Teenager Wade Young (KTM ) claimed his second consecutive Winterberg Enduro victory when he won the fifth and penultimate round of the 2013 SA Enduro Motorcycle championship in the Patensie area of the Gamtoos Valley in the Eastern Cape at the weekend.
It was also the 17-year-old KTM star's third win this season. Young won all six of the special timed stages of a tough and testing 38th Winterberg, clinching the overall title with one round remaining, as well as the E2 (200cc) Class championship in only his second season at senior level.
Young said he'd enjoyed the race that was described by most competitors as 'tough and demanding' and was happy to have won this special event (his 2012 Winterberg win was his first national enduro victory) again - even though he crashed on the final lap.
Altus de Wet (Husqvarna) won the E1 (Open Class) for the fourth consecutive race and finished second overall, 154 seconds behind Young with 19-year old Port Elizabeth rider Timmy Young (Yamaha) - no relation to Wade - claiming his best result of the enduro season by finishing third overall and second in E1, 102 seconds behind De Wet, despite suffering clutch problems during the race.
He came home just 49 seconds ahead of Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) who rounded off the E1 podium and finished fourth overall. Gilbert fell during one of the special stages (he says he still can't understand how it happened...) and lost valuable time. The battle for the E1 Championship will go down to the wire as Gilbert will go into the final round with only two points separating him from second-placed De Wet, who failed to score at the season opener).
Bronson Louw (Yamaha), in his first season at national level, scored his best result to date by finishing second in E2 and fifth overall after a race where the dry route deteriorated towards the end, 29 seconds ahead of schoolboy Brett Swanepoel (KTM) who finished third in E2 after losing time recovering from a tumble over the handlebars during the final special stage. James Hodson (Yamaha) finished fourth in E2 and seventh overall with Michael Pentecost (Yamaha) just two seconds further back in eighth
A broken engine casing prevented the Sherco rider Blake Gutzeit - younger brother of multiple champion Jade - from finishing the enduro but he came back with a vengeance to finish his first Winterberg in ninth overall and sixth in E2. Veteran Darryl Curtis (KTM) made a welcome return to the national series after his Dakar Rally injury in January, competing for the first time this season and finishing fourth in E1 and 10th overall.
The Senior Class battle between defending champion William 'Wild Will' Gillitt (Yamaha) and Bruce May (Yamaha) came down to just 14 seconds after racing side by side for the best part of the race - with Gillit in fort for a hat trick of class wins.
May beat Gillitt twice in the shorter seven-kilometre special stage where the sandy conditions suited him while Gillitt, who crashed hard enough to lose a filling, was faster in the longer nine-kilometre rocky stage. With only 11 points separating them, they will have to face each other again at the final event on 19 October.
All six starters in the Master Class completed the race with Marc Torlage's father Denzil Torlage (Yamaha) winning for the third time this season and claiming the Master Class title for the fifth consecutive year, taking sweet revenge on the winner of the previous event, Garth Prost (KTM) who had to settle for second place although both took a stage victory.
Otto Horlacher (Husaberg) rounded off the podium with John Petrie (Husqvarna), Neil van der Ross (Honda) fifth and Carl Rohrbeck (KTM) retaining his second place in the championship standings by finishing sixth.
The final round of the SA Enduro Motorcycle series will be run on 19 October at Matatiele in the Eastern Cape.