ALTUS DE WET CLAIMED NATIONAL (E1) ENDURO TITLE AFTER FIRST SEASON FOR HUSQVARNA RACING
Altus de Wet, works rider for the Husqvarna Racing team, has clinched the E1 (Open Class) Championship title in the 2013 Liquorland SA National Enduro Motorcycle Championship after only his first season for this manufacturer who made an official comeback onto the South African enduro and off-road racing scene at the beginning of the season.
De Wet (28) claimed the title at the recent Liquorland Matatiele WFO National Enduro event held at Matatiele in the Eastern Cape after a nail-biting finish to the national enduro season. De Wet and Kenny Gilbert were separated by a mere two points before the Matatiele event (Gilbert was leading the class) and both riders were under immense pressure to bring the title home. They were also embroiled in a battle for the best overall podium position for the season with De Wet leading Gilbert by two points and a mishap could mean the title for one and extreme disappointment for the other.
Riders were tested over 10 special timed stages and it was the Husqvarna rider from Montagu in the Western Cape who not only claimed the E1 Championship title, but he produced his fifth consecutive E1 class victory for the season as well as winning his second national enduro race this year. De Wet has won the E1 class after each race from the second round – he has won it in Ashton in the Western Cape in front of his home crowd; at East London when he won the KEI National Enduro overall; at Pilgrims Rest in Mpumalanga as well as at the Castrol Winterberg Enduro at Patensie in the Eastern Cape – and by winning, he made up for the season opener at Bainesfield in KwaZulu-Natal where he could not finish the opening round due to a small mechanical problem.
The E1 Championship title and the second place behind Wade Young in the overall standings rounded off a successful season for Husqvarna Racing and their Number One rider who has already completed seven gruelling events in the SA National Off-road Motorcycle Championship where riders had to participate in three 180 kilometre Sprint Events; three events consisting of 360 kilometres and a two-day marathon event in Botswana where they completed about 500 kilometres each day in the desert.
After starting and finishing a total of 2 260 kilometres extremely competitive racing kilometres under harsh conditions this year – severe heat and cold, dust, wind and tough racing conditions – at Bela-Bela in the Limpopo Province; Bronkhorstspruit; Vryheid, Ventersdorp and Botswana, De Wet finished the national off-road racing season in fourth place overall after claiming two podium positions (he finished on the OR1 class podium five times during the season – yet another ‘record’ for Husqvarna SA) he finished third in the OR1 (Open Class) Championship. These results would not have been possible if the consistent De Wet did not race with caution as the tough conditions and competitiveness of the riders resulted in quite a few riders not completing the season due to injuries.
The national enduro title is De Wet’s fifth national championship title (he has won the national enduro series overall in 2008 and 2009 and claimed class championship titles in 2006, 2008 and 2009 while he clinched the OR2 / 250cc Class Championship title in the national off-road series last year) and Husqvarna Racing can look back on to a season filled with seven podium positions in each of the national enduro and off-road series’.
De Wet is finalising his preparation for the 2013 Roof of Africa that takes place over three days from 14 to 16 November in Lesotho. This will be the seventh time he competes in this gruelling extreme enduro event with his runner-up position last year his best result to date. Some of the world’s best extreme enduro riders have again entered for this event and the Extreme Enduro World Champion, Graham Jarvis, will this year be De Wet’s team-mate. They will compete on the new Husqvarna models and De Wet will tackle the 2013 Roof of Africa with the Husqvarna TE300.