Young, Fever Criterion Yamaha, who is the 2011 Junior National Champion, competed for the first time in the Castrol Winterberg Enduro and also won E2 (200cc Class). He beat the 2011 race winner and title holder, Chris Birch (Comsol BELL ACR KTM) by 14 points (seconds). Birch lost time when he fell in the first motocross-type section when he made a mistake at a corner and ended up underneath his bike. Birch won E1 (Open Class) and was only six points ahead of the three-times winner of this event and the current leader of the overall standings, Jade Gutzeit (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who finished third overall.
Young said afterwards that he had a trouble-free race that he enjoyed. He reckoned that the level of difficulty of the special timed sections was perfect. Gutzeit, who has won this event in 2003, 2005 and 2010, commented that “this is how an enduro should be” while Birch admitted that the 2012 Castrol Winterberg Enduro was more difficult that the previous year and quite enjoyable.
Competitors had to complete the 34km loop, that included the short motocross-type section, three times and then finished the race off with one last stint on the spectator-friendly mx-type track. They also had to complete the 27km loop, that included a longer 14km special timed stage, twice. The route had to be changed during their first attempt of the 14km stage due to a bottleneck situation that was created by struggling riders on a tricky uphill section resulting in the times posted in this section to be scrapped. Therefore only their racing times posted after the second 14km stage counted towards the final results.
The 2009 winner of this event, Altus de Wet (Brother Broadlink KTM), finished second in E2 and was fourth overall after a trouble free race. He was followed by his team-mate, Louwrens Mahoney (who won in 2004) who rounded off the E1 podium. Marc Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) lost time when his bike stalled a few times in the mx-type section and was third in E2 and sixth overall while Bradley van Aswegen (Kargo Racing Yamaha E2) finished seventh; Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha E1) was eighth followed by the two Brother Broadlink KTM riders, Riaan van Niekerk (E2) and Darryl Curtis (E1). Both Van Niekerk and Curtis have been riding and training with the bikes they will be using for the 2013 Dakar Rally and admitted that they had to get used to their ‘smaller’ enduro bikes.
Scott Bouverie (Comsol BELL ACR KTM E2) was in action for the first time in six weeks and finished 11th while Brian Capper (Red Bull KTM E1) was 12th after a frustrating race. Nicholas Pienaar (RAD Moto KTM E1) was 13th; JC de Bruyn (Yamaha E2) finished 14th with James Hodson (Team Liquorland Racing Yamaha E2) rounding off the top 15. Also in the top 20 was Mark Garland (Kargo Racing Yamaha E1) who finished 16th; the 2006 Castrol Winterberg Enduro winner, Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (Out of Africa Kawasaki Racing E1) who was 17th (he fell on the mx section); Cuan Rootman (Yamaha E1) – 18th; Mark Fox (Wildcoast KTM / UMSO Ribco E1) – 19th and Lloyd Vercueil (Fever Criterion Yamaha E1) who finished 20th.
Defending Senior Class champion, William ‘Wild Will’ Gillit (Comsol BELL Yamaha) scored his third victory of the season and also confirmed the 2012 championship Senior Class title. The season-long battle between himself and Jodi Engelbrecht (Fever Criterion Yamaha) was interrupted with Engelbrecht not competing due to illness. Bruce May (Yamaha) finished second with Steve Landman (Team Liquorland Racing Yamaha) third after not competing for a few months due to an injury. Bruce Gargan (Fever Criterion Yamaha) was fourth; Matthew Barker (FDBR Racing Yamaha) finished fifth; Dricky Morkel (Nomadik Tents KTM) was sixth and Peter Jung (Wildcoast KTM / UMSO Ribco) was the last finisher in this class.
While there was yet another fairly easy victory for the current Master Class champion, Denzil Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha), who also secured the 2012 Master Class title, there were no points for Graydon Ilderton (Nomadik Tents KTM) who was second in the championship. He made a mistake by tackling the wrong loop according to the sequence he had to follow and will now drop on the overall standings in this class. Carl Rohrbeck (KTM) finished second and was followed by Kevin Bremner (KTM) and Evan Woodgate (KTM).
The competition in the Silver Class Challenge was tough with local Port Elizabeth youngster, Andrew Wren (Extreme Yamaha Support) beating the more experienced PE rider, Scott Woods (Rock Garden Gas Gas). Riaan van der Walt (Diamond Vlei Farm KTM) was third, but is still leading the class standings.
The final round of the 2012 Liquorland National Enduro Championship will take place in KwaZulu-Natal on 20 October.