May 2nd, 2015 – The Ashton National Enduro, the fourth round of the Liquorland National Enduro Motorcycle Championship that took place in the scenic Ashton / Bonnievale area in the Western Cape, was described as ‘one of the toughest events on the calendar’ and riders had to be physically and mentally prepared for the challenge that took place on a perfect autumn day. In the end the fittest riders with the most determination and willpower received the chequered flag and added more points to their championship onslaught.
Only one new class winner emerged with local Capetonian rider, Graham Hedgcock (KTM Cape Town) claiming the Senior Class victory in front of his home crowd. It is his first victory of the season, but it was almost too close for comfort as he beat the defending champion, William Gillitt (Agrisales Peak Yamaha Racing) by a mere seven points (seconds) after eight special stages. Hedgcock posted the fastest times after two stages with Gillitt claiming three stages and fourth-placed Jody Engelbrecth (Yamaha) also winning three stages.
Engelbrecht shared a stage victory with Gillitt’s team-mate, Bruce May, who rounded off the podium. May, who won the class at the second round, is still leading the Senior Class Championship, but Gillitt is now only two points behind him in second place while Engelbrecht trails the winner of round three (Gillitt) also by only two points. Hedgcock is still fourth. This championship will go down to the wire.
Thomas Eich (KTM) finished fifth with Steven Carr (Roost KTM / EC Security) sixth; Jason Krause (Eddy2Race Husqvarna) was seventh; Steve Landman (Liquorland Yamaha Racing) finished eighth with Andrew Bowen (KTM Cape Town) the last finisher in the class.
There was a fourth consecutive victory for E2 (Open) Class leader, Wade Young (Brother Leader Tread KTM) who won all 11 stages in E2. This was his last race before he heads back to Germany to continue his international season. Young’s team-mate, Scott Bouverie, continued his consistent running so far with a fourth runner-up result with Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha), who was suffering from bronchitis, rounding off the podium. The Montagu rider, Altus de Wet (Altus de Wet Racing Sherco) finished 56 points behind Gilbert after crashing hard during the first Enduro Special and injuring his leg and back.
Sage McGregor (KTM) posted his best result this season by finishing fifth with Riaan van der Walt (KTM) sixth – both McGregor and Van der Walt could not finish the previous round at East London – while David Ellis (Eddy2Race Husqvarna) seventh; Mike Wilkinson (KTM) eighth and Stefan Kleyn ninth.
Getting stuck in mud and finishing sixth in E1 two weeks ago at East London was far from Travis Teasdale’s mind as this Brother Leader Tread KTM factory rider steamed ahead to claim his third E1 (200cc) victory of the season. Like Young, Teasdale, also won all 11 stages in E1 – the Cross Special, a grass track where spectators was entertained by lots of action, suited the multiple motocross champion, Richie van der Westhuizen (Yamaha) and he posted some competitive times. He finished ninth in E1.
The battle between Teasdale and the E1 winner at East London, Brett Swanepoel (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) continued at Ashton with Swanepoel finishing second and keeping his lead in the E1 Championship albeit only by a single point. Teasdale’s team-mate, Dwayne Kleynhans, claimed his second podium result for the season by finishing third with Chayse Orsmond (Team Ihobe International KTM) fourth – his team-mate, Kyle Flanagan, did not have his best day out and had to settle for seventh place – with Henco Botha (Xtreme Projects / Alfie Cox Racing KTM) fifth.
Also in the top ten were Brandon Warwick-Oliver (Team Liquorland Racing Yamaha) who was sixth and Dylan Barker (Pa Ma Racing Yamaha) eighth with Botha, Warwick-Oliver, Flanagan and Barker close together on points during the race. Ross Blackwell (Kargo Racing KTM) rounded off the top ten.
Competitors in the Master Class had to work hard to earn their points. In the end it was a fourth victory for the newcomer, Hilton Hayward (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who moved from the Senior Class to the ‘Masters’ at the beginning of the season. Garth Prost (Husqvarna Factory Racing) posted his second runner-up results and fourth podium finish this year to be second in the Master Class Championship standings with only two races to go. Local rider, Gideon Malherbe (Eddy2Race KTM) competed on national level for the first time and finished third.
Multiple Master Class champion, Denzil Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) and Shaun Kirk (Beta Liqui Moly Racing SA) had to settle for fourth and fifth places respectively – Kirk finished a mere eight points behind Torlage – after getting stuck behind a stricken rider in the Extreme Special. Steve Botha (Agrisales Peak Yamaha Racing) was sixth and Carl Rohrbeck (KTM) seventh.
Only one rider in the High School Class championship did not finish the race – Dean Lindsay (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) experienced mechanical problems and had to call it a day on the very last of the eight special stages these youngsters between the ages of 14 and 16 had to complete. Eduan Bester (NUTS Racing / KTM Centurion continued his winning streak and claimed his fourth victory with ‘local’ Mossel Bay rider, William Oosthuizen (KTM) claiming his best result by finishing second. Daniel van Zyl (Yamaha) was only 37 points behind Oosthuizen with Keegan Eich (KTM) fourth and Carl-Reinhardt Cronje (KTM) rounding off the top five.
Cape Town’s Calvin Wiltshire (Yamaha) showed that he can race with the best after not finishing the East London event. He was sixth with Grahamstown youngster, Joshua Thorburn (KTM) seventh and Adriano Catalano (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) eighth. Cape Town’s regular national competitor, Jeandre Radyn (KTM Cape Town), added points to his national tally by finishing ninth.
The Matatiele scholar, Lloyd Kirk (Pa Ma Racing Yamaha) is unbeaten in the Silver Class Challenge (riders had to complete eight stages)after clinching yet another victory – his fourth this season. The Bloemfontein youngster, Regardt van Nieuwenhuizen (Husqvarna) is also having a consistent season and posted his fourth runner-up result while Matthew van Niekerk (KTM) finished third; Kirsten Landman (Brother Leader Tread KTM) was fourth and Thabang Katees (Team Ikageng Men’s Clinic KTM) finished fifth.
After a hectic schedule this past three months, competitors can enjoy a two-month break before the penultimate round of the Liquorland National Enduro Championship will take place in the Estcourt are on July 4th.