Not many people know a lot about the world’s toughest motorsport on two wheels, namely Hard Enduro Racing.
The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship was in fact only introduced in 2021. It is one of the toughest endurance sports in the world, pitting man and machine against some of the world’s toughest terrain in a range of different events, from multi-day rallies to intense sprint races. The interesting thing about this extreme sport is that it is also not only for elite riders as one may think. Anyone with an off road bike can try out, but only the toughest end up qualifying.
Competitors in the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship need to be masters of many trades. A typical Hard Enduro course will require the skills normally associated with trials, motocross and classic enduro.
Globally huge talents like Billy Bolt, Manuel “Mani” Lettenbichler, Graham Jarvis and Travis Teasdale dominate the sport, but two young riders, David Cyprian and South African Matthew Green, are also starting to prove their mettle.
In the 2022 season, Matthew Green (Matty) was the winner of the Junior Cup that formed part of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship and managed a narrow victory in the 2022 Sea to Sky Hard Enduro in Turkey ahead of Graham Jarvis and David Cyprian.
With Matthew Green being joined by Travis Teasdale, Brett Swanepoel, Wade Young and Kirsten Landman, South Africans are proving to be world class Hard Enduro athletes and are making their country extremely proud in the process.
Motor Sport South Africa (MSA) caught up with Matthew (21) to get his perspective on a great year.
You won your first international championship this year – how does that feel?
Matty: I’ve heard from a couple of people that the feeling of winning your first world championship is the best. I hope to find out if this is true one day but for sure this year felt amazing! All the support from everyone back home and around the world was very overwhelming. It really made it all a whole lot better!
Who are your heroes in this sport?
My first hero in this sport was Chris Birch as he actually introduced racing to my mates and I through the Comsol racing team. I feel that, looking back on it, Chris was one of the pioneers of hard enduro as we know it today. I was really fortunate to have so much close contact and spend a lot of time with him. It was right at the start of my racing so I was really lucky. Such good times!
What is your goal for 2023?
I’ll be running the same programme as this year in 2023. Hard Enduro World championship and Italian Extreme championship. On paper I’d like to win the juniors, rank top 5 overall and win the Italian championship. But I feel it’s much more important to keep progressing in the sport; to keep on making good connections and have another year filled with good times. If I can do this, I’ll be more than happy and naturally better results will come. I’ve got a long way to go to get to the front so let’s keep at it!
What has been your toughest race so far?
Tough question. All the races were so different this year and none particularly stand out. It’s between Erzberg and Romaniacs. Erzberg starts first because we walk the track every day. This makes the race tougher overall because it’s a constant hustle trying to dodge security, break into the mine and understand where the track is going. Romaniacs on the other hand is just 5 days of the hardest riding you’ll ever do so that speaks for itself.
What do you need to succeed in this sport?
I think the most important thing you need to succeed is an amazing support team behind you all the time. The majority of the time this comes from your parents. I owe everything to my parents. They really have supported me as much as they could and continue to do so even though it’s in a different way now. We spent many years racing as a family and there is a lot of sacrifice that goes into that. The second most important thing I’d say is keeping having fun in the sport. Don’t take it so seriously to the point that it’s not fun anymore. I’m very lucky my parents have always agreed with this and never pushed me too much so that it’s not fun. I mean you start riding bikes to have fun, so what a waste if that part disappears.
Adrian Scholtz, Chief Executive Officer of Motorsport South Africa (MSA) concludes, “We applaud Matty on his outstanding achievement this year. It really has been a great year for hard enduro with Mattie scooping the Junior Cup and Wade Young, one of Matty’s senior heroes, being crowned the king of this year’s Roof of Africa, his seventh Roof Victory and his fifth consecutive win. We have such exciting talent in South Africa and their success on the global stage bodes well for a very exciting 2023.”
PREPARED ON BEHALF OF MSA BY CATHY FINDLEY PR.
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