Young biker killed in crash at of­froad en­duro

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING -

THE first re­sults for the 2016 SA Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onship ( SACC) for mo­tor­cy­cles and quad com­peti­tors are on the score­board af­ter the open­ing round, the Vry­burg Race, this week­end.

The sec­ond of the two 150 km loops had to be can­celled on Satur­day af­ter a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing Gis­lain van der Merwe, who died from mas­sive head trauma in Mil­park hospital. His fam­ily switched off the life sup­port ma­chines on Mon­day.

It was the first na­tional race with in many years that saw the bikes run the same routes as the cars and Louwrens Ma­honey, di­rec­tor for the SACC mo­tor­cy­cle and quad cham­pion- ship and for­mer mul­ti­ple race win­ner at Vry­burg, was sat­is­fied with the out­come of the event.

Michael Pen­te­cost ( Proudly Bid­vest Yamaha) took the over­all vic­tory as well as the OR1 ( Open) Cham­pi­onship. The riders be­hind him had to eat some dust on the 150 km loop and he was fol­lowed by Botswana’s desert fox, Ross Branch ( Brother Leader Tread KTM) with Kenny Gil­bert ( Kargo Rac­ing Husq­varna) third over­all and third in OR1.

For­mer SA Na­tional Off- road Cham­pion, Al­tus de Wet ( BCR Ar­row Yamaha) made a re­turn to off- road rac­ing to claim fourth place in OR1 with Ruan Smith ( Sherco Rac­ing SA) fifth.

The quad riders started Sat- ur­day’s race be­hind the last two- wheeler with Dakar Rally hero and de­fend­ing cham­pion, Brian Barag­wanath ( Proudly Bid­vest Yamaha) off first. He had to set­tle for third place af­ter he lost time due to two rear flat tyres.

An­dré Park ( Yamaha) won the race, with Stefan Swanepoel ( Yamaha) less than a minute be­hind in sec­ond place.

This was also the Open Quad Class podium. Rus­sell Fer­reira ( Yamaha) fin­ished fourth with Jo­han Oosthuizen ( VANS Rac­ing Divi­sion Yamaha) round­ing off the top five. In the Open Quads the top ten were Yamaha riders, Ruan Stander ( sixth); De­wald Theron ( sev­enth); Paul dos San­tos ( eighth) and Wi­aan van Wyk with Lourens van Rens­burg fin­ish­ing ninth on his Suzuki.

• The sec­ond round of the SACC for mo­tor­cy­cle and quad com­peti­tors will take place on May 6 and 7. This will be a stand­alone event in Dundee in KwaZulu- Natal, with the next com­bined event the Toy­ota Desert Race 1 000 in June in Botswana.

PHOTO: JUSTIN AU­GUS­TINE

Brian Barag­wanath ( cen­tre) topped the quad riders’ podium, fol­lowed by An­dré Park ( left) and Stefan Swanepoel.

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