The 2014 Liquorland National Enduro Championship started very well for the defending National Open Class Enduro Champion, ALTUS DE WET, who won his class (E2 Open Class) at the Liquorland Champagne Valley Enduro this past weekend in the Winterton area in KwaZulu- Natal. He scored another podium position by finishing second overall at this tough event.
It was however not easy and had De Wet, who competes this year under the Cargo-Tac Husqvarna Factory Racing banner, not used some innovation and his mechanical knowledge in the bush, the result might probably have looked somewhat different. Like the bikes of many riders, the fork seals on his Husqvarna also started leaking due to the type of mud they had to go through.
ALTUS DE WET looks back at an action packed event that consisted of 11 Special Stages!
“Lots of hard work and preparation went into this race from both the team and myself. We got new sponsors on board with Cargo-Tac who is now our title sponsor. It is a new year and we are ready to show that the results of the previous season were not only a once-off…
“We arrived early on Friday morning at Four Rivers Adventures in the Champagne Valley to walk the four special stages that were set out for us. For the first race of the season I was very keen to just bring the bike home safe and get a good result and good points on the board. It was also my first national enduro event on the new Huqvarna FE 350.
“Not much rain fell during the previous night, but the grass was tall and still slippery. On the first lap we started with the MX grass special. I was very comfortable on this stage and won it twice after three laps.
“On the first extreme special I unfortunately made a mistake and lost 20 seconds, but I posted a good time on the first cross test as well. The regularity stages were tough and challenging with mud holes and steep rocky up and down hills.
“On the second lap I won the MX Special Stage and posted good times in both the extreme and cross tests. But then it happened…
“Going up a climb called Bambi’s, I tried a new line to get around a slower rider and fell off a big rock damaging one of the radiator pipes badly. I lost 30 minutes fixing it in the bush and from there it was a race to the finish to give Shaun Duckham and the crew in the pits enough time to fix what needed to be fixed. That was however not my only problem as we discovered that both my forks were leaking oil onto the brakes due to the very fine mud we went through. “The team fixed everything in time and I got going for my third and final lap. It went well and I won the MX special again while I was satisfied with my times for the extreme and cross test. My last enduro test was also good as I was second fastest!
My Husqvarna FE350 ran extremely well even with the problems I was responsible for. I just have to thank my team for being so sharp all day and big THANK YOU to all the sponsors giving us the right equipment for the tasks at hand! I could not have asked for a better way to start the season.”
After this good result, ALTUS DE WET and his crew will travel to Wolmaransstad in the North-West Province for the opening round of the 2014 SA National Off-road Championship where he will compete in the OR2 (250cc) Class this year. He finished this event in 2012 in third place and will aim for a podium position again.