CHAMPIONSHIP HOTS UP AS MARC TORLAGE WINS ASTHON NATIONAL ENDURO
The 2013 Liquorland National Enduro Motorcycle Championship has produced another different race winner with Marc Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) taking his first ever overall enduro victory on national level. Torlage had to fight off tough competition to claim the victory at the Ashton National Enduro, the second round of the 2013 season that took place on Saturday (23 March) outside Ashton in the Western Cape to become the second victor this season.
It was not an easy victory as Torlage, who is the current E2 (200cc) champion, crashed hard during the first of the three 10 kilometre Special Stages and bent the handlebars on his bike. E1 (Open Class) and E2 competitors had to complete this special timed stage in the dry and dusty hills three times with Torlage posting the fastest time on all three occasions.
The competition between the front runners was extremely tough with 71 points (seconds) separating Torlage, who also won E2, from local Montagu rider, Altus de Wet (Husqvarna Racing) who claimed the E1 victory and finished second overall. De Wet could not finish the season opener and had to tackle the race way behind the front runners. This was his starting position for every Special Stage and dust from the riders ahead of him proved to be a major problem, but he persevered to give Husqvarna Racing their first class victory and podium result after their second outing.
Like Torlage, Louwrens Mahoney (Brother Broadlink KTM) also posted his first overall podium result when he finished a mere nine points (seconds) behind De Wet in third place – he was second in E1 despite a collision with a tree towards the end of the race that was characterised by early morning rain as well as wind, extreme heat and dust.
All the pressure was on the winner of the first round, Wade Young (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing) who started in pole position. He finished fourth overall (second in E2) after posting the quickest race time for the shorter Special Stage – a grassy section of about one kilometre in length they had to complete four times. He won this Special Stage three times, but crashed and damaged the clutch on his bike while pushing hard on the last long stage of the race. This cost him lost valuable time and points.
Nicholas Pienaar (C3 Roost ECS KTM Expert Sol) finished fifth (third in E1) with the Cape’s Brett Lewis (Eddy2Race Husqvarna) just off the E1 podium and in sixth place overall. With Yamaha, KTM, Husqvarna and Husaberg already in the top six, yet another manufacturer made it into the top eight – Sherco.
The Gutzeit brothers, Jade and his younger brother, Blake, both racing for Sherco Racing, finished eighth and seventh respectively with the scholar (Blake) beating the defending title holder by only one point! Yamaha rounded off the top ten with Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest) – he was only two points behind Gutzeit who has actually ‘retired’ at the end of 2012 – and Timothy Young (Kargo Racing) ninth and tenth respectively.
There was some bad luck for Scott Bouverie who had to settle for 19th place after the fuel injection plug on his Brother Broadlink KTM pulled out during a Special Stage resulting in minutes ticking by while he had to do mechanical reparations. Michael Pentecost was in the same boat and had to settle for 14th place in E2 (30th overall) after he lost time fixing the chain that came off his Kargo Racing Yamaha during his first attempt of the longer special stage.
A few youngsters worked their way into the top 20 with three of them filling the 11th to 13th place on the overall standings. Bronson Louw (Criterion Yamaha) was 11th – he finished just 27 points behind Tim Young – while Brett Swanepoel (JOAT cc Gallery KTM) finished 12th after a crash with the 2012 Junior Open Motorcycle Champion, Andrew Wren (Xtreme Yamaha) 13th after his first enduro on senior level. Wesley Redinger (Husaberg) was 17th.
Also in the top 20 was the off-road racing specialist, Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (Brother Broadlink KTM) who finished 14th; Charan Moore (Stoneridge Honda) who was 15th, just seven points ahead of Kargo Racing’s Mark Garland (Yamaha) with James Hodson (Liquorland Yamaha) and Kyle Erasmus (Enduro World Yamaha) finishing 18th and 20th respectively.
The Senior Class championship also produced a new winner after a tough three-way battle. Bruce May (Yamaha) scored his first victory when he beat defending champ, William Gillit (Liquorland Yamaha) by a mere 12 points. May won two of the five Special Stages with Gillit and third-placed Jody Engelbrecht (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing) claiming one each. Only 47 points separated the top three riders – all three finished on the podium at the season opener as well – with Engelbrecht 35 points behind Gillit.
The rest was somewhat behind with Gillit’s team-mate, Steven Landman, finishing fourth and Matthew Barker (FDBR Yamaha) rounding off the top five.
The anticipated Torlage vs. Cox Battle in the Master Class did not materialised as Alfie Cox, who won this class at the first race of the season, did not participate in the Asthon National Enduro. Defending champion, Denzil Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) put in another solid performance to take the victory beating local Cape Town rider, Tom Bogerhausen (KTM) by 123 points. The Western Cape rider did not compete in the first race and took points away from regular competitors like Graydon Ilderton (KTM) who was only eight points behind him in third place.
Carl Rohrbeck (KTM) finished fourth (20 points behind Ilderton) with Charles Martins (KTM) rounding off the top five.
Entries in the Silver Class Challenge were bolstered by Western Cape riders with one of them, Eamonn Sullivan (Yamaha) finishing on the podium and claiming second place behind Damien Scott (Criterion Yamaha Portable Shade). It was Scott’s second consecutive victory with East London rider, Sage McGregor (Peri Wildcost KTM Umso Ribco), who finished second at the previous race, rounding off the podium.
The clash between the female riders, Toni Jardine (Roost ECS KTM) and Kirsten Landman (Brother Broadlink KTM) fizzled out somewhat with Jardine finishing sixth while Landman had to settle for 11th place.
Ross Blackwell (Kargo Racing Yamaha) won the National Junior Challenge Class ahead of Dean Lindsay (Manhand Shimwells Yamaha).
The 2013 season will reach the halfway mark when the third round, the KEI National Enduro, takes place on 11 May in the East London area in the Eastern Cape. The organisers of this event, the East London Motorcycle and Car Club (ELMC & CC) has won the 2012 Best National Enduro award and vow to do so again.