2015 National Enduro Championships coming to Port Elizabeth

AUGUST 18, 2015

They say it is not over until the lady has sung and she is going to sing at the Liquorland Winterberg National Enduro, the final round of the 2015 Liquorland National Enduro Championship that takes place this weekend (22 August) from the oval track outside Port Elizabeth.

The pressure will be on the championship leaders who will not be allowed to put a foot wrong while the rest will aim for the best result to end the season on a high note.

A seventh consecutive SA National Enduro title will unfortunately not be on the cards for the defending Senior Class Champion, William ‘Wild Will’ Gillitt (Team AgriSales Peak Yamaha) who has injured his knee at the previous event. He will not be competing in Port Elizabeth and the battle will continue between his team-mate, Bruce May, who is currently leading Jody Engelbrecht (Yamaha) by a single point.

Graham Hedgcock (KTM Cape Town) is not too far behind in third place and will be able to pick up the points if the battle at the front ends up in tears.

Steven Carr (Roost KTM / EC Security) would hope to keep or better his fifth place while it will be a ‘close-to-home’ event for Steve Landman (Liquorland Yamaha Racing) who will be travelling from East London to try and work his way to a top five position.

Former Winterberg Enduro winner and defending SA National Off-road Senior Class Champion, Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (Brother Leader Tread KTM) can be a spanner in the works in this class and the PE crowd would like to see their local hero on the podium.

The current E1 champion, Wade Young (Brother Leader Tread KTM) has his aim on his first E2 (Open Class) title and he can do just that with a sixth consecutive victory. He might feel the pressure from his team-mate, Scott Bouverie, as five runner-up results for Bouverie put him within reach of the title if Young makes a mistake.

Behind them the defending E2 champion, Altus de Wet (Altus de Wet Racing Sherco) will give it his all to close the gap of two points in order to pass third-placed Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha Racing) and get onto the podium while Gilbert will aim for a fourth E2 podium result so as to stay on the podium and even better his position depending on what happens at the front.

Behind De Wet, only five points separate three riders. Bronson Louw (ABE Midas Husqvarna Factory Racing) is fifth, only two points ahead of Nick Wade (Liquorland Husqvarna Racing) with East London’s Sage McGregor (KTM) again only three points behind Wade. The standings before the ‘Winterberg’ can easily look totally different after the race.

A huge battle is raging at the front of the E1 Championship where Travis Teasdale (Brother Leader Tread KTM) has again taken the lead from Brett Swanepoel (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) and now leads him by a mere two points. Both KZN youngsters are aiming for their first national enduro championship title and the tension will be high between these two competitors.

Teasdale’s team-mate, Dwayne Kleynhans, has been consistently scoring this season and has worked himself into the third place after finishing on the podium twice. He will cling to his podium position, but will have to keep an eye on Kyle Flanagan (KTM) who is not only aiming for a fourth E1 podium finish, but also for the third step of the podium.

The gap between Flanagan and Kleynhans is only two points and their camps will be on their toes to ensure everything runs smoothly for their riders.

Behind them Brandon Warwick-Oliver (Liquorland Yamaha Racing) is fairly safe in fifth place while Henco Botha (KTM) and Dylan Barker (Pa Ma Racing Yamaha) in sixth and seventh places respectively, have also both been scoring consistently.

Port Elizabeth’s Tim Young (Kargo Racing Yamaha) is eighth in the E1 standings – he injured his wrist during a race earlier this year – and would like to finish the season with a good result on his door step. Former multiple champion, Marc Torlage (Roost KTM / EC Security) is back in action and can upset the applecart with a good result.

Hilton Hayward (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) can round his first season in the Master Class off with a title and a sixth consecutive victory, but he will be chased by two former champions: the defending champ, Alfie Cox (KTM) as well as his team-mate, Denzil Torlage.

There is an outside chance for Torlage to take the title – if he wins at Port Elizabeth and Hayward does not score any points – while Cox, who has only competed once this year and is not in the title chase, can take away points by finishing on the podium again. Shaun Kirk (Beta Liqui Moly Racing SA) can keep his third place as the name of Garth Prost, who is only two points behind him in fourth place, does not appear on the entry list.

The name of Steve Botha (Team AgriSales Peak Yamaha Racing) is on the list and he is five points behind Kirk which means that Kirk will have to make sure he finishes the race and scores enough points to end the season in third place.

The High School Class Championship has delivered some exciting racing this season. Defending champion Eduan Bester (KTM Centurion / Liqui Moly Racing) will hope for a sixth victory that will ensure him his second national enduro title. He will again be chased by runner-up Daniel van Zyl (Pa Ma Racing Yamaha) who would like to end the season with a victory.

Consistent performances have resulted in Keegan Eich (KTM) being third followed by Dean Lindsay (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha); Carl-Reinhardt Cronje (KTM) and Lindsay’s team-mate, Adriano Catalano. These riders have all completed the previous five races of the year in the High School Class.

A victory after five runner-up results for Reghardt van Nieuwenhuizen (KTM) in the Silver Class Challenge will be good, but it seems that the Matatiele scholar, Lloyd Kirk (Pa Ma Racing Yamaha) is on a mission this year. The title is within his reach, but like all the other championship battles, he is also not far enough ahead to be safe. Lady rider Kirsten Landman (Brother Leader Tread KTM) is third.

The Liquorland Winterberg National Enduro starts on Saturday (22 August) at 8:00 at the PE Oval Track. The race will include various special timed stages and spectators are invited to view the racing action from various spectator points on the route. Spectator maps and information are available on www.dirtracing.co.za and www.racecontrol.co.za

Image: Port Elizabeth's Tim Young.

Article first appeared on ZAbikers.