Some from Kauai who challenge the mountain trails with their motorcycles will test their mettle in one of the most difficult challenges — if not the most difficult.
Nine riders from Kauai will take part in the 2018 Kenda AMA Tennessee Knockout Extreme Enduro, which takes place next weekend in Sequatchie, Tenn.
“Why do we do it? I don’t know. We enjoy it,” said Grayson Gonsalves on Wednesday. “People might think we’re nuts, but that’s what we enjoy. … What we think is fun might not be fun for others, but it’s an extreme sport and it’s a growing sport. It’s getting more well-known worldwide. There’s extreme enduro in almost every country now.”
Enduro is a motorcycle sport that is run on off-road courses. Riders have to maneuver over many obstacles.
“It’s not just on flat ground. We’re crossing rivers, climbing hills, climbing over rocks — hard obstacles. Things that we probably have a hard time to walk up, we’re riding up it,” Gonsalves said. “Up, down, sideways, any kind of angle, we’re riding our bikes up it. People think riding a dirt bike is easy. But when they think of riding a dirt bike, they think of riding on flat (ground). … We push it to the extreme. Well, we try to.”
He added. “It’s hard. Also, the bike isn’t light. The bike is near 240 pounds. So, you’re riding this 240-pound machine. Sometimes it doesn’t want to go up certain obstacles, and you got to make it go up. You have to push it, or sometimes pull it, just manage your way to get up certain obstacles. Sometimes, it’s so wet that you can’t really ride it. Yeah, it’s pretty hard.”
Gonsalves, 27, 0f Kapaa, is returning to the Tennessee Knockout. In last year’s TKO, Grayson placed first among amateurs and 10th overall among the pros.
He said there were at least 30 pro riders and at least 200 amateurs last year.
“I would like to finish top five,” Gonsalves said. “Of course, the goal is to do even better, but top five would be great.”
The other eight from Kauai competing are: Kealoha Estrella, Chris Satterfield, Casey Satterfield, Clark Satterfield, Bruce Javellana, Chance Daly, Koa Estrella and Brennan Perreira.
Three from Oahu will also take part: Keoni Akina, Eric Goo and Ryan Gouveia.
Javellana, 38, of Moloaa, is another rider making his return to the TKO. Last year, he placed 24th overall after advancing out of the amateur races in the first day.
He started enduro and trail riding when he was 15.
“It’s more of a challenge. All this stuff is challenging, and each year it gets more technical,” Javellana said Friday. “The bikes advance each year. With more advancement of technology, the more you’re capable of, doing harder courses and harder stuff.”
He added: “You test your limits of what you’re capable of. … In this type of riding, it’s physical and mental. To finish this type of race, you got to be physically in shape, but more so you have to be mentally (tough). If you mentally tire out and you’re still in shape, you tell yourself, ‘You’re done.’ But even if you’re tired and you want to keep mentally pushing to finish, that is most important.”
Javellana just missed the cut of making it to the final race last year. He hopes to make it there this time.
“When I went, I only made it to the second to the last race,” he said. “I got cut out because I wasn’t able to make it to the 15 qualified (finalists). This year, hopefully, I can make it to the 15 qualified and hopefully make my way to the top 10. That’s kind of my goal.”
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.