Over is over, but it ain't over 'til it's over!

The season is over. That much is true. But for a WHES rider, a race is not over until it IS over.

It's a strange beast to comprehend, this Hard Enduro thing.

Come race day, nobody seems in that much of a hurry to get started, but when it comes to stopping they will stop only when they are damn well good and ready.

When the green flag dropped on the 13 Gold Class riders, all of the three top contenders were nowhere to be seen! Well almost nowhere.

I hadn't a clue where WHES series leader Darren Ruddling was - quite possibly, he was making some last minute adjustments to his wardrobe? Gas Gas Australia's Neil Price was out the back of the circuit changing tape. And Rieju Australia's Sam Rogers was off to the side of the starting grid seeing a man about a dog. 

2022 WHES Gold Class season victor, Darren "The Raptor" Rudling. He tells me he is in construction -  Supervising Civil Drainer. 

This avant-garde air-hole infused jersy suggests he is actually in the fashion industry.

But once these WHES riders do finally get through the starting gate, nothing seems to stop them. Out on the track Grady Byrne snapped a chain. The solution? Scab a master link off your mates, if you can find one that fits.

Have you ever seen those guys that beg at traffic lights? The ones that pounce on you as soon as the light turns red and your wheels stop turning. Well that was Grady.

Clearly, fifteen year old Silver sensation Jakob Petrig would do better at the traffic lights than Grady. Jakob managed to scab not one, but two, back tyres and rims so that he could finish his race. 

There is no such thing as 'trackside' repairs in HE. Grady Byrne goes for the repair in the riding line with Rudling flogging through.

And where the bikes lacked the goods to get the riders up and over, the crowd threw themselves in harms way to help out. Harris Baxter Green threw his weight behind so many bikes needing that little extra umph, that event sponsors threw the bloke a kit bag for his troubles.

Hard Enduro is very 'inclusive'. This is crowd participation, next level.

HBG was certain that was not in the brochure!

As far as podium placings go, top of the platform went to Pricey and he did it with consummate ease; starting dead last and picking off the entire field to be in front by the end of the first lap. And at the front was about where he stayed for four hours and 12 hard laps.

Though his body showed no signs of fatigue, his cognizance was a little more questionable.  In putting on a show for the punters on the last hill climb to the finish, he un(?)intentionally covered his gorgeous wife in mud and filth. So, although he took the top of the podium, he clearly was not coming away from the day with a win.

 Love is.......finding the will to forgive a complete brain fart.

But, sadly, that is it. It's over. WHES 2022 is over.

All that remains, beyond the nauseating echo of the airhorns and bladeless chainsaws, are bludgeoned bodies, broken bikes and beleaguered bank accounts. When I wrote "It's all about perspective" following the launch of the season, I had no idea where the WHES tornado was going to take us.

It's been a wild ride and I bet, like me, you cannot wait for WHES 2023! 

WHES 2022! That'll leave a mark!

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