SA teen is Romania's King of the HillComment on this story
Arad, Romania - KwaZulu-Natal teenager Wade Young made the Extreme Enduro establishment sit up and take note when he won the gruelling Roof of Africa in 2012 at 16.
Now, 17 months later, he's leading the SA Enduro series after three consecutive wins - and he's just been crowned 'King of the Hill' at the international Extreme Enduro in Arad, Romania.
The competition started Friday 5 April with a prologue in the city centre to determine the starting order for the following day. Arad's central park was transformed into an obstacle course of logs, rocks, tyres and constructed wooden jumps, with crowds packed the street for the spectacle, which was televised on national TV.
Young said: "The first thing we did on arriving in Arad was go and see my bike, a KTM 300 two-stroke, and I knew immediately that there was testing and fine tuning to be done.
READY TO RACE
"But we had two days to spare and, thanks to KTM who sent over all the spares, and to the King of the Hill organisers the bike was 'ready to race' on Friday."
And race he did, finishing the prologue in a comfortable second place, just behind British team-mate Paul Bolton.
Day one of the mountain race on Saturday (Young's 18th birthdfay!) was dry, making the 100km course a fast charge from start to finish. Young stormed into the lead with Bolton second and Germany's Marcus Kehr third, after some drama on the route:
Young explained: "The top 30 riders got horribly lost because somebody had sabotaged the race; they changed all the markers, leading the riders 2.5kms in the wrong direction.
"In the end the organisers decided to use the last check point as the results for the day."
Bolton, the more technical rider, was praying for rain to dampen the dusty conditions and slow the course down, while Young was hoping it would stay dry.
In the event, a small shower on Saturday did nothing to alter the terrain and a super-fast day two ensued as Young and Bolton battled it out to the end of the 60km course - with Young (just) ahead when it mattered.
Young said: "The conditions were a lot different from last year, which was a lot wetter. My game plan was to charge from the beginning, and it worked, although I was battling with flu and wasn't feeling 100 percent.
“I'm absolutely stoked with my win after second place last year."
While the SA Enduro series enjoys a break until July, Young will be training flat out for the Red Bull Hare Scramble at this year's Erzberg Rodeo in Austria on 1 June in order to improve on his 11th place finish in 2013.