GEARING UP FOR THE ‘MOTHER OF HARD ENDURO’
As the 2021 season slowly draws to a close, riders are gearing up for the Motul Roof of Africa, the pinnacle of the hard Enduro calendar.
After their recent performance in the National Extreme Enduro Championship, all eyes will be on Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Brett Swanepoel and Heinrich Aust. In an unforgettable season finale, the pair took top honours in the E2 and E1 Class respectively.
With a slender one point lead, Swanepoel entered into a winner-takes-all battle with Luke Walker. While he started off with a blistering pace, Swanepoel describes hitting a wall after a few climbs into the route. With his sights set on glory, the rider dug deep and finished third overall and second in his class – a result that secured victory in his class overall.
“I’ve done many races in my career, but I can undoubtedly say that this was the toughest day I’ve ever had on a bike before. By the last lap I was counting down the metres to the finish,” said Swanepoel.
After a recalculation of the championship points it was recently revealed that Swanepoel also claims the title of Overall National Enduro Champion. Combined with his Extreme Championship victory, the rider takes the highest honour in the National Enduro Super Series Challenge (NESS) this year – a combination of the Extreme and National Championship.
“The Extreme Enduro Championship holds a lot of value in this country, so to win it is something I take great pride in. I was gutted when I heard I didn’t win the National series, so to discover I won that too made it one of my sweetest wins yet!” said Swanepoel.
Adding to the team’s bragging rights is another Extreme Championship title from young gun Heinrich Aust. His class victory skyrocketed him to the top of the NESS leaderboard, where he finished right behind his teammate in second.
It’s been an incredible debut season for the rising star who was recruited by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna this year. With the “Mother of Hard Enduro” looming large in Lesotho later this month, the rider will certainly make the most of the opportunity to take the event by storm.
“The final Extreme event was my favourite – it was super technical. Husqvarna made sure I had the best weapon on the start line. My bike felt good and my body felt strong – it was just an awesome day of racing and it gave me a massive confidence boost as the Roof approaches,” said Aust.
Published by: Fred Fensham
Photography by: Sage Lee Voge (www.zcmc.co.za)