Staff Reporter Windhoek-With the bikes and bodies having been given a good rest during the just ended festive season, it’s time to dust off the machines and get the frame back in the gym – the 2018 Enduro season is almost upon us. The 2018 motorbike season promises to be a cracker with open class reigning champion Henner Rusch (KTM) set to battle it out with last year’s runner-up Marcel Henle (KTM). The pair traded victories in the opening four rounds with both riders winning two races apiece. Sadly, the thrilling two-horse battle was abbreviated with Henle picking up an injury while competing in South Africa resulting in missing two consecutive races – thus handing the championship to Rusch on a silver plate. The race for the final podium spot will be equally tight with last year’s third place finisher Corne Visser (Sherco) looking to defend his position against the likes of Heiko Stranghoehner (KTM), Kai Hennes (KTM), Nikkle Visser (Sherco), Gernot Bahr (Husqvarna) and Gunther Gladis (KTM). The Open Class race courses are almost purely single track with very difficult technical sections designed to test both riders and machines to their limit. The Senior Bikes (for riders over 38 years old) will again see a strong field competing. 2017 Champ Joern Greiter (KTM) will look for a repeat of last year’s championship winning performance but will have his hands full with the trio of Werner Wiese (KTM), David Brown (KTM) and Stephan du Plessis (KTM) likely to push him all the way. Rumour also has it that multiple Enduro and Motocross champion Ingo Waldschmidt is pondering making a return to racing in the Senior Class (Senior Bikes completing the same routes as the Open Class, but with one lap less). Class 7 (Support Bikes) could see the crowing of a new champ. With two-time and reigning campion Juergen Gladis(KTM) contemplating a possible move to the Open Class for 2018 this could leave the door open for a new rider to leave their mark. Wayne Schablinski (KTM), Lenny Bagwitz (KTM), Jaco Husselman (Husaberg) and Keanu Weber (KTM) are equally capable of winning races and all stand a good chance to win the Class 7 championship. Meanwhile, Class 7 is an intermediate class with the racecourses offering a mix of technical single tracks and Jeep tracks. Class 10 (Rookie Class) will be crowning a new champion after last year’s champion Keanu Weber and third placed finisher Jaco Husselman both moved up to Class 7. This leaves the quartet of Teddy Kausch (KTM), Francois Theron (KTM), Johan van der Merwe (KTM) or Hanre Myburgh (KTM) to pick up the spoils. Class 10 is an exhibition entry class designed to expose riders to Enduro. Racecourses consist largely of Jeep tracks and sandy riverbeds and due to the large numbers of entries Class 10 is the most popular. It is MX bike friendly and offers good competition to all entrants. Class 11 (Beginner Bikes) is for riders under the age of 14 and as a measure of safety precaution – all riders are to be accompanied by guardians during the races. Last year’s champion Dylan Hilfiker will look to defend his title but Levin Quinger and Andre Barnard will be hot on his heels. This year’s season kicks off on Saturday, with a Fun Enduro on Farm Otjihase. The race format will be a relay with teams being picked at random to ensure fair competition. The track will be exclusively Jeep tracks and all dirt bikes are welcome. Whether competitors have an adventure bike or a PW50, all are welcome. Food and drinks will be available at the race venue and the action kicks off from 07h00. For more info and entries please visit www.namibianenduro.com or visit the Namibian Enduro Club facebook page.
2018-02-12 11:04:16 7 months ago