Quintin van Jaarsveld
Wade Young returned with a bang when he raced his Sherco onto the podium in the Alestrem extreme enduro in France on Sunday.
South Africa’s leading rider was sidelined for weeks and missed the Roof of Africa due to injuries he sustained in a heavy crash in the Red Bull Sea to Sky in Turkey.
Clearly champing at the bit, the fit-again Paddock prodigy lined up with over 400 of the world’s best riders for the two-day extreme enduro season opener and it was evident from the get go that he was keen to make up for lost time.
After a pulsating prologue on Saturday, riders were tasked with three increasingly tough laps and had to take an evening finish into account on Sunday.
Young set himself up nicely with a third place in the prologue and pushed on the following day to hand his team a third place in their home race.
“It’s been a tough day. I’m only back from injury so this has been a hell of a tester for me,” he told Enduro21.com.
“About six of us were close all day and it was only on the final lap where things changed. I didn’t even know I was third until the end so I’m happy to be on the podium.”
His teammate Mario Roman finished second with Husqvarna ace Graham Jarvis taking the win.
Oslo Beach star Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha) was locked in a race against time as day turned to night and ultimately finished sixth.
“It was a pretty eventful day here at Alestrem. Yesterday’s prologue was fun [and I]came away with seventh. Today, I had really good speed and fitness and think I could have battled for a top five but simply ran out of daylight.
“I tried riding the last 10km to the finish through the pitch dark woods, but I simply couldn’t see. I prepared no lights for today as I thought I wouldn’t need…my Yamaha never missed a beat all weekend long,” said Gutzeit.