Enduro21 catches up with Wade Young for a closer look at his new Hard Enduro World Championship race bike, a GASGAS EC 300 almost forced upon the South African but one carrying promise for the 2024 season…

Since being told his services were no longer needed by Sherco at the start of 2024, Wade Young has had an enforced quick transition to a new machine, a GASGAS EC 300.

Initially with help from a French dealer, hastily and helpfully so he could compete at Ales Trem Hard Enduro, Young has set out his 2024 Hard Enduro World Championship stall on the red Austrian machines.

Impressively winning first time out at the Ales Trem Hard Enduro it was a bit of a poke in the eye for the boys in blue on their home turf in France and showed the spark has been ignited inside the South African to move forward in his career.

As we head to round two of the season at Erzberg, Enduro21 caught up with Wade to find out more about his new set-up, the new bike and generally ‘how’s life?’ as he settles into a season that started with “very, very late notice to get on with a new plan”.

“I hadn't done anything with the bike before the first race.” Young explains to Enduro21. “I heard about it all the four weeks before Ales Trem, managed to test it and then, yeah, we went straight into Ales, partly because I had to go back and pack up my house in France.”

Young’s new ‘freedom’ away from a factory team meant he could return home to South Africa to live and train ahead of the HEWC, rebuilding his racing life and getting deals together based around a bike from GASGAS.

And what about that bike? It’s quite a change to go from Sherco to GASGAS, carburettor to TBI, KYB suspension to WP, factory team to DIY…

“For sure the bike is very different.” Wade explains, “There’s is a lot I really enjoy about the GASGAS but they’re very different to ride in terms of body position. It’s been quite challenging adjusting my riding approaching obstacles and getting my weight balance in the right place.”


“The Sherco is a lot heavier on the back and the GASGAS is quite light so all the weight on my body needs to be shifted further back. The body positioning on the Sherco is quite far forward in particular places, when you’re climbing hills is the biggest thing.”

Going from KYB suspension to the WP on the GASGAS is another big change for Young, adding to a bike which he says, “gives different feedback in how it handles. It’s a little learning curve but I'm enjoying it.”

Testing, testing

Arriving in the UK early for the Valleys Hard Enduro, Wade went testing in Wales with Rutherford Racing who are the European arm of Two Stroke Performance (TSP) who are among the companies helping Young in his new team.

A trip to the UK is rare for Young who only landed once previously in GB to ride The Tough One in 2017. “I tried to get in the UK as early as possible to get some riding and testing with TSP and to understand the bike. We’re still working on the set-up and still trying to get bits together. We haven’t been on the bike very long so there’s still a lot of stuff that I haven’t really had much time testing, it’s a learning process.”


New bike and one HEWC round in and Wade finished sixth, “I feel like this year will get better and better throughout the year as I’m doing more races and understand everything about the bike. It’s a cool journey, something different to what I was with so has some new challenges and we are just taking it as it comes, trying to do as best as we can with the short time.”

Sponsors making it happen

Wade tells us there was never any doubt he would be in the world championship this year. The former winner of the Red Bull Romaniacs has Leader Tread as a main sponsor, a South African company that retreads truck tyres plus others like TSP, Nitro Mousse, S3 Parts, Astra handlebars, Gaerne boots and that all-important aspect, a bike from GASGAS (note the Farioli sticker on the front headlight) plus Red Bull personally for Young.


Enduro21 noted at the time that the Farioli factory team guys were visibly interested in what Wade was up to, in fact were nosing around his bike as we were taking these photos.

Like us, they too were wondering why the bolts were taken out the engine mount on the upper frame rail. “To have more feel and flex in the chassis” Wade told those guys.

Work in progress

We noticed things are still pretty standard around Wade’s bike. Despite the Farioli sticker, the TSP cylinderhead and reflashed ECU are parts you will never see on a factory bike. But also take a look at the standard Braktec brakes, sump guard and chain guide.


Wade and the small team of people around him were working hard on suspension set-up during the Valleys Hard Enduro weekend too. They were at the time using a mixture of parts including from British specialists K-Tech including different linkage ratios plus some advice from Mani’s WP suspension guy.

Other parts sprinkled around Wades bike include Michelin Extreme tyres and Nitro Mousses, OXA full exhaust system (designed for the EXC/enduro cylinderhead not just generic KTM), S3 Parts footpegs and CHT Racing sprockets (13-48 final drive as we took the pictures FYI). Rutherford Racing covers are on the throttle body and their ‘cylinder saver’ clamp around the exhaust manifold plus the thermostat replacement 'T' piece in the cooling system.

TSP Parts fitted are the medium copression head, their new power valve boost cover whih they claim gives more under 5k rpm.

“I wish I had done it earlier”

Losing a factory ride clearly was a bit of a shock but Wade seems like he’s in a happier place, despite the harder time and with more work on his plate. A bit like Jonny Walker found a few years back when he jumped to Beta, you could argue.

With no rider on the white bikes while Bolt recovers from his injuries, and Michael Walkner not competing in the full championship on the red bikes, it makes sense for Farioli to support Wade, who has committed to the season on an EC 300 and has obvious pedigree.

Watch this space is our feeling and quality of life accounts for a lot for a rider who has been able to spend more time living at home between races.

 “I haven’t spent that much time back home in recent years, living in France near my previous team. I had a good set up there for training and practice and so on but outside of that I didn’t have much of a life.

“I’m living back in South Africa now and pretty much just come over to race. It’s a nice change to be home more, spend time and train with friends, see my family and be in my own culture, speak my own language…I think it’s something I wish I had done earlier. I enjoyed racing and training and my set up in France but besides that I didn’t have much else happening.”


Photo Credit: Future7Media | Andrea Belluschi