Team Proudly Bidvest Yamaha Racing rounded the 2014 SA Liquorland National Enduro season off claiming three more podium results at the Liquorland Matatiele WFO National Enduro that took place at Matatiele in the Eastern Cape and formed the sixth and final round of the season.
The Matatiele event was tough as it consisted of four special stages with a total of 15 stages counting towards the points. The event was, however, described by Team Proudly Bidvest Yamaha as ‘enjoyable’ and well marked and organised – the perfect way to end the season.
With the Number One plate of the 2014 National Off-road series already safely secured, Kenny Gilbert tackled the final national enduro with caution as the Roof of Africa is also only just over a month away. After a fairly trouble-free event, Gilbert claimed the second place in E2 (Open Class) and finished fifth overall. This result ensured him the third place in the E2 Class Championship for the season while he finished sixth on the overall standings. He would however rather forget the Lydenburg event where he lost lots of time in a special stage when the chain of his Yamaha YZ290 was knocked off and he had to repair it in an extremely rocky section.
There was quite a battle between Gilbert (28), father of two who now lives in Pietermaritzburg and was therefore seen as a ‘local’ rider at this event, and his new team-mate, Brett Swanepoel (19) from Ballito. It was Swanepoel’s third national enduro in the Proudly Bidvest Yamaha colours. He not only aimed for the best results, but raced with the knowledge that two important international events await him – the International Six Day Enduro in Argentina (he left immediately after the race to fly to this event with the rest of the South African team) as well as the Roof of Africa.
While Gilbert had a ‘moment’ in the Motocross Special – he saved it though – Swanepoel survived a tumble over the handlebars in another special stage, but escaped without injuries or damages to his YZ250F. He finished 29 points (seconds) ahead of Gilbert to claim the third place in E1 (200cc) Class and the fourth place overall. Swanepoel finished in the top five after 14 of the 15 timed stages. His result ensured him the third place in the E1 Class Championship while he finished fifth on the overall standings for the season.
A sixth consecutive runner-up result for Denzil Torlage in the Master Class Championship secured him the second place in this championship behind his arch rival and veteran, Alfie Cox. Torlage has won the Master Class Championship each year since 2010 (he has won the Master Class on various occasions before 2010, but the class did not have championship status) and after a friendly rivalry between these two respected competitors, he has finished the season off in the second place in the championship.
There were also good results for Team Liquorland Yamaha Racing’s William Gillitt who not only claimed his fourth Senior Class victory of the season, but also his sixth consecutive Senior Class Championship title. The top four finishers in the 2014 Senior Class Championship did so on Yamahas with Gillitt being followed by Hilton Hayward; Bruce May and his team-mate, Steven Landman.
Two more Liquorland Yamaha Racing team-mates, James Hodson (E1) and Nick Wade, also walked away with good results at Matatiele and both finished fifth in their respective classes (they were eighth and 12th overall respectively). Yamaha has also clinched the Silver Class Challenge title for 2014 with Kokstad scholar, Dylan Barker, making it six out of six victories for 2014.
Both the Liquorland National Enduro and National Off-road series have now come to an end and will resume early in 2015.