NATIONAL WINTERBERG ENDURO: Will E1 champion Wade Young add a fourth victory to achievements or will a new winner be crowned at the National Winterberg Enduro in September? Image: Quickpic
SA’s off-road riders will return to Patensie in the Eastern Cape's Gamtoos Valley to tackle the Liquorland National Winterberg Enduro, the fifth and penultimate round of the 2014 series.
The event will take place on Saturday (September 6 2014) as riders aim to bag maximum points in various class championships.
It will also be interesting to see if the defending title holder and E1 (200cc) champion Wade Young (KTM) will add a fourth victory to his list or if ‘The Winterberg’ will crown a new race winner.
E1 – E2 CLASS
Young leads Altus de Wet (Husqvarna) in the overall standings by 11 points (De Wet claimed three consecutive E2 Open Class victories and overall runner-up positions).
The only other race winner so far in 2014, Louwrens Mahoney (KTM), is 13 points behind De Wet. All three riders have won ‘The Winterberg’ before.
KTM team mates, Scott Bouverie and Travis Teasdale, are five points behind Mahoney.
Bouverie has moved to the E2 class in 2014 and despite an injury, he trails Mahoney by only one point in the E2 Championship while Teasdale is further behind (14 points) Young in the E1 Championship.
Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) has fallen behind in points after experiencing mechanical issues at the previous event. He is now sixth overall (six points behind the two KTM team mates) and only three points ahead of this own team mate, Brett Swanepoel.
Swanepoel is third in E1 and trails Teasdale by four points.
E2 BATTLE HEATS UP
Blake Gutzeit (Husqvarna) might not be able to beat his team mate (De Wet) at the top of the E2 Championship, he is aiming to better his eighth place overall and can pick up a place or two in E2 (he is fifth in the class).
Yamaha team mates, Charan Moore and Tim Young currently fill sixth and ninth respectively in E2 while Nick Wade (Yamaha) is seventh followed by Roan Lindsay (Yamaha) and Dwayne Kleynhans (KTM) rounding off the top 10 in E2.
Wade’s team mate, James Hodson, is fifth in E1, a single point behind Brett Lewis (Husqvarna). Lewis, Hodson and Brandon Warwick-Oliver (Honda) are separated by only two points and there will be no room for error if they would like to keep the current status quo.
Louw Schmidt (KTM) is seventh in E1 (five points behind the Honda rider) with Henco Botha (KTM) on a high after a great result at the Lydenburg event and is two points behind Schmidt. Kyle Flanagan (KTM) is currently ninth in E1 but will not be in action due to a broken collar bone.
Kyle Erasmus (Yamaha) can move past him – and so can former champion, Marc Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who is back in action after injuries and currently three points behind Erasmus in 11th place.
Although the overall positions are only used to determine the race numbers for 2014, it will be interesting to see how the current standings will shape-up following the National Winterberg Enduro.
Lewis has dropped from 10th to 11th after the Lydenburg race and is five points behind Hodson in 10th while Warwick-Oliver trails Lewis by a mere point.
Kleynhans is 13th (he did not score points at the Ashton National Enduro) – four points behind Warwick-Oliver and four points ahead of Botha who share the same points with Torlage and Schmidt.
It looks like defending Senior Class Champion, William ‘Wild Will’ Gillitt (Yamaha Racing) is in control after claiming three victories so far this season and leading the standings. He isn’t safe yet as four runner-up results for Hilton Hayward (Yamaha) puts him only seven points behind the multiple champion.
Bruce May (Yamaha) – the only other winner in 2014 – is again only seven points behind Hayward and a spell of poor luck for any of the top three, can result in a major shake-up.
May has a comfortable breathing space to Gillitt’s team mate, Stephen Landman, in fourth while it seems that Jody Engelbrecht might keep his fifth place even though he has not entered the Winterberg event.
The off-road competitor and former winner of the Castrol Winterberg Enduro, Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (KTM) has also entered. It will be his first national enduro in 2014. Van Rooyen leads the Senior Class in the national off-road championship after four victories.
In the Master Class Championship, multiple Castrol Winterberg Enduro winner (he has won it ten times) and former champion, Alfie Cox (KTM) will again tackle this event after many years.
He might not be able to win it again as competitors in the Senior and Master Classes do not complete the full race distance but Cox will aim for his fifth consecutive victory in 2014. He is on his way to topple multiple Master Class Champion, Denzil Torlage (Yamaha) from a throne he has occupied since the inception of the Master Class Championship in 2010.
Shaun Kirk (Beta Liqui Moly) is currently third after four consistent fourth places but he will have to keep an eye on Garth Prost (Husqvarna) who is only one point behind him in fourth place.
Richard Cunniffe (Yamaha) is not safe in fifth place either as he is only two points ahead of Gary Franks (Husqvarna) who is only two points ahead of Carl Rohrbeck (KTM) with Eric Alcaraz a mere four points further behind.
HIGH SCHOOL CLASS
The High School Class Championship has received a healthy amount of entries, but the battle to watch will be class leader, Chayse Orsmond (KTM) and Eduan Bester (KTM). Both youngsters have claimed two victories each and only two points separate them.
Dean Lindsay’s (Yamaha) season did not start well, but two runner-up results put him in third place with Carl-Reinhardt Cronje fourth and Orsmond’s team mate, Daniel van Zyl, rounding off the top five.
SILVER CLASS CHALLENGE
Dylan Barker (Yamaha) has continued his clean sweep in the Silver Class Challenge with a fourth consecutive victory at Lydenburg while second-placed Sage McGregor (KTM) has had some trouble and could not finish on the podium for the first time in 2014.
He has however kept his second place in the standings but he is only three points ahead of the Bloemfontein scholars, Behan Boshoff (KTM) and Christiaan Greeff (KTM) in third and fourth respectively.
The National Winterberg Enduro consists of two loops covering a total of 91km. There will be three Special Stages – 2.5km; 3km and a third 6km stage.
E1 and E2 competitors will post their fastest race times during nine Special Stages. All the action will happen from the Patensie Citrusfees Stoor (33’45.329 S, 24’48.626 E) in Patensie.
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