National Enduro Championship - Rounds 1-3 | KZN

National Enduro Championship – Rounds 1-3 | KZN

Pics by ZCMC (mostly)

This past weekend marked the opening race of the National Enduro Championship Series, held in the stunning yet demanding terrain of the Drakensberg area. Imagine racing in the ‘Berg, it must be the closest thing to racing Lesotho and  The Roof Of Africa. Absolutely idyllic scenery, crisp early mornings and well laid out routes were the order of the day…. days – actually, as rounds one, two and three were held over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which makes sense to us. Other than the new schedule, the series debuted a revamped format for the series, starting with a sprint race on Friday followed by two days of racing on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday was also a special, featuring two special timed sections where riders were only timed during these sections, allowing them to take it easy during the normal racing in between. It was set to be a busy and challenging weekend for all competitors.

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The KTM Brother Leader Tread Enduro Team, featuring riders Will Slater, Dylan Jones, and Matthew Stevens, took on the tough three-round weekend. 

Will Slater‘s performance was marred by a few mistakes finishing off fourth. He began the second round leading the race but made a mistake and had a severe crash that led to a leg injury, forcing him to withdraw from the remainder of the event, including the third round.  He commented, “It was a bit of a challenging weekend and the new racing format didn’t play in my favour after crashing and hurting my leg on Saturday so there wasn’t any time for recovery. So it’s back to the drawing board for me but we will come back swinging for the next round!” 

Dylan Jones had an eventful race with a second-place finish in his class during the sprint race on Friday. The second round saw him encountering a mishap in a riverbed, resulting in a painful finger injury. Despite the pain, he still managed to secure third place. The third round was challenging as he battled fever and pain in his finger, but he managed to round off the podium at the end of the weekend. “I’m not much of a sprint racer so I am stoked on my second on Friday”, said Jones on the sprint for round one went on to say, “I was happy to also feel much stronger during the race on Sunday seeing that I had a fever, just glad that I was able to push through and looking forward to the next round.” 

Matthew Stevens had a rewarding weekend claiming round wins in the highschool class. Stevens said, “The past three days were quite tough overall but fun. The race got off to a slow start on Friday, but I managed to finish third.” Stevens clinched victory on Saturday despite a small misstep, and capped off the weekend with another win on Sunday. He said, “I felt really good this weekend, only making one mistake. The weekend was really good and I had a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to the next round.”

The Trademore Sherco Racing team had some good results from their riders.

The 2024 SA National Enduro Series kicked off with a bang, and Brett Swanepoel has already made a significant impact in the first three rounds. Displaying his remarkable skills and determination, Swanepoel placed 2nd in E2 class for both Round 1 and Round 2 and secured a commendable 3rd place in Round 3.

When asked about his experience from this past weekend, Swanepoel shared his enthusiasm for the series and the tracks thus far. “It was a fun and challenging layout and track,” he said. “I loved doing special tests again. They really bring out the best in every rider and add an extra layer of excitement to the competition.”

This consistent performance across the three rounds has placed him in a strong standing for the upcoming events and sets a positive tone for the rest of the season.

The Husqvarna Racing Team kicked off their opening race this past weekend with riders Travis Teasdale and Luke Walker putting on a dominant display throughout the three-round event.

Travis Teasdale, competing in the E2 class, had an exceptional weekend, taking victory in all three rounds, displaying remarkable pace and control throughout. After the weekend Teasdale said, “The first two days were gruelling, pushing my physical limits, but I still had so much fun. Round one and three was a blast – I felt incredibly strong, and I’m pumped about the return of special test racing. It was a fantastic weekend, and I’m happy to be safe and back in one piece.”

Luke Walker, racing in the E1 class, enjoyed the new format. He took a third-place finish in round one and then battled hard for second place in round two. Luke finished round three strong by taking the win in his class. Walker shared his experience, saying, “Friday’s sprint race was a real rush. I love those short, intense battles. Round two was a marathon, testing our endurance and it was hard on the body. Round three with the special tests offered a great mix of technical challenges along with high-speed sections. Overall, I had a blast, and I think it was a fantastic start to the season.

The GASGAS Enduro Racing Team launched their season at the National Enduro Championship opening race this past weekend with riders Heinrich Aust and James Moore competing in the challenging three-round event.

Heinrich Aust, competing in the E2 class, faced a tough weekend and ultimately showed perseverance. He fought hard and secured podium finishes on both Friday and Saturday. Aust clawed his way back up to second place, ending the weekend on a high note. He stated, “It was a challenging but very fun weekend. Tough on the body and on the bike but I enjoyed it a lot. The faster, special test sections suit my riding so much more so I had a lot of fun with the new format.”  

James Moore, racing in the E1 class, dominated the first two rounds on Friday and Saturday, claiming the top step in both. On Sunday, Moore took second place in the final round, maintaining his strong performance throughout the weekend. Moore commented, “The weekend went really well, and I enjoyed the first two rounds a lot. The third round was a bit of an adjustment with the special tests. I made a few adjustments and mistakes, but I’m happy to be back in one piece and excited for the next few rounds.”

With the new formats, spectacular venues and exciting racing we are really looking forward the the next event.

National Enduro Championship - Rounds 1-3 | KZN
National Enduro Championship - Rounds 1-3 | KZN

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