EXPERIENCE VS EXUBERANCE – WHICH WILL PREVAIL AT ‘KEI NATIONAL ENDURO’?
Experience versus exuberance – which will prevail at the upcoming ‘KEI National Enduro’, the third round of the 2013 Liquorland National Enduro Championship that takes place on Saturday (11 May) at Spring Valley outside East London in the Eastern Cape? Seventeen year old Wade Young (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing) and 23-year old Marc Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) have scored a victory each with Young leading the overall standings, but they better not underestimate their more experienced opposition.
The likes of Young, who has also won the last two national events in 2012 and the defending E2 champion (Torlage) who posted a maiden victory in March this year, will be chased by a gaggle of more experienced competitors who are all more than capable to win. Former champion Louwrens Mahoney (Brother Broadlink KTM) is currently fourth overall (only eight points behind Young) and second behind Nicholas Pienaar (C3 Security Roost KTM Expert Sol) in the E1 (Open Class) Championship. Torlage’s team-mate, Kenny Gilbert, is again just behind Mahoney and while Mahoney, Pienaar (he is still recovering from a thumb injury) and Gilbert will continue their own battle, they will try and topple the younger riders.
A small mechanical problem hindered Altus de Wet (Husqvarna Racing) at the season opener and he could not finish the first event, but he took revenge by winning E1 and finishing second behind Torlage on his doorstep at the Montagu race. He has now worked himself into the overall top ten and will hunt the youngsters ahead of him in the second half of the top ten. Consistent results see scholar Blake Gutzeit (Team Sherco Racing) now filling sixth place on the overall standings. He is being followed by Timmy Young (Kargo Racing Yamaha); Scott Bouverie (Brother Broadlink KTM) who finished on the podium at the first event and another scholar, Brett Swanepoel (Team JOAT ccGallery KTM) who is ninth. Only four points separate De Wet from Timmy Young.
The 2013 season is reaching the halfway mark and quite a few competitors will feel the pressure as time is running out to score points towards the various class championships. Kargo Racing Yamaha’s Michael Pentecost would like to forget the recent enduro where chain problems resulted in him scoring only a few points and dropping to eighth place in E2 while his team-mate, Mark Garland, fills the same position in E1. In E2 Pentecost will have to catch up to the consistent James Hodson (Liquorland Yamaha) and youngster Bronson Louw (Criterion Yamaha Portable Shade) who is behind Swanepoel and Bouverie with Young, Torlage and Gutzeit filling top three position in this class championship.
Riaan van Niekerk (Brother Broadlink KTM) will be competing for the first time this season and might upset the applecart. He will stand his man in E1 and while he will have to look out for his regular competition that also includes riders like Scott Scheepers (Pinetown Gas Gas) who is fifth in E1; Stuart Gregory (FDBR Husaberg) who is 11th in E1 and Liquorland Yamaha’s Nick Wade (he is ninth), the Dakar Rally hero will have to keep an eye on a few new names like Wesley Redinger (Husaberg) who is seventh in E1 (only three points behind De Wet) and Darren Gray (Husaberg) who rounds off the E1 top ten.
Some more spice will be added to the extremely competitive Senior Class Championship with local East London enduro rider, Mark Fox (Peri Wildcoast KTM UMSO) who will join the fray for the first time this season. Defending champion William Gillit (Liquorland Yamaha) and Bruce May (Yamaha) have both been victorious this season with Gillit leading May by two points. Two podium positions have put Jody Engelbrecht (Alfie Cox Husaberg) in third place with only five points separating the top three. Another local rider, Steve Landman (Liquorland Yamaha) is somewhat further behind in fourth place with Matthew Barker (FDBR Yamaha) fifth in the Senior Class championship.
The current Master Class Champion, Denzil Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) will aim for yet another victory to add to his long list of race wins. His second place at the season opener – he was beaten by veteran Alfie Cox – was the only time he has lost since February 2009. Torlage has a comfortable lead (14 points) ahead of Graydon Ilderton (Nomadik Tents KTM), but the multiple champion will be on full alert until the finish to ensure he scores points towards the championship. Ilderton leads Carl Rohrbeck (KTM) by a single point and the battle will be on between these riders all older than 46 years of age.
In the Silver Class Challenge the battle between double winner, Damien Scott (Criterion Yamaha Portable Shade) and local EL rider, Sage McGregor (Peri Wildcoast KTM UMSO) will also continue with McGregor who will hope to produce a great result in front of his home crowd. Both riders are also younger than 20 years.
This is also the class where the ladies compete and Toni Jardine is currently third and the leading female rider, but she has left for Europe where she is competing in the Woman’s World Enduro Cup. That leaves the door open for Kirsten Landman (Brother Broadlink KTM) who trails her by seven points to possibly pass her.
Local riders, who are not competing in the full series, also enter this race in the Silver Class Challenge and new winners can emerge. A prediction is risky.
The race organisers, the East London Motorcycle and Car Club (ELMC & CC) have won the 2012 Best National Enduro Award and vow to do so again. The race will take place at Spring Valley (27° 57’2.49″E 32°47’47.27″ S) and the 50 kilometre loop will include a 13 kilometre Special Stage while there will also be a 2.5km motocross type stage.
The race will start at 7:30 and spectators will be able to see all SA’s top enduro motorcycle riders in action.