Blake Gutzeit (Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha Racing) continued his rich vein of form when he won the IMPI Hard Enduro on Saturday.
The race doubled as the third round of the National Enduro Championship and the next stop of the regional championship and presented some of the toughest trails that the Tugela Ferry wilderness has to offer.
Race organisers delivered on their promise to make the already rugged event that much rougher. With the vast majority of the route consisting of virgin trails, competitors blazed through sections of Zululand that had never seen motorcycles before.
In what was a particularly gruelling race, riders faced a Time Trial on Thursday followed by two tough race days.
It proved to be a special race for Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha Racing as teammates and South Coast stars Gutzeit and Kyle Flanagan completed a one-two, with Will Slater joining them on the overall podium.
In a great show of sportsmanship, Gutzeit risked losing the lead when he stopped to help fellow South Coaster and RBS bLU cRU Yamaha Racing teammate Kayde Mante get his bike out of the water (watch below).
“I’m really happy to come out first after three tough days of racing. I got to give it up to Yamaha for preparing a perfect bike for the weekend,” said Gutzeit, South Africa’s first-ever superenduro world champion.
E1 winner Flanagan from Paddock (in action below) said, “We gave her all we got and I’m happy with the outcome. Thanks to the team; they didn’t put a spanner wrong all weekend.”
South Coast stalwart Ryan Pretorius’ hard work paid off as he scored class wins after just over 17 hours of racing.
Mante, back in the saddle after an injury lay-off, placed fourth in the Silver Class and got two second places in the High School Class.
“It was a tough event on the body. I gained a lot of experience in multi-day events and will tweak my training program to match, as my long-term goal is Roof at the end of year,” said the Shelly Beach teen.
“A major thanks goes out to Pauly and Steve for looking after me and doing all the maintenance of my bike for all three days of racing, my Fox kit for keeping me vented up those gnarly hills, Base Fit for helping me with fitness for the race, RBS Yamaha for all the support, Carbon Teck for keeping my bike protected in the rough conditions, Yamaha lube for making my bike run sweet, Blake for helping me push my bike out of the water and huge thanks to my mom and dad for the continuous support.”
Margate’s Piwe Zulu (Herbalife Nutrition bLU cRU Yamaha Racing), meanwhile, placed fifth in the National Silver Class.
“It was a test of endurance and stamina and a lot of navigation up in the mountains,” he said.
“It was long and tough for me but I’m happy with fifth position. I would like to thank my sponsors and my family and friends for the support.”
Watch Matt ‘Hollywood’ Smith’s race review below.