It's crunch time for SA Enduro titleComment on this story
It's crunch time for riders in the SA Enduro Motorycle championship at this weekend's sixth and final round of the 2011 National series, the WFO Enduro at Four Rivers Adventures, south of Winterton in KwaZulu-Natal.
There are only a handful of points separating the top riders in the overall standings as well as the class championships, and the racing will be tight.
New Zealander Chris Birch (KTM) is the man to beat after winning four races out of five so far in 2011. He leads defending champion Jade Gutzeit (Yamaha) - the only other winner this season - by 11 points overall, but only by nine in the OR1 (Open) Class standings due to a slightly different scoring system.
With not one but two titles at stake, these two will throw everything they've got into the ring.
On the down side, Gutzeit's team mate Louwrens Mahoney will have to sit this enduro out due to injury, and that will probably cost him third place overall. Marc Torlage (Yamaha) finished second in the recent Winterberg Enduro and is now only one point behind Mahoney on the overall standings - and also one point behind E2 championship leader, Altus de Wet (KTM).
Torlage and De Wet will be fighting to decide both third overall and the E2 Calls title and neither will be willing to back down. De Wet will also be under pressure from team mate, Darryl Curtis, who is only two points behind him, while Curtis will have international stunt star Brian Capper (KTM) chasing him, only five points in arrears.
After four wins and a second, defending Senior Class champion William "Wild Bill" Gillit (KTM) has built a 20 point cushion between himself and second-placed Mike Morris (KTM) who won the season opener in Lesotho. Gillit has one hand on the trophy but if he fails to finish the WFO and Morris wins, it could slip from his grasp - now that's pressure.
The Senior Class minor placings are still wide open: Stephen Landman (Gas Gas) will need another podium finish (he's had three already this year!) to protect his third place from Yamaha rider Bruce Gargan and KTM's Peter Jung - but if Morris has a bad day at the office, Landman could finish the season in second; it's that close.
Marc Torlage's father Denzil (Yamaha) has won the Master Class at every National Enduro this year and has a 25 point Advantage over KTM veteran Mark du Plessis, who finished behind him every time at each event. Torlage is almost guaranteed a second consecutive title, but Du Plessis will do everything in his power at Winterton to prevent Torlage from walking away with a clean sweep.
Documentation for the WFO Enduro will be open on Friday, September 9, at Four Rivers Adventures south of Winterton, just off the R600. The race will start on Saturday at 8am.