WINDHOEK, Feb. 13 – With the bikes and bodies given a good rest during the festive season, it’s time to dust of the machines and get the body back in the gym as the 2018 Enduro season is almost upon us.
The 2018 season promises to be a cracker as Open Class reigning Champ Henner Rusch (KTM) is set to do battle with last year’s Runner-up Marcel Henle (KTM) once again.
The duo traded victories in the first 4 rounds with both riders winning 2 races a-piece. Sadly the thrilling fight was cut short with Henle picking up an injury while competing in South Africa, as a result missing 2 races and handing the Championship to Rusch.
The race for the final podium spot will be equally tight with last years 3rd 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 riders and machines to their limit.
The Senior Bikes (for riders over 38 years old) will again see a strong field competing in 2018. 2017 Champ Joern Greiter (KTM) will look for a repeat of last years Championship winning performance but will have his hands full with Werner Wiese (KTM), David Brown (KTM) and Stephan du Plessis (KTM) pushing him all the way. Rumour also has it that multiple Enduro and Motocross Champ Ingo Waldschmidt is possibly making a return to racing in the Senior Class. Senior Bikes must complete the same routes as the Open Class, but one lap less.
Class 7 (Support Bikes) could see the crowing of a new Champ in 2018. With 2 time and reigning Champion 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 his mark. Wayne Schablinski (KTM), Lenny Bagwitz (KTM), Jaco Husselman (Husaberg) and Keanu Weber (KTM) are all capable of winning races and all stand a good chance to win the Class 7 Championship. Class 7 is an intermediate class with the race courses offering a mix of technical single tracks and jeep tracks.
Class 10 (Rookie Class) will be crowing a new Champion in 2018. Last years Champ Keanu Weber and third place Jaco Husselman have moved up to Class 7. This leaves Teddy Kausch (KTM), Francois Theron (KTM), Johan van der Merwe (KTM) or Hanre Myburgh (KTM) to pick up the spoils. Class 10 is an entry level class designed to expose riders to Enduro. The race courses consist largely of jeep tracks and sandy riverbeds and due to the large numbers of entries Class 10 is the most popular class. 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 for safety reasons competitors are accompanied by a guardian while racing. Last years Champion Dylan Hilfiker will look to defend his title but Levin Quinger and Andre Barnard will be hot on his heels.
The 2018 season kicks off on 17 February 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 07:00. – NDN Staffer