REVIEW : LIQUORLAND MATATIELE WFO NATIONAL ENDURO
(Final round of the 2013 Liquorland SA National Enduro Motorcycle Championship) - 19 October – Matatiele (Eastern Cape)
YOUNGSTERS RULE AND CHAMPIONS CROWNED AT MATATIELE NATIONAL ENDURO
The youth ruled at the Liquorland Matatiele WFO National Enduro and showed that they are a force to be reckoned with when two scholars, Blake Gutzeit (Sherco Racing) and Travis Teasdale (Brother Broadlink KTM) finished on the overall podium of this tough, but enjoyable final round of the Liquorland SA National Enduro Championship held on Saturday, 19 October at Matatiele in the Eastern Cape. Rocky hills, dry riverbeds and grasslands also served as the last battlefield where the championships and titles for the 2013 season were decided.
The 17-year old Wade Young (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing) is probably the first scholar to win a national enduro title when he clinched the overall title for 2013 as well as the E2 (200cc) Championship title. He had to settle for the 10th place overall and third in E2 at Matatiele after he crashed during the fifth of 10 Special Stages injuring himself and damaging his bike. It was the new E1 (Open Class) champion, Altus de Wet (Husqvarna Racing) who claimed his second race victory of the season and fifth successive E1 victory to secure his second place on the overall standings after a tough 2013 season where he had to fight from the back due to a small mechanical issue preventing him from finishing the season opener.
De Wet posted the fastest times at three of the special timed stages while his time for Special Stage 9 was identical to that of Gutzeit who made a little history by finishing second overall with the Sherco while he was also second in E1. There were 70 points (seconds) between De Wet and the 18-year old Gutzeit. The young Sherco rider, who is a former Junior National Champion and the younger brother of former multiple champion, Jade, had a trouble free race and won two more stages to finish on the podium for the first time since competing from last year in the Liquorland National Enduro Championship.
Teasdale (16), who has just won his second Junior National Championship title, competed in his second national enduro and won three stages to win E2 and round off the podium. He was only 10 points (seconds) behind Gutzeit at Matatiele.
Going into the race, the battle for the E1 championship title was between De Wet and the newly-crowned national off-road champion, Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha). A fourth place overall and third place in E1 after winning Stage Eight was enough for Gilbert to finish the season in the third place overall and second behind De Wet in the E1 Championship. Timmy Young (Kargo Racing Yamaha) finished fifth at Matatiele (fourth in E1) – only 11 points / seconds behind Gilbert – to secure the final podium position in the E1 Championship for 2013.
Dwayne Kleynhans (Leadertread KTM) posted his best result this season by finishing sixth overall (fifth in E1) and was followed by Charan Moore (Yamaha) who was sixth in E1; Kyle Erasmus (Enduroworld Yamaha) who was only seven points (seconds) behind Moore in eighth place – his second place in E2 was his personal best this season; Ruan Roberts (Yamaha) was ninth overall (seventh in E1) and Wade Young in tenth place after his crew had to replace his bike’s sub-frame and shock absorber. Young also won two special stages.
Brett Swanepoel (Team Joat ccGallery KTM) survived a huge crash to finish 11th overall (fourth in E2 and second behind Young in the E2 championship for the year) with James Hodson (Team Liquorland Yamaha) only six points behind him in 12th (fifth in E2 at Matatiele). Michael Pentecost (Kargo Racing Yamaha) finished 13th overall (sixth in E2); Wesley Redinger (Husaberg) was 14th with Louw Schmidt the second Brother Broadlink KTM rider and rounding off the top 15 (seventh in E2) after also surviving a crash.
Scott Scheepers (Pinetown Gas Gas) finished a mere three points behind Schmidt even though the footpeg on his bike broke off; Hodson’s team-mate, Nick Wade, was 17th; Barend Erasmus (Urban Steel & Pongola Tyres KTM) finished 18th with Darren Gray (Husaberg) 19th and Roan Lindsay (NUTS Racing Century Civils Yamaha) 20th.
The title for the Senior Class Championship was also decided at Matatiele where the defending champion, William ‘Wild Will’ Gillitt (Team Liquorland Yamaha) claimed this title for the fifth consecutive season. The season’s runner-up, Bruce May (Yamaha) lost time in the special stages when he stalled his bike, but he managed another second place (his fourth of the season) to secure the number two place for the year ahead of Jody Engelbrecht (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing) who finished third.
Ryan Pretorius (KTM) finished fourth with Albert Pos (KTM) fifth.
Denzil Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) is the 2013 Master Class Champion – he has claimed this title for the sixth consecutive year – after winning for the fourth time this season. He beat Dino Santoro (Beta) and won all four of the Special Stages. Darryl Melrose (KTM) rounded off the podium. A fourth place was enough for Carl Rohrbeck (Husaberg) to finish second behind Torlage for the 2013 season while Neil van der Ross (Nomadik Tents / MCI Honda) finished fifth at Matatiele.
Kokstad scholar Damien Scott (Criterion Yamaha Portable Shade) had to just finish the race in the Silver Class Challenge to secure this class title and that is exactly what he did despite crashing a few times. He had to settle for second place for the day behind his team-mate, Kyle Flannagan, who won this class for the second time this year. Paul Simon (Rocket Racing KTM) rounded off the podium. Local youngsters who also compete in the Junior National Off-road Championship, Dylan Barker (Criterion Yamaha Portable Shade) from Kokstad and Henco Botha (Pa Ma Racing Kawasaki) from ‘Matat’ finished respectively fourth and fifth in front of their home crowd.
The Junior Class Challenge was won by Roan Lindsay’s younger brother, Dean, who has recently also won the Senior 85cc Class title of the Junior National Championship. His victory at Matatiele resulted in him winning the junior enduro class for the season. Reinhardt Ferreira (KTM) finished second; Lloyd Kirk (Yamaha) was third with Bradley Cox (Red Bull Safika Oosthuizens Alfie Cox Husaberg) fourth even though he has won all three the stages, but received penalties for the first regularity section.
The calendar for the 2014 national championship will be announced soon and an interesting season can be expected going by the exciting racing produced this year.