Enduro motorcycle competitors are gearing up for the Baynesfield WFO Enduro, Round 1 of the 2013 SA Enduro championship, this weekend, from the Baynesfield Country Club of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal.
Looking at the names on the entry list, the entry of new manufacturers has resulted in a healthy round of 'musical chairs' with new teams being formed and riders competing on new machines.
Defending E1 champion and overall winner of the 2012 series, Jade Gutzeit, has changed roles and will not be competing this season. He's now the team manager for Sherco Racing, consisting of his younger brother, Blake in the E2/200cc class and Lloyd Vercueil in the E1/Open championship.
Chris Birch has moved back to New Zealand after competing in SA for two years, KTM's Darryl Curtis has undergone surgery after his huge tumble in the Dakar Rally earlier this year) and Bradley van Aswegen is working overseas.
CHASING MORE VICTORIES
But Marc Torlage carries the number E2 plate on his Yamaha after finishing second in the 2012 overall championship last year and winning the E2 title for the third consecutive year. His team mate Kenny Gilbert also finished in the top 10 and will again compete in E1.
The winner of the 2012 Roof of Africa, Wade Young, finished third overall after his first season at senior level last year. His results on the Husaberg included two race victories and he would like to bag some more wins.
The KTM team has a new look, but still includes the winner of the 2012 off-road championship, Louwrens Mahoney, who had to settle for fourth place on the overall enduro standings. His team mates are enduro specialist Scott Bouverie, Jonathan van Wyk and youngster Louw Schmidt who will tackle his first national enduro as part of this team.
Former enduro champion, Altus de Wet, will ride an 'official' Husqvarna in the E1 class Yamaha will field a full team of Timothy Young, Mark Garland and youngsters Michael Pentecost and Brandon Youell.
Local Pietermaritzburg rider, Scott Scheepers (Gas Gas) is making a comeback while the Yamaha privateers James Hodson (E2) and Nick Wade (E1) will tackle the full distance and William Gillit will defend his (multiple) Senior Class championship title.
Bruce Gargan (Yamaha) finished second last year behind Gillit after a three-way battle with Jody Engelbrecht (Husaberg) who challenged Gillit for the best part of the 2012 season. The top six finishers after the previous season are all racing again with Bruce May (Yamaha), Peter Jung (KTM), Matthew Barker (Yamaha) and Steven Landman in the mix.
There will be a short, five-kilometre timed section and a longer, 16.9km special stage on the 42km loop; E1 and E2 entrants will complete this loop four times with the best times of the racing sections on laps two, three and four to count towards the points.
All the action will take place from the Baynesfield Country Club, starting at 8am on Saturday 23 February at 08h00.`