ALTUS DE WET READY TO TAKE ON AUSTRIA’S ‘IRON GIANT’ FOR THE FOURTH TIME
The multiple South African National Off-Road and Enduro Champion, Altus de Wet, is ready to tackle ‘The Iron Giant’, the well-known ErzbergRodeo in Austria, for the fourth time in his racing career that spans over almost 13 years.
The 32-year old motorcycle rider from Montagu in the Western Cape is already in Austria where he has completed the Verd (Vertical Extreme Ride) in Slovenia successfully by finishing ninth overall. He will be participating in the ErzbergRodeo’s Iron Road Prologue (16 and 17 June) as well as the Hare Scramble (the main event on 18 June) with a Beta motorcycle.
De Wet remembers the last time he competed in the Erzbergrodeo in 2015 quite well as his competition motorcycle was stolen at the event a day before the race and he had to borrow a bike.
This is one of the world’s toughest extreme enduro races. About 1 500 riders from all over the world enter it with only 500 making it to the main Harescramble event and only a handful reaching the finish line after the allowed four hours of racing. De Wet’s best result was in 2014 when he finished 22nd overall.
The former South African National Champion, who received his Protea Colours as well as KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape Colours for racing, did not compete internationally during 2016 due to his racing and training commitments in South Africa as well as the lack of funding.
After a successful season in the colours of Team BCR Arrow Yamaha where he finished on the podium in both the class championships of the SA National Cross Country Championship (third in the OR1 Open Class) and the SA National Enduro Motorcycle Championship (second in the E2 Open Class Championship), De Wet has decided to tackle the Erzbergrodeo again.
With the support of loyal sponsors and friends, in South Africa as well as in Austria, De Wet hopes for a front row start after the prologue where riders get two chances to post their fastest time and to receive the chequered flag after four hours of the toughest racing imaginable.
On Sunday (18 June), the Erzberg Harescramble will traditionally start with a series of extremely steep climbs on loose gravel just to get out of the iron mine. Then competitors have four hours to pass the 20 checkpoints on the 23 kilometre track.
According to the event’s official website (www.erzbergrodeo.at), it will become quite clear to all right after the start that there will be only one way to the finish line and that is straight up the mountain. They explain that while the top riders are taking on endless uphills, formidable downhills, narrow forest trails and unforgiving rock passages, the vast majority of riders will spend most of their four hours at one of the first uphill sections.
“Only the best of the best are able to reach the legendary Red Bull Arch inside the Erzberg arena, making them the elite enduro riders in the whole world,” they state.
And that is at this arch where De Wet aims to be on Sunday by 16:00.
When he gets back to South Africa, De Wet will continue with the remainder of the Liquorland National Enduro Motorcycle Championship where he is aiming for the E1 Championship. He is currently leading this championship after finishing the first three rounds on the podium.
The fourth of six rounds of this series takes place on July 8th when he will travel from Montagu to the Eastern Cape to participate in the Winterberg Enduro in the Port Elizabeth area together with his team, Team BCR Arrow Yamaha Racing.
Altus de Wet is sponsored and supported by:
Team BCR Arrow Yamaha│Leatt│RIC Australia│Manorda│Moto X Clean SA│Motul│Psp│
Portable Shade│Mercedes-Benz│Herman Truck Repair│ByKleyn Graphics│Helderberg Yamaha Metzeler│Progrip│Hayward Suspension
Photo by Kevin Scott