The strength of dirt bike riding on the South Coast was evident as locals starred in the first round of the Motorsport South Africa (MSA) Liquorland National Enduro Championship held just outside Dundee on Saturday.
Paddock superstar Wade Young (pictured) took overall honours, while Chayse Orsmond (Shelly Beach) and Blake Gutzeit (Oslo Beach) placed sixth and seventh overall. Harding’s Scott Bouverie, meanwhile, raced to a runner-up result.
Hosted by Paddevlei Enduro Club and assisted by WFO Club, the event saw over 120 national and regional riders on the start line of a track that was well-prepared and designed by Paddevlei Enduro Club.
This being the first event under the new MSA committee, the route was set according to MSA regulations for national enduros, which resulted in the event being far tougher than in previous years.
The race went off with great success with intense and close racing from beginning to end over a scintillating six-and-a-half hour period.
The route consisted of an extreme special test, an enduro special test and a cross test linked by an enduro regularity that tested riders throughout.
It was apparent after the first lap that most of the pro riders were caught out by the tight lap times put in place to ensure that riders raced at a desired pace.
A few of the top riders were caught unaware by the technicality, length of the route and the added pressure to achieve their times, which, coupled with the extreme conditions contributed to one of the toughest national enduros in recent history.
Young rode under pressure the whole day but as usual, the country’s premier rider rose to the top and produced an outstanding result.
Bouverie performed extremely well to finish second overall and clinch the E1 Class, with Travis Teasdale also having a good day and rounding off the overall podium.
Orsmond did exceptionally well for his sixth place overall (third in E2) in what was a solid showing that sent a clear message to the rest of the top riders, while Gutzeit showed plenty of guts and heart for his seventh overall (fourth in E2) after being sidelined for most of the lead-up to the race by an infection.
It was disappointing start to the national championship for Paddock’s Kyle Flanagan as he crashed out of the race and suffered three cracked ribs when he jumped into a gully in the first extreme special test.
Locals also excelled in the Senior Class – won by trials legend Brian Capper – as Ryan Pretorius from Oribi Gorge rode onto the final step of the podium with Port Edward’s Stuart Gregory right behind him in fourth place.
Meanwhile, in the High School Class – won by Matatiele’s Stefan van Deventer – there were promising performances by Kayde Mante (fifth) and Josh (sixth) and Ethan Bailey (11th).
All in all, the event received positive feedback with over 80% of the riders saying they thoroughly enjoyed it and many a rider remarking they were thrilled to have an enduro-type track back in the national championship.
The standard has now been set with Paddevlei Enduro Club producing a great day’s racing. Round Two of the MSA Liquorland National Enduro Championship will take place at Wild West in Gauteng on 25 March.