If you’re an avid Hard Enduro fan and you didn’t know the names James Moore or Thomas Scales before Roof 2023, you more than likely do now. This year’s Roof proved to be the ultimate endurance test, characterised by scorching temperatures across all 3 days and an exceptionally long race route that set the stage for one of the most challenging editions in recent history.
In the Gold class, the gruelling conditions led to a mere 12 finishers out of 38 starters, with numerous top riders forced to bow out due to the extreme conditions. However, stealing the spotlight in Gold were two young emerging stars in Hard Enduro, James Moore and Thomas Scales, both only 17 years old and both members of the RIDE KTM Durban team. Moore and Scales are based in Hilton, KZN where they live, train and practice together and it’s also where they study at Grace College, on the outskirts of the small town.
With Scales making his Gold Roof debut and Moore attempting his second Gold Roof at this year’s race, all eyes were on the duo to see how they would stack up against some of the best and toughest Hard Enduro riders in the world, and they did not disappoint. Both riders ended up within the top 10, with Scales securing 9th and Moore landing an impressive 4th place finish. Former World Super Enduro Champion Cody Webb summed it up perfectly after duelling with Scales for most of Day 1, “The next level of young SA Enduro talent is incredible, I spent the whole day trying to shake them!” Webb finished 6th overall
Moore’s top 5 finish was further elevated by clinching the fastest race time on Day 2, he was quicker than all three eventual podium finishers, including the reigning eight-time Roof of Africa champion, Wade Young.
This success story isn’t a coincidence; it stems from the legacy of RIDE KTM Durban, a KTM dealership in Kwa-Zulu Natal that’s renowned for fostering and nurturing talent like Dylan Jones, Will Slater, Gareth Cole and Alastair Fayrod, all of whom have won National titles in their careers. The team’s ethos extends beyond victory; it revolves around the development and support of young riders, while fostering an inclusive and enjoyable racing environment for enthusiasts across all ages and racing disciplines. A good example of this is Dakar legend, Stuart Gregory, who has called the team his home for many years and who will be returning to Saudi Arabia in 2024 for his 5th Dakar Rally.
The RIDE KTM Durban team also has no less than 4 staff members who compete in Local, Regional and National events and who help the team at the races where their commitment to supporting customers shines through. With a strong family focus, the team encourages the whole family to experience the thrill of racing while fostering a sense of camaraderie and fun.
RIDE KTM has two owners who have racing in their blood, Wayne O’Niel who is a veteran in the industry who has attended 30 Roof of Africa events over the years supporting some of the country’s top Enduro stars and Steve Eayrs, an entrepreneur who lives in Ballito and who has been riding off-road motorcycles for over 30 years. According to Eayrs “This kind of success doesn’t come easy and is influenced by several elements. If I add up the racing years that the staff and management team that RIDE KTM have under their belts, and I mean holding onto handlebars, not racing on the couch, we have more than a hundred years of racing between us.” This deep-rooted knowledge plays a crucial role in the team’s continued success, proving that a passion for racing and a wealth of experience are the foundations for producing champions.
With the recent announcement that James Moore will be joining the official GasGas team for the 2024 season, everyone at RIDE KTM Durban would like to wish him the very best for his future endeavours. Eayrs extends his congratulations, “It’s been an honour to have you on our team James! We wish you every success and remember, keep doing what you do and don’t forget to keep it real!”
To find out more about Ride KTM Durban and the support they offer the riding community in KZN, find them on: RIDE KTM Durban