbert claimed the second place in E1 and was fourth overall. Defending off-road champ, Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) had to settle for sixth after winning three of the special stages.
Mahoney experienced a mechanical problem during the third stage. He was forced to repair it and lost valuable time during the stage, causing him to walk away with third place in E1, knowing victory was within his reach.
Only E1 and E2 competitors had to complete the 42km full race distance loop that included two special stages (five km and 17km). Racers had to complete each timed special stage thrice, with 27 E and E2 riders finishing the race.
The battle in the Senior Class championship also continued from where it was left off at the end of the 2012 season when multiple champ, William Gillit (Yamaha) claimed the title.
Jody Engelbrecht (Husaberg) has thrown down the gauntlet (again) and although Gillit took the first round, Engelbrecht was only 15 points (seconds) behind him. Both have claimed two stages each. Bruce May (Yamaha) finished third after hitting a tree and his bike’s chain came off.
Another battle that started on a high note, was between two local ‘veterans’ – Alfie Cox (KTM) and defending Master Class champion, Denzil Torlage (Yamaha). This time it was Torlage who had to settle for the runner-up trophy for the first time in years with Cox winning the class.
This can turn into a fight to keep an eye on for the rest of the season. Dino Santoro (KTM) was third; Darryl Melrose (KTM) finished fourth and Gary Bostock (KTM), who has not been competing on national level last year, finished fifth in a class that saw a healthy amount of 17 entries of riders all over the age of 46 years.
The Silver Class challenge was won by Junior National championship competitor, Damien Scott (Yamaha) who had a comfortable lead ahead of Sage McGregor (KTM).
Toni Jardine (KTM) and Kirsten Landman (KTM) were third and fourth respectively. This battle between the girls can also develop into an interesting duel during the season.
Junior competitors are gaining more enduro experience by also competing in the National Junior Challenge Class this season. This time the defending 125cc Class champ (Junior National championship) – a Pietermaritzburg youngster, Travis Teasdale (Husaberg), won the class at Baynesfield with Ross Blackwell (Kargo Racing Yamaha) second.
The second round of the season, the Ashton National Enduro, will take place in the Ashton / Montagu area of the Western Cape on March 23, 2013.