Quintin van Jaarsveld
The South Coast Bike Fest, sponsored by Ugu South Coast Tourism and Tourism KZN, finished in thrilling fashion when local favourite Blake Gutzeit won the South Coast EnduroX in Margate on Monday.
Gutzeit showed the skills that made him South Africa’s first-ever superenduro world champion by masterfully negotiating the obstacle-laden course to clinch the Pro Class and R10 000 purse.
The second round of the Southern Africa EnduroX Series, hosted by Powasol Xtreme Events, produced non-stop action in six classes, namely Pro, Expert, Hobby, 85cc Pro Mini, 65cc Junior Mini and Micro Minis for four to six year olds.
The event consisted of two non-timed practice sessions and one timed practice session, with the seven fastest riders overall qualifying for the Superpole. The top three were rewarded with bonus points and an automatic gate pick for Final 1.
The total points accumulated in the three finals as well as the Superpole determined the winner.
With last year’s inaugural winner, Paddock superstar and Sherco Factory rider Wade Young racing abroad, a new winner was guaranteed.
Oslo Beach ace Gutzeit was made to work hard but his world-class technical skills and SuperEnduro World Championship experience saw him win all three finals en route to taking the Pro title.
His Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha Racing teammate and fellow South Coast star Kyle Flanagan finished second in all three finals to earn the R5000 runner-up cheque, with William Esterhuizen landing the final step on the podium and R2000 with a 5-4-5 showing.
Lloyd Kirk finished fourth, one point behind Esterhuizen, followed by Kyle Purchase, Matt Barnes and Justin Flemmer.
An elated Gutzeit told eHowzit, “Racing at home, especially endurocross which I have such a passion for, is incredible. It’s a great day for me and to take the win feels really good.
“The guys rode well. Kyle rode great all day and I just managed to get good starts, get out in front and control the race.”
Gutzeit, bolstered by new apparel sponsor Grenzgaenger, had more reason to celebrate after blitzing the field in the Dash for Cash as well, banking himself an extra R5500.
“The Dash for Cash was crazy. Having to start a lap down from the other guys, we [the pro riders]had the three laps to catch up and I never felt I had it.
“I was still in second on the last lap but managed to nail it through the log right-hander with my best line of the day, scrubbed the next double and came away with the win. That was just a cherry on top of a great day.
“Well done to everyone who participated. It’s awesome to see the juniors ride endurocross. I’d also just like to wish a speedy recovery to my friend Kayde Mante who broke his wrist when he landed wrong on a jump.”
Warick Neave won the Expert Class, where Brad Dreyer finished second and South Coaster Piwe Zulu (Herbalife Nutrition bLU cRU Yamaha Racing) placed third.
“I was battling with the top fastest riders and was crashing on every heat but I managed to pull out the third podium position,” said Zulu.
“I’d like to thank Herbalife bLU cRU Yamaha, Herbalife South Africa and Sport and Recreation and a big thank you Powasol Xtreme Events and the crew for doing a great job and building the awesome track to race in front of our local supporters,” he added.
Cayden Purchase prevailed in the most popular class of the event, the Hobby Class, where Umzumbe rider Josh Henderson and Cameron West placed second and third respectively.
Dylan Jones, Luke Walker and Umzumbe’s Guy Henderson made up the 85cc Pro Mini Class podium, Levi Bekker won the 65cc Junior Mini Class and Cody Greger won the Micro Minis Class.
Powasol Managing Director, Commentator and Event Director, Klint Mills, said, “To every rider who lined up, we really appreciate your support. Especially those guys who drove back from the National Enduro in PE, who prepped their bikes in the early hours of the morning and came and raced in their full capacity and put on a fantastic show. We salute them and really respect them.
“To the riders who didn’t participate, they really missed out and hopefully we’ll catch them at the third and fourth round at the Royal Show on the second and third of June.”
Photos by Justin Klusener Photography