Super scenic but rough race
Four new class winners from third round of dirt racing
THE route set out by the Natal Off-road Motor Club for last weekend’s third round in the national off-road championship produced nail-biting bike and quad racing. Four new class winners emerged from the dust.
Old dogs, same tricks
In the motorcycle category this season, KZN’s Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) claimed his first OR1 (Open Class) victory for 2015, while his teammate and multiple National Enduro Master Class Champion, Denzil Torlage, won in the Master Class.
This despite the fact that Torlage had not competed in off-road racing for many year.
Another Enduro specialist, Bruce May, who, like Torlage is from KZN and decided to make an appearance at the “local” national event, upset the apple cart in the Senior Class Championship when he walked away with the laurels.
Gilbert was in a battle with the defending OR1 champion, Louwrens Mahoney (Brother Leader Tread KTM), who survived a crash and finished second. Jonathan Webster (Yamaha) claimed his second podium result for the season by finishing third
Like competitors in OR1, OR2 (250 cc Class) and OR3 (200 cc Class), Senior Class competitors also had to complete the full 360 kilometre race that included a 60 kilometre time-trial which determined the starting order.
A victory for Himeville’s May was appreciated by his home crowd, while Wayne Farmer (Roost KTM / EC Security) claimed his third runner-up result, finishing just over a minute and a half behind the Enduro rider.
The class leader, Juan “Bollie” van Rooyen (Brother Leader Tread KTM), recovered from a huge crash during the time-trial to round off the Senior Class podium. Jody Engelbrecht (Yamaha), who had also not competed in the national off-road championship before, finished fourth with Justin Broughton (Kawasaki) fifth and Guy Henley (Yamaha) sixth.
In the Master Class, off-road racer Wade Miller (KTM) finished behind the experienced Torlage despite an injured rib, with Ian Venter (KTM Centurion/Liqui Moly Racing) not too far behind in third place.
High school class battle
In the High School Class, Dean Lindsay (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) also caused a change for the books with his first win for the year.
Defending champion Eduan Bester (KTM Centurion / Liqui Moly Racing) finished a mere 50 seconds behind him after the 240 kilometre race that saw them spending a total of just over four hours and 18 minutes in the saddle. Brendon Fourie (Kawasaki) finished third.
In the OR2 class, Louw Schmidt (Brother Leader Tread KTM) had his second win, followed closely by Jaycee Nienaber (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha), with Cameron Becker (Vans Racing Division KTM) putting his first points for the season on the scoreboard by finishing third despite a crash. Brett Cummings (KTM) was fourth. The back shock on Shaun Mostert’s KTM collapsed during the last lap and he had to call it a day, while Nicholas Pienaar (Ridgeway Racing Husqvarna) crashed and Nienaber’s team-mate, Roan Lindsay, broke his wrist.
Brett Swanepoel claimed Proudly Bidvest Yamaha’s third victory for the day when he scored his third OR3 victory of the season, while Pietermaritzburg rider Brandon Warwick-Oliver (Team Liquorland Yamaha) made up for not finishing in Swaziland by claiming second place in this extremely competitive class. Jarryd Coetzee (Brother Leader Tread KTM) was third.
Taye Perry (Barnard Vervoer KTM) won the Ladies Class while Gerhard Grove (Yamaha) won the Silver Class Challenge. He was followed by Nicholas Mauerberger (Barnard Vervoer Yamaha) and Ruan Merry (KTM).
Roughing it on four wheels
In the quad category, a flat tyre did not keep Brian Baragwanath (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) from claiming his second 2015 victory in the Q1 Class. He described the race as a “serious adventure that was super rough, but with spectacular scenery”. He was followed by Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) and Dakar Rally finisher Hannes Saaijman (Suzuki) who was third.
Moller’s little sister, Wilmari (Honda), got stuck in the mud like many other competitors, but pushed through to finish second in the Ladies Quad Class behind Liezel Barnard, who also took a tumble with her big Barnard Vervoer Can-Am. Jade Schutte (Yamaha) overcame various mechanical issues to complete the 300 kilometre race.
Keenan Hammon (KTM) won the High School Class, his second win for the year, with Ryno Trichardt (Yamaha) finishing second.
In the Senior Class Championship, team-mates Stuart Freeman (PS Diamond Trailers Yamaha) and Russell Ferreira (Hondas) claimed the first two steps on the podium. It was Freeman’s third victory this year, with both Paul dos Santos (Suzuki) and Rick van Tonder (Yamaha) having to call it a day.
The Master Class received a healthy number of entries and after being halted by mechanical problems in Swaziland, the defending champion, George Twigge (Yamaha), took his second victory of the year. He was followed by Roxy dos Santos (Suzuki). Roxy’s older brother Tony did not finish, while Peter Walter (PS Diamond Trailers Yamaha) rounded off the podium. Org Geldenhuys (Abacus Divisions Racing CanAm) finished fourth with George Michaelides (Yamaha) the last finisher despite being stuck in a mud hole for some time.
•The fourth round of the Totpak National Off-road Championship will take place at Stella in the Vryburg area on June 6.
Darren Mcleod clinched a hard-fought fourth place in Mooi River.