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Defending SA Off-Road title holder and former Enduro champion Jade Gutzeit chalked up his second overall victory of the 2012 National Enduro season at the weekend with a hard-fought win in Round 4, the inaugural Offroad Evolution Enduro, in the Centurion area of Gauteng.
Gutzeit stretched his lead in the overall standings as well as the E1 (Open Class) Championship while his Yamaha team mate, Marc Torlage, won the E2 (200cc) Class and finished fourth overall after a gruelling enduro in the rocky hills where they had to complete two special stages three times each and post their best times. Torlage, the defending E2 champion, strengthened his lead in the class championship by winning for the second time this season.
Gutzeit beat the defending E1 champion and overall title holder, Chris Birch (KTM), who won the previous event, by 24 seconds after a tough battle. Louwrens Mahoney finished third in E1 and rounded off the overall podium, despite a crash near the end of the race. Mahoney's KTM team mate Altus de Wet finished behind Torlage and was second in E2.
He was followed by two more E2 competitors, KwaZulu-Natal youngsters Scott Bouverie (KTM) who struggled with rear brake problems for most of the race and Wade Young Criterion Yamaha). Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) was eighth (fourth in E1) with Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha) 17 points behind him in ninth place, and fifth in E2. Riaan van Niekerk (KTM) rounded off the top ten after a crash in the obstacle course early in the race.
The ongoing battle between defending Senior Class champion, William 'Wild Bill' Gillit and Jody Engelbrecht (each on a Yamaha), who led Gillit by a single point before this event, continued during the dry and dusty race in Gauteng and this time it was Gillit who posted his second victory of the season.
Engelbrecht, who has also won twice this year, finished in a close second place and provisionally trails Gillit by only two points with two rounds of the season remaining. Bruce May (Yamaha) was third, Bruce Gargan (Yamaha) finished fourth with Brett Fisher (KTM) fifth.
Defending Master Class champion, Denzil Torlage (Yamaha), who has not lost a race since February 2009 when he finished second in the Winterberg Enduro, scored his fourth consecutive victory this season. With Mark du Plessis not competing in this event, Graydon Ilderton (KTM), who finished second behind Torlage, moves into the second place in the championship standings. Carl Rohrbeck (KTM) was third; Spot Martin (KTM) finished fourth and Martin Poole (Yamaha) was fifth with Greg Blackwell (KTM) sixth.
The fifth and penultimate round of the 2012 National Enduro series, the Winterberg Enduro, will be run on 18 August in the Eastern Cape.