The National Enduro Motorcycle championship is known for gruelling racing and the competition is extremely tough. To compete in two rounds of the 2015 National season on two consecutive days with racing taking place at the beginning of the season is not easy.
That was, however, what competitors did when they tackled the *WFO National Enduro that comprised the first two rounds of the 2015 National season over March 7/8.
The weekend was organised by the WFO Club and the two races were around the Myddleton Dam near Creighton, a village in the KZN Midlands.
In March 2015 riders faced hot, sunny and dusty days though didn't have the luxury of racing on the same track on both days.
Only one of the three Special Stages was the same on each day with another running the opposite direction on the second day and a new stage introduced for Day 2.
The E1 Class was filled with talented young enduro competitors with 23 completing each day.
KTM’s Travis Teasdale (E1/200cc) and Wade Young (E2/Open) won their respective classes. Young paid a short visit to South Africa after competing in Europe since December 2014. He could not obtain a UK visa in time to compete in the ‘The Tough One Extreme Enduro’ that took place over the same weekend.
Behind Teasdale in E1, Brett Swanepoel (Yamaha) claimed two runner-up results with Brandon Warwick-Oliver (Yamaha) and Kyle Flanagan (KTM) each claiming a third place. Flanagan was fourth from Round 1 (March 7) but Warwick-Oliver suffered cramps and fell back to sixth on the second day.
Teasdale’s new team mate, Dwayne Kleynhans, also scored two E1 top-five results (fifth in the first round, fourth in the second) while Tim Young (Yamaha) finished one point (second) behind Kleynhans on the second day to round off the top five (he was sixth the previous day).
The 2014 Silver Class Challenge winner, Dylan Barker (Yamaha), Henco Botha (KTM) and Tim Young’s team mate Michael Pentecost each scored two top 10 results with Flanagan’s team mate, Chayse Orsmond, claiming 11th and eighth. Reinhard Ferreira (Yamaha) was 10th on Day 1 (14th on Day 2).
The top six in the E2 Class championship looked the same over the two days. Wade Young ruled (he won the E1/200cc championship in 2013 and 2014), followed by team mate Scott Bouverie who made a welcome comeback from injuries sustained back in the middle of the 2014 season. Altus de Wet (Sherco) finished 20 points behind Bouverie on Day 1, 14 on Day 2.
Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) opened his 2015 season with two fourths, Husqvarna's Bronson Louw was fifth (only five points behind Gilbert on the second day) with Nicholas Pienaar (Husqvarna) back in action and bagging valuable points from sixth - twice. Also in the top 10 on each day were Nick Wade (Husqvarna) – seventh and eighth – and Dalan Hall (KTM) ninth and seventh.
Sage McGregor (KTM) was eighth on the first day, 11th on the second, and Roan Lindsay (Yamaha) bettered his 11th (Day 1) to finish ninth on Day 2. Wynand Kleynhans (Yamaha) and Tristan Robins (KTM) also claimed a 10th each and followed it up with a 13th (Kleynhans) and 11th (Robins).
Competitors in E1 and E2 had to complete three laps on each day and posted times for nine special stages. All the other classes did two loops (six specials). That meant Master Class riders (older than 46) who normally complete a shorter distance than the Seniors (riders older than 38) had to do the same distance while riders in the High School Class (14-16) and Silver Class Challenge also did two loops.
SENIOR CLASS CHAMPIONSHIP
In the Senior Class championship the same three riders finished on the podium – they swopped places after two days of close racing.
Jody Engelbrecht (Yamaha) celebrated his return to the National scene with a win on the first day and second on Sunday while Bruce May (Yamaha) followed his runner-up result up with a victory on the second day.
Defending champion William ‘Wild Will’ Gillitt, also now racing under the Yamaha banner, rounded off the podium on each day – he was only 14 points behind Engelbrecht on Day 2 and 43 behind his team mate on Day 1.
Graham Hedgcock (KTM) was fourth each day with Mark Fox (KTM), who has also taken a sabbatical from racing for a year or two, rounding off the top five (Day 1) and eighth on the next day.
There were also double top 10 results for Thomas Seather (KTM); Steven Carr (KTM) – his fifth on the second day was his best result; Steve Landman (Yamaha); Craig van Heerden (KTM) and Stuart Harvey (Yamaha).
These results – the podium finishers as well as the many ‘new’ names in the top 10 and riders making a comeback to the National series – set the scene for some exciting racing in the Senior Class championship for the rest of the 2015 season.
Master and High School classes saw double winners. Master Class newcomer Hilton Hayward ( Yamaha) won twice, as did defending High School champion Enduan Bester (KTM).
Behind Hayward his team mate Denzil Torlage and Garth Prost (Husqvarna) each claimed a second and third. Shaun Kirk was fourth on each day with Steve Botha (Yamaha) rounding off the top five after each event.
Hayward had a little breather to those behind him but only a handful of points separated Torlage and Prosteach day with the rest not too far behind.
Bester opened his title defence with two wins but will have to watch his fellow scholars as less than a minute (60 points) separated those on the podium. Daniel van Zyl (Yamaha) had second and a third and Dean Lindsay (Yamaha) was runner-up on the first day, fourth on the next.
Bryce van Heerden (KTM) also earned valuable points with third and fourth while Keegan Eich (KTM) and Erhardt Beukes (Yamaha) – he couldn't finish the first day – also scored a top five during the weekend.
The Silver Class Challenge podium looked the same each day with young Matatiele rider Lloyd Kirk (Yamaha) earning two victories, followed by Reghardt van Nieuwenhuizen (KTM) and Oliver Santoro (KTM).
HEADED FOR EAST LONDON
With two of the six rounds of the 2015 National Enduro Championship over, competitors will have to plan carefully for the next two.
The traditional KEI Enduro is back and will take place on April 18 in East London, Eastern Cape, while the La Mont National Enduro will take place two week later around Ashton in the Western Cape.
*WFO – Wide Full Open