ANYTHING CAN STILL HAPPEN AT PENULTIMATE NATIONAL ENDURO AT ESTCOURT
Yes, anything can still happen in the 2015 Liquorland National Enduro Championship and competitors will have to do everything right at the fifth round of the season, the Liquorland WFO White Mountain National Enduro that takes place this weekend (July 4th) at Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal. Competitors only have two more chances to score points in the various championships as the season heads to a close in August.
There is just no room for error as the gaps between competitors in the five national championships are still too small. Not even the leaders are safe and if they put a wheel wrong, it can have disastrous consequences. The E2 (Open Class) leader, Wade Young (Brother Leader Tread KTM) is visiting South Africa again between competing in the gruelling Erzberg Rodeo where he was one of only five riders to made it to the finish and the upcoming Red Bull Romaniacs that will take place in Romania. He has some breathing space after four straight victories, but his team-mate, Scott Bouverie, is not too far behind after claiming four runner-up results.
Altus de Wet (Altus de Wet Racing Sherco) and Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) are sharing the third place and although they stand an outside chance of catching Young (they are 24 points behind him), they might rather aim to catch Bouverie as he is only 12 points ahead of them. Bronson Louw (ABE Midas Husqvarna Factory Racing) rounds off the top five and will aim for a good result after not being able to finish the last event at Ashton two months ago.
The nail biting battle at the front of the E1 (200cc) Championship will continue at Estcourt. Both Brett Swanepoel (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) and Travis Teasdale (Brother Leader Tread KTM) aim for their first national enduro championship title with Swanepoel, who won at East London, currently leading Teasdale (he has won three times this season) by a single point. Dwayne Kleynhans is third, 14 points behind his team-mate (Teasdale), but only four points ahead of Kyle Flanagan (Team Ihobe International KTM) while fifth-placed Brandon Warwick-Oliver (Team Liquorland Yamaha) trails Flanagan also by only four points. The battle for good positions will continue in this championship where a small mistake can mean a huge jump for another competitor.
What a battle the Senior Class Championship has delivered this year! The first four races delivered four different winners with the current leader and winner of the second round, Bruce May (Team AgriSales Peak Yamaha), leading his team-mate and defending champion, William Gillitt (he won at round three) by only two points. The winner of the season opener, Jody Engelbrecht (Yamaha) trails Gillitt again only two points while the winner of the fourth round, Graham Hedgcock (KTM Cape Town) will not only aim for another victory – like the previous three winners – but he would like to close the gap of eight points to the championship podium.
The Capetonian (Hedgcock) has a little breathing space to Steven Carr (Roost KTM / EC Security) in fifth place, but Steve Landman (Team Liquorland Yamaha) is breathing in his neck with only four points separating them. The question remains: can May, Gillitt, Engelbrecht or Hedgcock claim a second victory or will this extremely competitive championship see yet another winner after the Estcourt race?
After four straight wins, Hilton Hayward (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) leads the Master Class Championship. He is 16 points ahead of Garth Prost (ABE Midas Husqvarna Factory Racing) with Hayward’s team-mate, Denzil Torlage, a mere two points behind Prost. Shaun Kirk (Beta Liqui Moly Racing SA) is fourth with Steve Botha (Team AgriSales Peak Yamaha) three points behind him in fifth and Carl Rohrbeck (KTM) in sixth place.
But just when it looked like this championship is heading in a certain direction, a curve ball might hit it at Estcourt as the defending Master Class champion, Alfie Cox (KTM) has entered the championship for the first time this season. Cox has won all the races last year and can be a threat to the rest of the serious title contenders.
The defending High School Class Champion, Eduan Bester (KTM Centurion / Liqui Moly Racing) has won at all four races so far this season, but he is still not safe at the front. Daniel van Zyl (Yamaha) has been consistently chasing him and can still close the gap. Third-placed Keegan Eich (KTM) has worked himself into third place in his first national enduo season while Dean Lindsay (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha), who experienced mechanical problems at the Ashton race, is currently sharing the fourth place with Carl-Reinhardt Cronje (KTM).
They would like to finish on the podium, but will have to look over their shoulders for Lindsay’s team-mate, Adriano Catalano and Jeandre Radyn (KTM Cape Town) who are too close for comfort and will be chasing hard. Joshua Thorburn (KTM) could only not finish the opening round and is not too far behind.
In the Silver Class Challenge, youngster Lloyd Kirk (Pa Ma Racing Yamaha) would like to continue his clean sweep while Reghardt van Nieuwenhuizen (KTM) will again aim for a victory after finishing second at each race. Lady rider Kirsten Landman (Brother Leader Tread KTM) is currently third, but will be under pressure from experienced rider, Stuart Gregory, who trails her by six points.
The Liquorland WFO White Mountain National Enduro will consist of three Special Stages – a Flat Track Special at the pits; a 6km Enduro Special and a Technical Enduro Special of 16km with the pits at the White Mountain Lodge outside Estcourt. All the action will start at 8:00 on Saturday (July 4th).