Defending National Off-Road and former Enduro champion Jade Gutzeit (Yamaha) won a tough and challenging 2012 Riverbed Rodeo Enduro at the weekend.It was the opening round of the 2012 SA National Enduro championship at the Qolora Mouth area on the edge of the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape.Gutzeit, who finished 2011 as runner-up to Kiwi Chris Birch, won E1 (Open Class). His team mate Marc Torlage won E2 (200cc) and finished only 28 points behind him after a close battle. Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) was second in E1 and the third overall despite a crash and being stuck in mud.BROKEN ANKLEThe race consisted of a short motocross special covered twice by the E1 and E2 racers though they also had to complete the longer timed special stage three times. Dust played a big role – the light breeze did little to clear it – and some riders were dehydrated by the heat. Gutzeit and Torlage won two of the five tests each while 2011 junior Off-Road champion Wade Young (Yamaha) won one of the MX tests. Birch (KTM), who broke an ankle bone in the 2012 Dakar Rally in January, crashed and could not complete the race.Darryl Curtis (KTM) finished third in E1 and was fourth overall, 29 points ahead of Brian Capper (KTM) who admitted that he made some mistakes as he was pushing hard. Motocross and supermoto rider, Lloyd Vercueil (Husaberg) was fifth in E1 after his first National enduro race (he was sixth overall), Brad van Aswegen (Yamaha) was second in E2 (seventh overall) after some trouble with his rear wheel and James Hodson (KTM) rounded off the E2 podium.CALCULATION ERRORKenny Gilbert (KTM) competed in his first enduro race in South Africa in years (he’s lived and raced in the USA for the last five years) and was sixth in E1 (ninth overall) while Riaan van Niekerk (KTM) had to settle for fourth in E2 (10th overall) after he also lost time in mud.Scott Bouverie (KTM) was fifth in E2 (11th overall), just ahead of JC de Bruyn (Yamaha). Former junior competitor Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha), who also competed in his first Senior National enduro, finished only four points behind De Bruyn. Gray Dick (KTM) was 14th (seventh in E1) and Young 15th (eighth in E2) thanks to a time penalty (they made a calculation error he did not leave on his allocated time).Brett Lewis (Gas Gas) finished just behind Young on the overall standings and was followed by another junior rider, Michael Pentecost (Yamaha); Mark Garland (Yamaha); Michael Creevy (KTM) and Dominic Mantle (KTM) who rounded off the top 20.Altus de Wet (KTM) who could not finish due to mechanical problems. Defending Senior Class champion William Gillit (Yamaha) had to settle for second Yamaha rider Jody Engelbrecht beat him by 93 points. They were followed by a newcomer to the National Enduro series, Ryan Struckman (KTM) with Clive Coulthard (KTM) fourth – only 17 points behind Struckman – and Engelbrecht’s team mate, Bruce Gargan fifth and a mere two points (seconds) behind Coulthard - showing how tough the competition was. ONGOING BATTLEThe top 10 was completed by Wayne Bouchier (KTM) who was sixth; East London’s Peter Jung (KTM) eighth, only five points ahead of Bruce May (Yamaha) with Dricky Morkel (KTM) rounding off the top ten. Another East London rider, Steve Landman (Gas Gas) retired towards the end of the race when a tyre came off its rim.Denzil Torlage (Yamaha) started defending his Master Class title with a victory and the battle between himself and Mark du Plessis (KTM) will continue this season with the Cape rider finishing second in the Eastern Cape. Graydon Ilderton (KTM) rounded off the podium with Roger Clark (Gas Gas) fourth and Barries Barnard fifth.The Silver Class Challenge was won by Chris Strampe (KTM) who was followed by Riaan van der Walt (KTM) and Tsukhulo Mojaki (Yamaha) third.The second round of the National Enduro championship, the H-TEC National Enduro, will take place on April 14 at Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape.