David Knight MBE is back where he belongs - on two wheels and on the podium. After parting with Sherco earlier in 2014 David made best use of his time off by spending it with his family. His baby girl, Blae, was born in October so it's safe to say Knighter had his hands full. A few days later David was in Weston-Super-Mare to ride the Weston Beach Race. Unfortunately, despite his pace being good, a faulty fuel pump let him down. Knighter's best efforts couldn't save him this time and he was forced to retire from the event, vowing to return in 2015 to win once again. Signing for KTM UK and managing to find some personal sponsors meant that Knighter was back in business. His first race back on Orange was to be the first round of the FIM Superenduro World Championship.
Ergo Arena, Gdansk, Poland:
Managing to secure last-minute funding meant that Knighter would make the first round of the Superenduro World Championship. Travelling with Paul Edmondson and his son Jack, David made the journey over to Poland perhaps not as prepared as he would have liked. A lack of training combined with being unfamiliar with his new KTM 350 XC-F meant that David's hopes for the event were at best a podium but realistically he saw it as a training exercise and a way to get back into the pace of racing at the highest level. Beating Taddy Blazusiak in front of his home fans and the other indoor specialists would be harder than ever.
Timed practice went well, with David using the sessions to set up his bike, building up to the Superpole, where he put in a great lap securing 3rd behind arch-rivals Taddy and Jonny Walker.
The three prestige races were 6 minutes each around the very tight Gdansk course. In the first race Knighter started well, managing to not get tangled in the coming together that downed both Blazusiak and Walker. Alfredo Gomez took the lead followed by Knighter and American champion, Cody Webb. Cody passed Knighter to take the lead after Gomez crashed, but then himself crashed out. Taddy came from the back of the pack to win, with Knighter claiming an excellent second place.
In race 2 the starting order was reversed. Knighter again rode sensibly to 2nd place with Blazusiak taking the win. In the third and final race, Taddy took the holeshot and went on to win. David rode very sensibly deciding not to challenge Jonny Walker who came through to pass him. Walker didn't have the best of evenings and David knew that a 3rd place was good enough for second overall in the evenings results.
David Knight: "I am absolutely made up. For me it has been a massive achievement just to get here. I almost didn't make it. It has been a tough season. These boys are race fit. They have been racing all season. You can practice a lot but there is nothing like racing so to get here and get 2nd - you don't know how happy I am!"
Overall Prestige class:
1st Taddy Blazusiak - 62 points
2nd DAVID KNIGHT - 50 points
3rd Cody Webb - 37 points
Walters Arena, South Wales, UK
Walters Arena is home to the famous Dawn to Dusk enduro, but on a cold day in December the Welsh Valley was alive with the sound of, mostly extreme-spec, 2-stroke, enduro bikes!
The inaugural Heads of the Valleys Extreme, run by Fast Eddy was a huge success. This was a true enduro, an enduro 'like they used to have'. A tough 3 lap race around an 18 mile loop that threw everything at the brave competitors. Steep rocky hill climbs, fast fire roads, tricky forest singletrack... it was all there. Combined with the cold, wet weather, Heads of the Valleys was tough, really tough!
Knighter and extreme specialist, Graham Jarvis were the obvious favourites. The two legends of the sport set off together and pushed each other hard for the first few miles. As the lap went on, David rode a smooth but fast pace. With no major problems, the lead at the end of lap one was over 4 minutes. The 2 subsequent laps went perfectly for Knighter, picking his way through the back markers he extended his lead, finishing nearly 9 minutes ahead of 2nd placed Jarvis, with 3rd place going to David Kip-Herring, a further 10 minutes behind.
David Knight: "I realised again today why I actually ride and race motorbikes. It was a huge reminder to me that the sport I fell in love with still does exist now and then and that the true Heroes of Enduro still do exist; the weekend riders, the ones that fight to get their and grit their teeth and make it to the finish at all costs. It was great to see and it was an awesome event. Well done to everyone who finished. I'd like to thank the organisers, my sponsors but most of all the fans who stood out and froze all weekend. Without them, there would be no racing."
1st David Knight
2nd Graham Jarvis +8 mins 53 seconds
3rd David Kip-Herring +19 mins 32 seconds
David’s next event is the second round of the FIM Superenduro World Championship from Germany.
Photos: Garry Barnes