by Gary Franks

 

My intention in writing this article is to provoke thought and discussion in a positive way, I trust it will be viewed as such.

 

Motorsport South Africa has acknowledged that 2016 has “been rather a tumultuous one for the National Motorcycle Enduro Championship and the sport’s best interests have not always been served”. Following several years of the series actually running well, it has been disappointing to say the least that the series has had the setbacks experienced this year.

Following a meeting between the team heads, importers and MSA, a “National Enduro Championship Steering Committee” has been created to address the issues and restore stability to the championship. This is a good move. I think this is also a very opportune time for the committee to look beyond just the current issues and restoring the series back to where it was.

 

I have always felt that the national enduro championship should be the country’s premier off road racing series because it supposedly follows an international world championship format and so should see our riders developing towards being competitive in the world enduro championship. However that really has not happened in my opinion and now I’m not so sure that the SA national enduro series should continue along the same path it has followed in the past. Perhaps it should evolve … into what exactly is the important question?

 

Consider –

There is no question that the standard of riding at top enduro levels has never been higher in SA. We have also produced numerous riders who are world class … but in Extreme Enduro, which is very exciting especially since there may soon be a world championship for extreme enduro.

But …

  • Are we any closer to having riders who would be competitive in the world enduro championship (WEC)?
  • Is that important to South African Enduro/ the riders/ the teams?
  • Do we want to have riders who could be competitive in the WEC in say 5 years time?
  • Do the riders want to go the WEC route or has there been a general shift in their focus to Extreme Enduro/ Endurocross?
  • If WEC is important, what are we going to change?
  • Since we seem to be better at producing great extreme enduro riders, should we consider changing the format of the national enduro series?
  • The national enduro series and the WEC have lost popularity and seems to appeal mainly to the sponsored riders and teams. The format is also extremely difficult and expensive to run properly from an organiser’s point of view. What changes could be made to the format to make the series more appealing to more riders and at the same time reduce the complexity and costs?
  • WEC events and big extreme events are multi-day/ double headers – should our national enduro series be run as double headers over 4 weekends (8 rounds) which would reduce costs whilst adding an additional 2 rounds to the series?

 

I don’t have all the answers but in my opinion these questions should be carefully considered by the committee AND by the riders who need to consider their careers.