|Posted on March 27, 2019 at 3:35 AM|
South Africa’s top racing talent gathered in enduro paradise on Saturday for the start of the National Enduro series. While the KwaZulu-Natal town of New Hanover welcomed riders with a quaint and cosy atmosphere, the surrounding riding territory certainly did not.
Living up to Natal’s rugged reputation was a route that tested the endurance of every man and his machine. The event’s lineup was equally as fierce with riders like Wade Young and Kyle Flanagan in the mix.
For Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Scott Bouverie, the first round of the series marked his long-awaited return to the E2 Class after injury.
With years of experience to fall back on, the rider set off to prove that he still has what it takes to run with the country’s best. As a Natal-based rider, Bouverie was in his element as he blazed through the sugar cane fields, tight forest trails and technical terrain the province is renowned for.
After close to 5 hours of pushing the pace up front with Flanagan, the rider managed to secure the second spot on the podium ahead of Young.
“It’s so good to be back! I’m healthy and strong and feel like I actually have a shot at doing well this season because I get to compete from the beginning. After today I know I have the speed to win, and that gives me a lot of confidence going forward,” enthused Bouverie.
Snatching up another podium position was teammate Dwayne Kleynhans. For most of the 2018 season the rider was in contention for the E1 title, but an unfortunate arm injury kept him from national glory.
After undergoing another operation at the start of the year, Kleynhans was far less prepared for the first event than he had hoped. “All I could was go deep into the memory bank and rely on past experience to get through the first round,” explained Kleynhans.
When the flag dropped, however, it seemed like the rider had hardly missed a beat. Kleynhans crossed the finish line as the fastest E1 rider for the day, but unfortunately received a penalty for missing a checkpoint which ultimately resulted in a third place.
“There was so much mud on my goggles that I somehow missed a check point. Despite this, a third place is way more than I expected and I’m so relieved to start the season with some solid points,” he said.
It was a significant event for enduro queen Kirsten Landman – who was the only female to finish the race in the competitive E2 Class.
Having ticked off most goals on her hard enduro list, Landman made the bold decision to step things up a notch and enter the bigger class in 2018. She explained, “My goal was never to try and beat guys like Wade or Scott, but riding with them forces me to push harder than I ever have before.”
Only a fraction of riders in the E2 Class actually manage to finish all the required laps at each event, and in New Hanover Landman was one of them. The achievement comes as the perfect confident boost as Landman prepares for the Merzouga Rally – a qualifying event in Morocco for the 2020 Dakar Rally.
The final Brother Leader Tread KTM rider to cross the finish line was Bradley Cox. The New Hanover event marked the 22-year old’s debut to the orange team.
Cox has practically grown up in this terrain and uses the area for the majority of his training. He was off to a promising start on Saturday but lost a lot of time when he got stuck in a muddy section of the route.
Despite the incident, he managed to bring home a fourth for the day. Having unleashed but a glimpse of his potential, the multidisciplined rider commented, “With my experience racing motocross, I felt like my speed was definitely up there today. If I can just eliminate some small mistakes, I know I can push even harder than I did today.”
Published by: KTM Media
Picture Caption: Enduro star Scott Bouverie
Photography by: www.zcmc.co.za
Categories: FMN News South Africa