THE ASHTON NATIONAL ENDURO IS HERE – A BRAND NEW EVENT ON THE CALENDAR!
A brand new event will test enduro motorcycle competitors on Saturday (23 March) in the Western Cape when the Ashton National Enduro takes place in the Ashton / Montagu area in the Langeberg. This event will form the second round of the 2013 Liquorland National Enduro Motorcycle Championship and after the gauntlet has been thrown down by a few riders, spectacular racing can be expected by those who would like to prove a point.
One of the riders who will be on a mission to bag maximum points, is local Montagu rider, Altus de Wet (Husqvarna Racing) who would like to prove to his home crowd that he can deliver the goods. The former enduro champ could not finish the first event due to a small technical glitch, but he is fit and ready for the action that will take place only a few kilometres from his hometown.
The 2012 runner-up, Marc Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) will be on the same mission. He had to settle for fifth place at the season opener due to time lost repairing damages to his bike while his team-mate, Kenny Gilbert had a clean run, but does not like finishing off the podium (he was fourth) and will again aim for the winning laurels.
Former enduro champion, Louwrens Mahoney (Brother Broadlink KTM) also experienced a technical issue that cost him valuable time (he is currently sixth), but he will be well aware that his race times are on par with the leaders and he will no doubt fight back with a vengeance. His new team-mate, Scott Bouverie, started the season off with a third place on the overall standings and second in E2 (200cc), but he will have to work hard to keep the rest of the chasing pack at bay.
The pressure will be on the overall and E2 leader, 16-year old Wade Young (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing) who continued with his winning spree after winning the final two rounds of the 2012 season as well as the first round of the 2013 season with the 2012 Roof of Africa victory to round his current success off. All eyes will also be on a new name currently at the top of E1 (Open Class) – Nicholas Pienaar (C3 Roost KTM Expert Sol). Pienaar finished second behind Young while he also finished second at the opening round of the national off-road championship and after getting so close to winning, he might fancy his chances of yet another podium result – or even a victory.
There are some talented youngsters in the overall top ten – Blake Gutzeit (Sherco Racing) made a welcome comeback after breaking his leg last year and is seventh; the runner-up of the 2012 Junior 125cc Championship, Brett Swanepoel (JOAT ccGallery KTM) showed his steel from the start with an eighth place after the first event and Kargo Racing Yamaha’s team-mates, Tim Young and Michael Pentecost round off the top ten 10.
Nobody in the top 10 can feel too secure as only single amounts of points separate them from each other – AND from those just outside the top 10 who will be knocking on the door.
While the E1 and E2 competitors are fighting for the overall laurels and the top spots in these two extremely competitive championships (E1 has received 30 entries which is more than double the amount of entrants in E2), the competition in both the Senior and Master Class Championships has been taken to another level.
Defending Senior Class Champion, William Gillit (Liquorland Yamaha) bagged the first victory of the season, but was chased all the way by Jody Engelbrecht (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing). Like last year, this will be a battle to watch, but one can not leave the rest of the challengers out of the picture. Bruce May (Yamaha) is third (he had a troublesome first race); Justin Broughton (KTM) is currently fourth and Gillit’s team-mate, Stephen Landman rounds off the top five.
There are quite a few ‘new’ names on the Senior Class entry list and riders from the Cape, who have not competed in first event of the season, can upset the applecart. This makes for an even more exciting battle in the Senior Class Championship.
The same scenario can be expected in the Master Class Championship where the ‘Cox vs. Torlage Battle’ will continue – Alfie Cox (Alfie Cox Racing KTM) competed for the first time in the Master Class Championship and beat multiple champion, Denzil Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) at the opening race – while quite a few experienced ‘local’ Western Cape riders can cause an upset. Torlage will no doubt try to make amends by scoring maximum points with a victory while Cox will have to show that his victory was no luck shot.
Anything can happen in the Silver Class Challenge and to predict a winner from the long list of entrants, will be risky. Junior National Championship competitor, Damien Scott (Criterion Yamaha Portable Shade) will travel from Kokstad to Ashton to defend his lead while Sage McGregor (Peri Wildcoast KTM Ribco Umso), who is currently second, will make the trip from East London to try and topple him. The two girls, Toni Jardine (Roost ECS KTM) and Kirsten Landman (Brother Broadlink KTM) are currently third and fourth in this class and will continue their ding-dong battle. They are competing in most of the various enduro and off-road series and one never knows who will emerge as the winner.
All the action will take place from the La Montagne Deli (montagnedeli.co.za) situated about 9 kilometres from Ashton on the R60 towards Swellendam. Organised by the CSMX Club, the route will take competitors through valleys and over hills from the Deli to the town of Bonnievale and back with plenty spectator points close to the Deli. There will be two special timed stages of which the CMH Nissan Cape Town X Special will be walking distance from the Deli while the Monster Energy Enduro Special will be the last 10 kilometres of the loop. The race will start at 08h00 on Saturday (23 March).