Young guns ruled at the weekend’s Matatiele Enduro in the Eastern Cape – the tough but enjoyable final round of the SA Enduro series – as two schoolboys, Blake Gutzeit (Sherco) and Travis Teasdale (KTM) finished on the podium. Rocky hills, dry riverbeds and grasslands were the battlefield where the 2013 titles were decided.
Seventeen-year-old Wade Young (Husaberg) became the first schoolboy to win a national enduro championship when he clinched the overall title for 2013 as well as the E2 (200cc) championship - even after crashing during the fifth of 10 special stages at Matatiele, injuring himself, damaging the bike (his crew had to replace the Husaberg’s sub-frame and shock absorber) and battling home 10th overall and third in E2 at Matatiele.
New E1 (Open Class) champion, Altus de Wet (Husqvarna) took his second race win of the season and fifth consecutive E1 victory to secure his second place in the overall standings after a tough season, fighting from the back after a minor mechanical gremlin preventing him from finishing the first enduro of the year.
De Wet posted the fastest times on three of the special timed stages while his time for Special Stage 9 was identical to that of 18-year-old Gutzeit, who made a little history by finishing second overall with the Sherco while he was also second in E1, just 70 points (seconds) behind De Wet.
The young Sherco rider, a former Junior National champion and younger brother of former multiple champion Jade, had a trouble-free race and won two more stages to finish on the podium for the first time since moving to the senior ranks in 2012.
Teasdale (16), who had just clinched his second Junior National championship and was competing in only in his second national enduro, won three stages to win E2 and round off the Matatiele podium, only 10 points (seconds) behind Gutzeit.
Fourth overall and third in E1, after winning Stage Eight, was enough for Yamaha’s Kenny Gilbert to finish the season in the third overall and second behind De Wet in E1. Timmy Young (Yamaha) finished fifth at Matatiele (fourth in E1) – only 11 points (seconds) behind Gilbert – to secure third in E1 for 2013.
Dwayne Kleynhans (KTM) posted his best result of the season with sixth overall (fifth in E1), followed home by Charan Moore (Yamaha) who was sixth in E1, Kyle Erasmus (Yamaha) - just seven points (seconds) behind Moore in eighth - his second place in E2 his personal best for the season.
William ‘Wild Bill’ Gillitt (Yamaha) sealed the Senior Class title for the fifth consecutive season; overall Bruce May (Yamaha) lost time in the special stages when he stalled his bike, but managed another second place (his fourth of the season) to secure the No.2 plate for 2014 ahead of Jody Engelbrecht (Husaberg ) who finished third at Matatiele, ahead of Ryan Pretorius (KTM) and Albert Pos (KTM).
Denzil Torlage (Yamaha) became the Master Class champion for the sixth consecutive year, winning all four Special Stages on his way to his fourth race victory of the season, with Dino Santoro (Beta) and Darryl Melrose (KTM) rounding off the podium. Fourth at Matatiele, however, was enough for Carl Rohrbeck (Husaberg) to finish the season second behind Torlage.