The 37th Castrol Winterberg Enduro, the fifth and penultimate round of the 2012 South African Liquorland National Enduro Championship, will again take competitors to the mountainous area around Hankey and Loerie in the Eastern Cape where they will tackle a route that will test their enduro-riding skills, their stamina and their perseverance. The area has received lots of rain and entrants might find themselves competing in a wet event this year.

Castrol Edurance Race

According to the weather service, more rain can be expected during the days preceding the race, but riders, organisers, spectators and enthusiasts might be welcomed by clear skies and no rain on race day, Saturday (18 August) when the Castrol Winterberg Enduro, sponsored for the 34th year by Castrol, kicks off at 08h00 from the Loerie Ruskamp north of Jeffrey’s Bay in the Gamtoos Valley.

The race organisers, the Rover Motorcycle Club, have been busy marking and altering the route that will consist of two loops with Loop A designed for the experts (competitors in the Liquorland National Championship) as well as entrants in the regional enduro series. This loop will be about 25 kilometres long and will include a 14km Special (timed section) that will take riders through a quarry. Although the quarry is a mass of tricky sections, it will not be ‘extreme’, but the organisers issued a little warning: “It will be in your face and there will be no time to relax.”

The name Miss Piggy will bring back memories to riders who have competed in a few Castrol Winterberg Enduro events and love it or hate it – this ‘tricky’ racing section is back and will be done going down year. This year Miss Piggy’s Sister will also be introduced and riders can just imagine what that section might be like!

While on the route, competitors can watch out for sections with names like Blood Alley; Iron Bridge Valley and Mine Shaft (high quality lime-stone was mined in this area until 1990, but there are no mining activity anymore); The Saddle; Bamboo Forest; George’s Klap; Horse’s Trail and Fire Break while they will probably post extremely fast times if they spot the leopard at Leopard Creek. D Dump is an off-camber section of note with a huge step-up ledge to exit the section while the quarry terraces aptly named Mini Erzberg will remind enduro riders of the race in Austria with the same name. Last but not least – MTB Downhill will be an uphill.

The total race distance for national competitors doing the full race distance is about 185km.

Novice riders as well as ‘Clubbies’ and the ladies will tackle Loop B that will be doable for everyone – no matter how inexperienced. This loop will be approximately 30km long and competitors will have to complete it twice. The loop will start with a motocross section from where riders will tackle a river section and some open tracks and rocky downhills, but be warned: there is a Sting in the Tail section about 100 metres before the main control.

There will be lots of view points for spectators and spectator maps will be available at the race headquarters at the Loerie Ruskamp/PPC. Other action will include the handover of a school bus by the Rover Motorcycle Club together with the charity organisation, Touch Africa, while Algoa FM will be transmitting from the race.