Toxic Toddlers Take Out Champ and Leave Side Show Bob to Steal the Show.

Author: Mitch Ladyman


2023 WHES Champion Sam Rogers

Wondering where the hell winter went, and watching temperatures wind out to the thirties, the Toodyay Terror 2.0 was always going to be the most macabre of backdrops for the final round of WHES 2023 (West Australian Hard Enduro Series).

And who’d have thought, in all of that, that life would imitate art?

Post the apocalypse that was TT2.0, I couldn’t help but wonder on the parallels between Sam Rogers and that shady character that appears periodically on the Simpsons with very evil intent (if you are not a Simpsons fan just google Side Show Bob).

Off the line and straight for the holeshot, there was no question the Reju rider intended on going home with heads on a platter!

As his hot pink kit, snow white boots, and long flowing ‘bottle-blonde’ locks disappeared into the dust and two-stroke haze, we all knew it was going to be murder on the dance floor. And we weren’t wrong as Sam took it all the way to the line three hours later winning the event and securing the points he needed to take out the WHES 2023 Championship!!!

Unfortunately, toddler toxins were sucking the life out of Darren Rudling, leaving the Stallion struggling at the gates and unable to put up much of a fight to keep Rogers at bay.

Darren Rudling. Photo: Karl Pagenstecher

To say that the reigning champ has had a despicable year on the bike is to be grossly understating the reality of it. Despite tearing all sorts of ligaments out of his limbs in February this year, Rudling has battled long and hard to keep himself in the running for a second title. But it was pretty clear in the pits, pre-event, that he was going to struggle in conditions that, throughout the day, took out nearly half the field!

Luke ‘the Lab Rat’ Abbott was intent on taking it to Sam any way he could out on the track in Gold Class. However, coming off a dose of the nasty ‘C’ whilst on a bike tour out east, Luke quickly found himself belching his innards outwards before the first hour had elapsed. His heart rate monitor cyber bullied him into the medic’s tent, which was probably a good thing given he was pushing 170 BPM whilst off the bike and chilling in the shade. “..the peak was when I was sitting down; felt like my chest was about to explode” words straight from the Lab Rat on how it was out there on the track.

And as things just got progressively worse for everyone else, things just got better and better for Sam Rogers.

The King of Traction, Neil Price, managed to keep Rogers at bay for the first few laps, but the ride went south for Pricey sometime after the halfway point and he found himself heading straight for the pits (and possibly the porcelain?). I am fairly certain that little bit of intel never made it to the man with the golden locks, as Sam did not seem to back off: not a jot!

Neil Price. Photo: Karl Pagenstecher

With Ruddling on the ropes, Price in the pits, the Lab Rat retching in the medic’s tent and the Braaap Daddy (Damien Pruden) suffering from organisational exhaustion (due to the insane efforts put in to get the event up), all Rogers had to do was keep the Jackal, Jakob Petrig, from tearing out his Achilles. And that wasn’t easy because young Jakob is on fire this year. Damn that boy can ride! Though Sam had the win in the bag, Jakob did an incredible job of keeping him honest all the way to the flag!

Organisers, officials, committee members, volunteers and sponsors have all given so much in an effort to give the riders, and the crowds, the most incredible motosport experience over the course of the WHES 2023 season; a season that started way back on 1st April at the Graham Jarvis Invitational in Bridgetown.

Fools they aren’t, these Hard Enduriacs; more so, just a little crazy! Bring on 2024!

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