The New Year has brought some big changes for South African Wade Young. Signed up to a factory ride with Sherco, Young is looking more determined and motivated than ever to succeed. 

Despite still adapting to his new surroundings, Young fired out a fairly heft warning shot to his rivals at the Ales Trem that he means business. Splitting extreme enduro’s best of Jonny Walker and Graham Jarvis, Young came home an impressive second in his debut Sherco ride. 

With first race nerves out of the way, we caught up with him to find out more about how he’s settling into life as a first time factory rider…

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Your big news for 2016 is a change of brand and colours to Sherco, how did it all happen?

Wade Young: “It’s was kind of crazy and unexpected how it worked out. I was going to sign a contract with KTM South Africa for 2016 and just before that happened Sherco, through a South African dealer, called me with an offer. I explained the whole time what was happening to the guys at KTM but they couldn’t quite match what Sherco were offering so the deal was done.”

Although still early days what’s it like to now be a factory enduro rider?

“It’s an exciting change. This is something I’ve been working towards for a while now. Everyone dreams of getting the factory deal and now that I’ve got it it’s pretty cool. Having a team of people around me, as their number one rider, is a strange thing to adjust too but it feels good.

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What were your initial impressions of the new bike?

“Pretty quickly I knew I’d made the right move. I actually started out with the 300 but preferred the 250 two-stroke. The shape and feeling of the bike was different than KTM but I adapted almost immediately. I just rode as much as possible and I dig it now, I’m enjoying it a lot.”

It’s good to see Sherco in extreme enduro with you, what’s your schedule for 2016?

“Now that we’ve done Ales Trem, next up is Hell’s Gate and The Tough One. I’ll also race Erzberg and Romaniacs, Megawatt, Sea to Sky and of course the Roof of Africa. I’m hoping to squeeze in Extreme Lagares but the race in Brazil is still a maybe. At home my focus will also be on racing the South African enduro championship. It’s a busy year but I’m looking forward to it.”

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How have you found working with team manager Jordan Curvalle?

“He’s been cool. He’s a former top rider so it’s been very easy to relate everything back to him. He’s helping me a lot with setup. I feel like I can explain things to him and he understands where I’m coming from immediately. It’s great to have that a guy like that in the team who’s tuned into the riders and what they need.”

Have you any plans yet to do some riding and training with Sherco’s other riders like Matt Phillips?

“I’ve already been out with Anthony Bossiere. He’s a cool guy and super fast so it’s going to help me a lot to train with people like that. I’ve only been in France a couple of weeks and I’ll be about 50/50 between France and home, but I hope to get over to places like Italy and go ride with Matt. That’d be cool.”

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Has it been good to get that first race out of the way?

“Yeah, it’s nice to have one under my belt. I felt more nerves than normal but once I got going I settled into it. I got a good start and tried to ease my way into it. I was trying to be smooth and clean on lap one. Jonny caught me about a half lap into the race, at the refuel point, but we rode together for most of the first two laps. He got away from me towards the end but I’m happy with my pace. It was a tough race, maybe harder than we all expected so to get second was great.”

Splitting both Walker and Jarvis for second must give you a bunch of confidence for the rest of the year?

“It certainly helps. I’ve been doing extreme enduro for three years now and I want to win. I feel like this is my year to do it. I’ve got the support I need. Of course Jonny and Graham are great riders but I know I can run with them. I’m working hard in my training to be ready and I’ll be giving it everything I got for the top step of that podium.”


Photos: Robert Lynn/Future7Media