The National Enduro Championship came to an unforgettable close for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna this weekend. The double-header event saw teammates Brett Swanepoel and Heinrich Aust take a clean sweep, winning the race in both the National Extreme and Enduro Championship.
The weekend was kickstarted with the Extreme event on Friday, where both Swanepoel and Aust lined up tied for points in the E2 and E1 Class respectively. With their renowned technical skills and unparalleled sense of grit, the riders were untouchable on the unforgiving KwaZulu-Natal terrain. The pair have now edged their way closer to being crowned the 2021 Extreme Champions with only one round of the series remaining.
While the Extreme race may have taken a toll on Swanepoel physically, he lined up for Saturday’s event with his confidence soaring. He explained: “It was never going to be easy racing two events back-to-back, but the way we dominated on Friday gave us a massive confidence boost. Heinrich and I were both so determined to keep that winning momentum going.”
Swanepoel set off with a blistering pace on Saturday and wasted no time in making his attack. He took the lead in the beginning stages of the race and established an impressive 15-minute lead by the end of the day.
Having pulled out of the first round due to an illness, he was no longer in contention for the championship title overall. He was pleased, however, to finish second in the E2 Class: “Like they say, how you finish something is as important as how you start. I had a bit of bad luck this season, but I’m hoping to grab that championship next year,” he said.
As he turns his focus to the Extreme season finale and the Roof of Africa later this season, he commented: “Winning the Extreme race this weekend is a big confidence booster for me. A lot of my competitors see me as a ‘faster rider’ but I proved that I’m equally as competitive in the technical stuff. I’m really excited to see what I can do at the Extreme season finale and then also at Roof later this year!”
It was a nail-biting end to the National Enduro season for teammate Aust this weekend, who entered the event less than 10 points behind championship rival Bradley Cox. While Aust took the event win, it was Cox who got the upper hand with more points overall this season.
With the national title only narrowly evading his grasp, Aust will undoubtedly return more determined than ever next year. The rider has had an exceptional debut season racing for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team and has given but a glimpse of what he is truly capable of.
He will now focus on refining his technical skills for the final round of the Extreme Championship. Like Swanepoel, Aust has also signed up for the Roof of Africa this year. His last time competing at the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’ was in 2019, and with a wealth of experience since then, he will certainly be a force to be reckoned with.
“It’s been such a privilege to work with a team that supports me in the way that Rockstar Energy Husqvarna has. I look forward to the future with them and what we can still achieve together this season,” said Aust.