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Bruce_May_tied_for_the_SeniorClass_lead_after_Creighton_double_header__Photo_Credit_Megan_Els_.jpgThe Liquorland National Enduro Motorcycle Championship is known for gruelling racing and the competition is extremely tough. To compete in two rounds of the 2015 national season on two consecutive days with racing taking place at the beginning of the season, is not easy on competitors. 

This is however, exactly what competitors did when they tackled the Liquorland Creighton WFO National Enduro that formed the first two rounds of the 2015 national season this past weekend. Organised by the WFO Club, these two races took place in the Myddleton Dam area outside Creighton, a small village in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Riders and crews would have remembered a national enduro race at the same venue in 2012 when rain and thick mist made the racing conditions just that much harder. This time hot, sunny and dusty conditions resulted in a totally different race and a full field of competitors from all over the country gave their best to make sure they leave Creighton with a healthy amount of points in the bag.

Competitors also did not have the luxury to race on the same track on both days. Only one of the three Special Stages was the same on both days with another running the opposite direction on the second day while a brand new stage was also introduced for the next day.

There were full score cards for a few riders that included Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Travis Teasdale (E1/200cc) and Wade Young (E2/Open) who were the respective winners of these classes after both races. Young decided to pay a short visit to South Africa after competing in Europe since December 2014. His could not get his visa for the UK in time to compete in the ‘Tough One Extreme Enduro’ that also took place this past weekend.

The competition was tough in both classes as riders have worked hard during the off-season to be prepared for 2015. Behind Teasdale in E1, Brett Swanepoel (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) claimed two runner-up results with Brandon Warwick-Oliver (Liquorland Racing Yamaha) and Kyle Flanagan (Ihobe International KTM) both claiming a third place during the weekend. Flanagan finished fourth during round one (Saturday, 7 March), but Warwick Oliver suffered from cramps resulting in him falling back to sixth place on the second day.

Teasdale’s new team-mate, Dwayne Kleynhans, also scored two E1 top five results (he was fifth at the first round and fourth at the second round) while Tim Young (Kargo Racing Yamaha) finished one point (second) behind Kleynhans on the second day to round off the top five (he was sixth the previous day). The E1 Class was filled with talented young enduro competitors with 23 riders completing each day.

The 2014 Silver Class Challenge winner, Dylan Barker (Pa Ma Racing Yamaha) as well as Henco Botha (Alfie Cox Racing Xtreme Projects KTM) and Tim Young’s team-mate, Michael Pentecost all scored two top 10 results with Flanagan’s team-mate, Chayse Orsmond, claiming an 11th and eighth place while Reinhard Ferreira (Yamaha) was 10th on the first day (14th on the second day).

The top six standings in the E2 Class Championship looked the same over the two days. Wade Young ruled this class (he won the E1/200cc championship in 2013 and 2014) and was followed by his team-mate, Scott Bouverie, who made a welcome comeback after being injured since the middle of the 2014 season. Altus de Wet (Altus de Wet Racing Sherco) finished 20 points behind Bouverie on day one and only 14 points behind him on day two.

Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) opened his 2015 account with two solid fourth places while Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Bronson Louw was fifth (he finished only five points behind Gilbert on the second day) with Nicholas Pienaar (Husqvarna) back in action and bagging valuable points finishing sixth twice. Also in the top ten on both days were Nick Wade (Liquorland Racing Husqvarna) – he finished seventh and eighth – and Dalan Hall (cc Gallery KTM Gateway) who was ninth and seventh.

Sage McGregor (KTM) finished eighth on the first day, but had to settle for 11th place on the second day while Roan Lindsay (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) bettered his 11th place (day one) to finish ninth on day two. Wynand Kleynhans (Yamaha) and Tristan Robins (KTM) also claimed a 10th place each and followed it up with a 13th (Kleynhans) and a 11th (Robins).

Competitors in E1 and E2 had to complete three laps on both days and posted times for nine Special Stages. All the other classes did two loops (a total of six Specials). This meant that Master Class riders (older than 46 years), who normally complete a shorter distance than the Senior Class competitors (riders older than 38 years), had to do the same distance while riders in the High School Class (14 to 16 years) and Silver Class Challenge also did two loops.


In the Senior Class championship chase, the same three riders finished on the podium – they just swopped places after two days of close racing. Jody Engelbrecht (Yamaha) celebrated his return to the national series with a victory on the first day and a second place on the second while Bruce May (AgriSales Peak Yamaha Racing) followed his runner-up result up with a victory on the second day. The defending champion, William ‘Wild Will’ Gillitt, now also racing under the AgriSales Peak Yamaha Racing banner, rounded off the podium on each day – he was only 14 points behind Engelbrecht on day two and 43 points behind his team-mate on the first day.

Graham Hedgcock (KTM Cape Town) finished fourth on both days with Mark Fox (KTM), who has also taken a sabbatical from racing for a year or two, rounding off the top five (day one) and finishing eighth on the second day. There were also double top 10 results for Thomas Seather (KTM); Steven Carr (KTM) – his fifth place on the second day was his best result; Steve Landman (Liquorland Racing Yamaha); Craig van Heerden (KTM) and Stuart Harvey (Yamaha). These results – the podium finishers as well as the many ‘new’ names in the top ten and riders making a come-back to the national series – have set the scene for some exciting racing in the Senior Class championship for the rest of the season.

Both the Master Class and High School Class saw double winners at the end of the weekend’s racing. Master Class newcomer, Hilton Hayward (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) scored a double victory as did the defending High School Class champion, Enduan Bester (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing). Behind Hayward his team-mate, Denzil Torlage and Garth Prost (Husqvarna Factory Racing) both claimed a second and third place result. The consistent Shaun Kirk (Beta Liqui Moley Racing SA) were fourth on both days with Steve Botha (AgriSales Peak Yamaha Racing) rounding off the top five after both events. Hayward had a little breather to those behind him, but only a handful of points separated Torlage and Prost on both days with the rest not too far behind.

Bester opened his defence of his title with two wins, but he will have to keep an eye on his fellow scholars as less than a minute (60 points) separated those on the podium. Daniel van Zyl (Yamaha) claimed a second and a third while Dean Lindsay (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) was the runner-up on the first day and fourth on the second day. Bryce van Heerden (KTM) also earned valuable points with a third and fourth place while Keegan Eich (KTM) and Erhardt Beukes (VANS Racing Division Yamaha) – he could not finish the first day – also scored a top five finish during the weekend.

The Silver Class Challenge podium looked the same after both days with the young Matatiele scholar, Lloyd Kirk (Pa Ma Racing Yamaha) claiming two victories followed by Reghardt van Nieuwenhuizen (KTM) and Oliver Santoro (KTM).

With two of the six rounds of the 2015 Liquorland National Enduro Championship now something of the past and the first valuable points in the bag, competitors will have to plan carefully for the next two rounds that will take place in the space of two weeks – the traditional KEI Enduro is back and will take place on April 18 in the East London area in the Eastern Cape while the La Mont National Enduro is happening on May 2nd at Ashton in the Western Cape.


Issued: 09.03.2015


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