More Than 200 Riders Expected To Contest Castrol Winterberg Enduro in Eastern Cape A field of more than 200 motorcyclists is expected to contest the 29th running of the popular Castrol Winterberg Enduro in the Eastern Cape on March 5-6....
More Than 200 Riders Expected To Contest Castrol Winterberg Enduro in Eastern Cape
A field of more than 200 motorcyclists is expected to contest the 29th running of the popular Castrol Winterberg Enduro in the Eastern Cape on March 5-6. Organised by the Rover Motorcycle Club, of Port Elizabeth, this event is the second round of the South African Enduro Championship and the first round of the Eastern Cape and Border regional championship.
Heading up a top class entry will be reigning national enduro champion, Jade Gutzeit, winner of last year's Castrol Winterberg as well as the first round of this year's enduro championship. He can expect plenty of tough competition though, with Andrew Ogden particularly keen to win on home ground after suffering a cruel setback last year, when he led the national motorcycle off-road championship until he broke a wrist.
Former multiple off-road and enduro champion, Daryl Curtis, is another rider who will be fired up with determination as victory on the Castrol Winterberg has so far eluded him in a long and illustrious career. Curtis's long-time rival, Riaan van Niekerk, is another rider wanting to put his name on the winner's trophy.
Alfie Cox, South Africa's best known off-road and enduro rider, will not be competing this year, due to business commitments. He won his first Winterberg in 1987 and has notched up 11 wins in the prestigious event.
Hankey, a small town situated inland of Port Elizabeth and south-west of the Addo national Park, will once again play host to the Castrol Winterberg Enduro. Championship competitors will cover a route of 250 km, made up of two loops, where the riders have to tackle some very technical obstacles, as well as a number of timed speed sections. There will be a shorter route for novices, veterans and riders with motorcycles manufactured before 1994.
The route covers a wide variety of terrain, from mountains with breathtaking views to green valleys and winding streams. Surfaces change from sparsely vegetated hillsides to forest roads, rocky sections and sweeping areas of flatland scrub and bushes.
The event will start from the PPC Hall, just outside Hankey, at 08:00 on Saturday, March 6. This venue will also serve as the finish for the event, with the first riders expected from about 13:30.
Younger riders are also catered for with the Junior Castrol Winterberg for MiniKids (50cc motorcycles), SuperKids (PW80/Jnr. 80) and ProKids, with an age limit of 16.
Documentation and scrutineering will take place on Friday, March 5, but late arrivals will be able to complete these formalities from 04:00 on race day.
The Castrol Winterberg Enduro is one of the longest running motorcycle events in South Africa, with long-running support from Castrol, a leader in lubrication technology and wide-ranging sponsor of motor sport, both locally and internationally.
The Castrol Winterberg Enduro is steeped in a rich history. The seeds for this popular event were sown in 1970 when Brausch Niemann, a prominent racing driver and Kawasaki dealer in the Eastern Cape, went trail- riding with a number of friends in the Winterhoek Mountains, behind Uitenhage. Initially they used handfuls of bread flour to mark the route - hoping it would not rain - and often the event finished in the dark.
A local rider, Mervyn Woods, won the first three events, in 1976, 1977 and 1978 on a Honda MR250 and a succession of Yamahas. Brausch Niemann and Dave Ogden (Andrew's father) won the event in 1979 and 1980 respectively. The local motorcycle industry boomed in the 1980's and the Winterberg Enduro attracted an entry of more than 100 riders for the first time in 1981, when multiple motocross and Roof of Africa winner, Rob Wicks, took the honours on a KTM390. Other winners in the 1980's included Greg Thomas (1982), Gary Lindsay (1984 and 1986), Willie Ireland (1988) and Dakar hero Alfie Cox, who started his run of successes in 1987.
The Castrol Winterberg Enduro is seen as a tough, technical challenge of skill for motorcyclists and not a machine- or body-breaker.