Castrol Winterberg Enduro – Castrol To Sponsor Winterberg Enduro For 33rd Year
Although the title “Winterberg Enduro” was only used from the first event in 1976 that took place in the Longmore Forest, the name was not entirely correct as the surrounding mountains formed part of the Winterhoek range while the Winterberg Mountains are some 200km inland near Tarkastad.
Local rider Mervyn Woods wrote his name in the history books by winning the first three of these pioneering races from 1976 to 1978. He claimed victory of the first two on a Honda MR250 and a Yamaha IT400 was his weapon of choice when he won again in 1978. In 1983 he won again this time riding a Yamaha IT465.
Castrol got officially involved in 1979 with sponsorship and support and as the spiritual founder of the race, Brausch Niemann appropriately ensured that his name was recorded for prosperity by claiming victory that year on a Kawasaki KX125. The next year (1980) Dave Ogden took the honours on the mighty Yamaha TT600.
In 1981 the multiple motocross and Roof of Africa winner, Rob Wicks won the event on a KTM390 and when mechanical problems on his Husqvarna forced him out of the 1982 race, Greg Thomas took the victory. The KwaZulu-Natal rider, Gary Lindsay, claimed a succession of victories between 1984 and 1986.
The event was then moved to a new venue at Kirkwood during which off-road motorcycle ace and multiple motorcycling champion, Alfie Cox, came to the fore winning the 1987 enduro and a record 10 subsequent races in the ensuing 12 years.
Cox's long-standing dominance was only briefly interrupted by Willie Ireland in 1988; Richard Manning who won in 1995 and Hilton Hayward who claimed victory in 1996. The late Elmer Symons won the race in 2001 and 2002.
This venue will again serve as the start and finish point and the central service point where spectators can also get up close and personal with competitors that will include the three times Roof of Africa winner, Chris Birch, who has moved temporarily from New Zealand to SA from where he not only competes in the national enduro championship and other enduro events, but also in international extreme races.
The huge success of this unparalleled race is, in no small part, attributable to the Rover Motorcycle Club and its eager organising committee that includes the likes of Ian Mirk, Mike Glover, Pete Fell, the late Graham Maltby, Wayne Petit, Ross Guscott, Geoff Bland, Ian Wright and Chris and Joan Shinn.