Development riders are making waves in niche industry

THE National Enduro Championship — Umzumbe, returned to the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast for the first time in over a decade on August 10 and 11.

Taking part at the race were two up- and-coming names Herbalife Nutrition bLU cRU Yamaha development riders Piwe Zulu and Thabang Katees. These riders are expected to be heard of more and more in their niche industry.

Margate resident Piwe Zulu (32) was born on the South Coast of Kwa­Zulu-Natal. He went to Port Shepstone Secondary School and started off-road motorcycling in 2010 when he was 25 and has ridden for KTM Durban and RBS Yamaha in Pinetown, amongst others. Biking was one of his first loves and the idea of doing it professionally has been a key driver for him.

Zulu is passionate about overcoming race obstacles and completing his races in the best possible time and is driven by a pursuit of excellence in the sport. When not on two wheels, he is a social facilitator for MGM Holdings, a company that works closely on economic transformation through support of entrepreneurs and other professionals. Zulu’s talent and dedication is what makes him stand out and it is these traits that put him on the Herbalife Nutrition bLU cRU Yamaha Racing Team’s radar. He joined the team in 2017.

Thabang Hendrick Katees (aged 26) was born in Pretoria and matriculated at Malatse Motsepe High School in 2010.

During his schooling years, he worked at De-Wildt on the weekends, offloading and loading bikes for riders who trained in the bush, on the mountain and in the rivers. His talent was spotted and in June 2011 the Nomadik sponsors came to De-Wildt and selected Katees as one of six off-road motorcyclists to participate in a training programme for new riders.

In early July 2011, Katees was selected to be a Nomadik development rider. He relocated to Johannesburg, where he finished three years of study under mentorship at the Panacea Pharmacy to become a qualified pharmacy assistant whilst riding in the Motorsport South Africa (MSA) developmental programme.

The MSA approached Yamaha in 2016 to request that Katees be included in their factory supported team as his talent and skill had reached the level where a next step was required. Katees also became part of the Herbalife bLU cRU Yamaha Racing Team in 2017. — Supplied