Gutzeit good for to raze the Roof

2011-11-23 00:00

TITLE holder of the 2003 Roof of Africa Jade Gutzeit has overcome an injury scare and will lead the South African charge at one of the world’s most gruelling endurance ride.

Uncertainty surrounded the Fever X Proudly Bidvest Yamaha star’s participation in the 44th edition of the Lesotho enduro after a knock to the head during a recent race had left him with sustained vertigo problems and peculiar spells of nausea.

As the perennial best-placed South African rider and runner-up to New Zealand ace Chris Birch (Comsol Alfie Cox Racing KTM) last year, Gutzeit’s potential withdrawal was met with concern by the South African motocross fraternity.

The tough-as-nails Port Shepstone product, however, believes the severity of his injury was blown out of proportion. “It was over-exaggerated a bit. It’s not as bad as it has been made out to be,” Gutzeit told The Witness.

“I bumped my head a couple of weeks ago and upset my inner ear and have been having problems with my balance. The last week or so I’ve been off balance and dizzy and have been fighting it off with medication,” explained the 2003 Roof of Africa winner.

With concussion ruled out, Gutzeit consulted with a specialist on Monday who determined that he had damaged crystals in his inner ear, but cleared the reigning South African off-road champion to compete.

“I had it checked out and basically it’s just a matter of realigning and getting my body sorted out. It’s not dangerous to race so it’s all sorted out … I’m good to go and ready to race,” he said.

A star-studded field of leading international riders such as German Andreas Lettenbichler (Montage Print PTY Ltd) and the United Kingdom contingent of Graham Jarvis (Flite Extreme Husaberg), Paul Bolton (Brother Broadlink KTM) and brothers Dan and Ben Hemingway (Fever X/cc Gallery KTM) will tackle the traditional Round the Houses and a short technical time-trial tomorrow with the race set to get under way on Friday.

Scott Bouverie of Harding who, at 17 years of age, was the youngest rider to complete the 2010 Roof of Africa, will miss this year’s race due to matric exams. This year Jade’s 16-year-old brother, Blake Gutzeit (Fever X Criterion Yamaha), in turn, will be one of the youngest riders when he gets his first taste of the Roof of Africa.

Newly-crowned South African OR3 (200cc) off-road and E2 (200cc) enduro champion, 22-year-old Marc Torlage (Mr Price Yamaha) from St Michael’s will also be riding.

Other local riders who will look to conquer the “mother of hard enduro” include Bruce Gargan (Fever X Criterion Yamaha), Stuart Gregory (Fever X Criterion Yamaha), Jody Engelbrecht (Fever X Criterion Yamaha) and Adrian Werner (Fever X/cc Gallery).

• witness@feveronline.co.za

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