Meet Barend Erasmus
“I ride extreme Enduro – It is my passion and I love riding my bike.”
Since the age of four I have been on two wheels and I never missed an opportunity to get on my bike and just go for a ride. Naturally, it started to get more serious as my riding progressed and I started winning small local races. At the age of 16, I took part in the famous Roof of Africa (2009); it was hell but it opened my eyes to what extreme Enduro and riding bike at a high level meant. At the end of 2013 and after frequent training as my main focus, I was ready for the 2014 season and felt fit and focused for a good year to come.
As I went back to Roof of Africa in 2014, with a raw ending after this grueling event, I finished 15th in the main class. In 2015 my riding kept going strong; with a “never give up” mindset, I ended up on the podium for most of my local Enduro races, as well as for some away EWXC race in Gauteng. I finished 1st in the 2015 Lowveld Enduro open class and received a solid second place, overall, for the year.
In 2016, a couple of Lowveld Enduro races were won, and I never missed out on ending up on the podium. I also went to the hardest extreme Enduro races of them all – the Redbull Romaniacs. There is no easy moment in that event – it truly lives up to its name as the hardest and toughest event there is.
With a first time competing in this event I finished in the 16th place together with the pro (gold) class; definitely the highest accomplishment of my career thus far.
I also finished up in the winning position with another open class Lowveld Enduro race this year, as well as being awarded second place in the EWXC Enduro world series.
2017 began with a new team, new bike and new goals. The first race for the year was local and I finished 2nd in the pro-elite division. From there I went to two EXXC races. I had a bad race in Heidelberg and ended up 4th in the pro-elite. The next race – while I was being held at serendipity – I knew I had to make up for poor results… This was a good day as I finished 2nd in the pro-elite once again, right after the Factory KTM rider.
Pilgrims Gold Rush extreme Enduro came up next with three loops for the day and I finished this event in 1st place.
I then decided to do a National Enduro; not too much fun as it is very fast racing but I ended up 8th in my class and 13th overall. Then we headed back to a local race at KMIA – definitely my favourite track close to White River – I walked away with a win.
I trained hard for the 2017 Romaniacs that took place in July and improved on last year’s results.
Thanks to KTM’s sponsorship, I had the support that any great rider could ever dream of and the potential to follow my dreams.
Roof of Africa 2017
Well, I only have one word for the 50th edition of Roof of Africa – Disappointing!
There is no real understanding of how it will be beforehand. One year is super hard and it lives up to its name, the mother of difficult Enduro, and then the next year it’s like an off-road leisure track.
Roof of Africa 2017 was a proper off-road race; on Friday there were two technical passes and that was proper good fun but after one hour of nice hard riding the rest was fast and off-road based.
Saturday was even worse. The whole day was basically an off-road race. We had one truly hard pass, but it only lasted about 15min, followed by a ride to the finish and we were done before 1 pm. It was still a great experience racing in snow and cold conditions, but the overall experience was not the best. I completed the race in 25th place overall. It was most definitely not what I wanted but we’re working hard towards dominating the next one.
ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship
2018 came with new opportunities, and thanks to the wonderful and generous people of Ambassador Foods, I was fortunate enough to go over to the UK and try out a different scene of racing. After missing round one and being in the hospital for round two, I head to the UK to do the remaining of the six-round series. The racing there is so very different to what I’m used to back here in SA.
The first round of racing took place in about 4°Celcius; never have I thought that my hands will freeze off until that day! It was wet, muddy, slippery, and just a killer with the cold weather – combined with our high speeds, it was truly an amazing learning experience. Round three began a bit faster and I only managed to reach 10th class, however, round four and five, being a bit harder and still fast, I ended at 8th and 7th respectively. The last round was hosted on 11 August and I enjoyed the opportunity to improve on my results. Racing in the UK most definitely helps me to develop invaluable skills and my riding can only improve from here on.
Lowveld Enduro Series
Our local series is always one of my most favourite challenges. For the past few years, it has been a nice battle between myself and Dwayne. 2018 did not start too well for me; I had a big crash in training which meant I had to miss round one of the five-event series and a lot of championship points were lost. Coming into round two I knew I would need to push hard, fortunately, there was a lot of non-finishers on the day and by pulling off a win I got to buy 25 points.
Round three was held in Hazyview; I was not the fastest rider of the day, but consistent riding helped me out and I got another 25 points. Going into round four I was in 3rd place in this championship -only 4 points away from being the leader. Championship hopes is most definitely still alive and just a good smooth race ahead to catch up with some more points in the overall results.
– Written by Barend Erasmus
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