The battle between the Paddock teenager, Wade Young (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing) and the defending E2 champion, Marc Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) continued this weekend at the Pilgrims Rest National Enduro, the fourth round of the Liquorland National Enduro Motorcycle Championship that took place this weekend in Mpumalanga with Young claiming his second victory of the season by winning this brand new national event.
It was quite close though as only 22 points (seconds) eventually separated Young (who also won the E2/200cc Class) from a sick Torlage (second in E2) with Young winning the short 3km stages on all three occasions (he crashed during this stage on the final lap) while they posted the same time after their first attempt of the longer 9km stage. Torlage won the long stage on the last lap. Young has strengthened his lead in the overall standings as well as his lead in the E2 Class Championship – Torlage is still second overall and in E2.
Competitors would have had to race the longer stage three times, but they could only race it twice after a fire broke out on the route forcing the organisers (Rudamans Racing) to reroute it and riders were afforded another sighting lap.
Behind them a few more nail biting battles took place with Altus de Wet (Husqvarna Racing) claiming his third consecutive E1 (Open Class) victory and rounding off the overall top three. He was only 40 points (seconds) behind Torlage and only 40 points ahead of Scott Bouverie (Brother Broadlink KTM) who lost time and was drenched early in the race when he fell in the river during one of the various crossings. Torlage’s team-mate, Kenny Gilbert, walked away with the second place in E1 (his third E1 second place of the season) – only eight points separate him from Bouverie – while he finished fifth overall after a race that was characterised by some long and steep descents as well as a few testing climbs in the mountains around the historical town of Pilgrim’s Rest.
KZN youngster Bronson Louw (Criterion Yamaha Portable Shade) posted his best result this season when he finished sixth overall (fourth in E2), a mere six points behind Gilbert. Nicholas Pienaar (C3 Roost KTM) kept his lead in the E1 Class Championship with a third place in this class while he finished seventh overall. A mere eight points separated Pienaar from Timmy Young (Kargo Racing Yamaha) who eyed the E1 podium and had to settle for eighth place overall. The competition was tough and only seconds separated the competitors – there were only 44 points / seconds between Louw and the three riders behind him with Brett Swanepoel (Team JOAT / cc Gallery KTM) finishing ninth overall (five points behind Timmy Young).
At 16, Travis Teasdale (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing PS TLB Plant Hire) was the youngest rider in the top 10. He competed in E2 for the first time (he gained experience in the Silver Class Challenge until he reached the required age) and completed his first event in 10th place overall (sixth in E2). Brandon Warwick-Oliver (Yamaha) was 11th (seventh in E2); Dwayne Kleynhans (KTM) finished 12th (fifth in E1) with Wesley Redinger (Husaberg) just behind him on the overall standings and in the class and Team Liquorland Racing Yamaha’s James Hodson (E2) and Nick Wade (E1) rounding off the top 15.
There was some bad luck for riders like Blake Gutzeit (Sherco Racing) who could not finish the race while Michael Pentecost (Kargo Racing Yamaha) had to call it a day after he fell on the last lap. Thirty-one E1 and E2 riders, including motocross ace, Darrel Fitz-Gerald (KTM) who competed in his very first national enduro race, completed the full race distance (his brother, Kerim, could unfortunately not finish on his KTM). The event also attracted many newcomers who competed for the first time in an enduro race.
The defending Senior Class champion, William Gillit (Team Liquorland Yamaha) had a clean run and earned a comfortable victory (117 points) ahead of Bruce May (Yamaha) who lost time when he drowned his bike early in the race. Matthew Barker (FDBR Racing Yamaha) claimed his first podium position for the season and was third. Competitors in this class had to complete the shorter special stage twice and the longer 9km stage once. Jody Engelbrecht (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing) settled for fourth place – it was the first time this season he finished off the podium – but kept his third place behind Gillit and May in the championship. Stevan Prost (Pirelli KTM) rounded off the top five.
The outbreak of the fire resulted in Master Class competitors only scoring points after one short stage and missing out on posting times on the longer stage. Stevan’s brother, Garth Prost (Pirelli KTM), who competed for the first time this season in the Master Class, made a little history as he became only the second rider since 2010 to beat the current champion, Denzil Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who looked forward to the longer timed stage. Barries Barnard (KTM) made a welcome come back after an injury to finish third while a fourth place for regular competitor, Carl Rohrbeck (KTM), lifts him to second place behind Torlage in the Master Class Championship. Richard Cunniffe (Yamaha) was fifth and Marc Rugani (FDBR Racing KTM) the last finisher in this class for riders older than 46 years.
The Junior National Championship competitor, Kyle Flanagan (Criterion Yamaha Portable Shade) competed for the first time this season in the Silver Class Challenge and won it amidst some tough competition. Another enduro newcomer, the off-road rider Jaycee Nienaber (Manhand Shimwells Yamaha) was second ahead of Vincent Labuschagne (Enduro Tech KTM). Toni Jardine (Roost KTM) was the only female competitor and finished fifth in this class, just behind Terence Shacklady (Yamaha). Flanagan’s team-mate, Damien Scott, still has the most points in this class even though he could not compete due to an injury while second-placed Sage McGregor (Peri Wildcoast KTM Ribco UMSO) also had to withdraw at the last minute due to an injury.
Seven young scholar between the ages of 14 and 16 competed in the National Junior Challenge Class. They could unfortunately only complete one short special stage due to the fire. Chayse Orsmond (Husaberg Alfie Cox Racing) won this stage ahead of Dean Lindsay (Yamaha) and Lydenburg’s Brendan Swanevelder (Team Brother SA KTM). Only 33 points separated the winner from fourth-placed Reinhardt Ferreira (KTM).
The fifth and penultimate round of the Liquorland National Enduro Championship, the traditional Castrol Winterberg Enduro, will take place on 14 September in the Port Elizabeth / Hankey area in the Eastern Cape. The final round will take place on 19 October at Matatiele. This will also be a new race that will take competitors to the foothills of the western Drakensberg on the border on the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
By: ET dot Komm
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