The Liquorland WFO White Mountain National Enduro, the penultimate race in the 2015 national series that took place in the Estcourt area in KwaZulu-Natal this past weekend (July 4th) had to be ‘handled with care’ and while a few championship leaders added more victories to their challenges, the race destroyed title hopes for other.
The six-times South African National Enduro (Senior Class) Champion, William ‘Wild Will’ Gillitt (Team AgriSales Peak Yamaha) went to the race as the runner-up in the current Senior Class Championship standings, but an unfortunate incident during the first Special Stage resulted in him sustaining a serious knee injury. He could not finish the race and the chances for a seventh consecutive national title is quite slim for the defending Senior Class Championship from Howick.
After four different Senior Class winners so far this season, the winner of the opening round, Jody Engelbrecht (Yamaha) became the first rider to claim a second victory this year when he beat the current class leader, Bruce May (Gillitt’s team-mate) by 80 points (seconds). May, who admitted that he lost valuable time due to a mistake, now leads Engelbrecht by only one point before the final event. It was a close race for May as he beat Graham Hedgcock (KTM Cape Town) by a single point (second). Steven Carr (Roost KTM / EC Security) finished fourth with Wayne Everton (Brother Leader Tread KTM) rounding off the top five.
There were more victories for the four other class championship leaders – Wade Young (Brother Leader Tread KTM) claimed his fifth consecutive E2 victory while the Master Class leader, Hilton Hayward (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) as well as the High School Class leader, Eduan Bester (KTM Centurion / Liqui Moly Racing) both also continued their clean sweep this year by scoring fifth class victories. Young’s team-mate, Travis Teasdale, recovered from losing lots of valuable time due to a crash early in the race to win E1 for the fourth time this year.
Young posted the fastest time in the E2 (Open Class) Championship at each of the eight Special Stages (three stages they had to complete in total eight times) and was followed by his team-mate, Scott Bouverie, who continued his consistent performance. Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) finished third with Altus de Wet (Altus de Wet Racing Sherco) fourth and Nick Wade (Team Liquorland Husqvarna) rounding off the top five posting his best result of the season despite having just recovered from injuries sustained at the previous event.
The rest of the top ten in E2 consisted of Sage McGregor (KTM) who finished sixth; Roan Lindsay (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) who was seventh; Wynand Kleynhans (Yamaha) who finished eighth followed by Riaan van der Walt (KTM) and Bronson Louw (ABE Midas Husqvarna Factory Racing).
In E1 Brett Swanepoel (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) was leading the class at one stage, but Teasdale fought back with a vengeance and only beat him by 24 points. Teasdale has now retaken the lead in E1 and only two points separate Swanepoel and himself. Kyle Flanagan (KTM) posted his best result of the season when he claimed third place, only 32 points ahead of Teasdale’s team-mate, Dwayne Kleynhans. Dylan Barker (Team Pa Ma Racing Yamaha) was fifth.
The E1 (200cc) Class attracted the most entries for the race and the competition was tough. Brandon Warwick-Oliver (Team Liquorland Yamaha) had to settle for sixth place – he was only three points behind Barker – while Michael Pentecost (Kargo Racing Yamaha) finished seventh and former champion, Marc Torlage (Roost KTM / EC Security) making a welcome comeback to the national series by finishing eighth (he also claimed a stage victory). Henco Botha (KTM) was ninth, only nine points ahead of Jarryd Coetzee (Brother Leader Tread KTM) who is competing in his first national enduro season and also won a special stage.
In the High School Class, Bester, who is also the defending champion, might have taken his fifth victory for the year, but it was not necessarily ‘plain sailing’ He won two of the five special stages with runner-up, Daniel van Zyl, now racing for Team Pa Ma Racing (Yamaha) also claiming two stages and finishing 72 points behind Bester. Dean Lindsay (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) rounded off the podium, but it was a close battle as William Oosthuizen (KTM) was only seven points behind him in fourth place. Bryce van Heerden (KTM) was fifth.
Hayward produced another master class performance and has his eye firmly on the Master Class Championship after winning it at each event so far this season. His competition included the defending Master Class Champion and multiple former off-road and enduro champion, Alfie Cox (KTM) who competed for the first time this season. Cox settled for second place followed by another former champion and Hayward’s team-mate, Denzil Torlage, who was third. Shaun Kirk (Beta Liqui Moly Racing SA) was fourth and Steve Botha (Team AgriSales / Peak Yamaha) rounded off the top five.
It looks like Team Pa Ma Racing’s Lloyd Kirk (Yamaha) is on his way of winning the Silver Class Challenge after posting his fifth victory. The ‘prize’ for the winner of the Silver Class Challenge at the end of the year is a year’s entry fee in the following national season. Regardt van Nieuwenhuizen (KTM) has however not given up yet and the two scholars chased each other till the end with the Bloemfontein pupil finishing second behind the learner from Matatiele. Dirk Olivier (Yamaha) was third; Thabang Katees (Team Ikageng / Mens Clinics KTM) was fourth and Kirsten Landman (Brother Leader Tread KTM) fifth despite suffering from flu.
The final round of the 2015 Liquorland National Enduro Championship, the Rover Winterberg Enduro, will take place on 22 August at Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.