Cham­pi­onships still up for grabs At­las Copco Gold 400

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING - CHARMAINE FOR­TUNE

DE­SPITE not hav­ing com­peted at na­tional level for al­most three months, mo­tor­cy­cle and quad com­peti­tors are fight­ing fit and look­ing for­ward to the At­las Copco Gold 400, the sixth and fi­nal round of the SA Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onship that takes place on Oc­to­ber 27 and Oc­to­ber 28 at Glen­harvie on the West Rand in Gaut­eng.

Most of the cham­pi­onship ti­tles are still up for grabs and with only a few points sep­a­rat­ing com­peti­tors, nail bit­ing rac­ing can be ex­pected.

Other than the pre­vi­ous rounds, com­peti­tors will be com­pet­ing over two days with the 50 km time trial to take place on Fri­day while three loops of 100 kilo­me­tres await them on Satur­day.

In the mo­tor­cy­cle cham­pi­onship, Ross Branch (Brother Leader Tread KTM) has al­ready clinched the over­all num­ber one plate and se­cured the OR1 (Open) Cham­pi­onship ti­tle, but this will not stop him from want­ing to win for the fifth time this sea­son.

Be­hind him, the over­all podium can still change. Only a few points sep­a­rate the top six from each other, while a mere seven points cover the rid­ers from sev­enth to tenth place and a shakeup in the cur­rent stand­ings is very pos­si­ble.

Kenny Gil­bert (Liqui Moly Rac­ing Husq­varna), cur­rently sec­ond over­all, has a nar­row lead over Brett Swanepoel (Pep­son Plas­tics Husq­varna), who missed the Har­ri­smith race due to over­seas rac­ing com­mit­ments. Both will fight to stay on the podium and they will also bat­tle it out for the best po­si­tion be­hind Branch.

Louwrens Ma­honey (Brother Leader Tread KTM) will hunt Swanepoel down, but he will be chased by Tris­tan Pur­don (Bid­vest Blu Cru Yamaha) who can close the small points’ gap.

Pur­don’s team-mate Kyle Flana­gan was haunted by in­juries this year, but he only missed the Har­ri­smith event and trails his team-mate by eight points.

The rest of the top 10 can­not re­ally catch those ahead of them, but their cur­rent stand­ings can look dif­fer­ent af­ter the fi­nal event.

Cha­ran Moore (Live Le­sotho Rac­ing Yamaha) is sev­enth and ahead of Juan “Bol­lie” van Rooyen (Brother Leader Tread KTM) who leads Jaycee Nien­aber (Super Moose KTM) with Louw Sch­midt (Brother Leader Tread KTM) a lit­tle fur­ther be­hind. OR1 Cham­pi­onship Pur­don and Gil­bert will con­tinue their podium bat­tle in the OR1 Cham­pi­onship where Gil­bert is third, one point be­hind Pur­don.

With the drop points sys­tem, where com­peti­tors have to drop their worst re­sult scored at each of the six rounds, now com­ing into play, Gil­bert might feel a lit­tle more com­fort­able as he did not fin­ish or score at the opening round due to a crash while Pur­don has a full score sheet.

Ruan Pot­gi­eter (KTM) is some­what fur­ther back in fourth place while fifth-placed Sch­midt can over­take Tim Young who will miss this event.

In the quad cat­e­gory, the de­fend­ing cham­pion Hannes Saai­j­man (Q-KON EMD Bas­e­fit Rac­ing KTM) leads Pierre van Heer­den (Honda) with Keenan Ham­mon (Yamaha) and Stef Bester (VANS Rac­ing Di­vi­sion Yamaha) third and fourth re­spec­tively, but Saai­j­man is not safe and will have to score points and hope that ev­ery­thing falls into place for him to take an­other ti­tle.

The ac­tion will start and fin­ish at the Kloof Coun­try Club in Glen­harvie. Satur­day’s race starts at 7.15 am.

En­trance to the event and specata­tor points are free.

PHOTO: RED BULL TV

KZN’s Brett Swanepoel was one of only 25 rid­ers to fin­ish the Erzberg — the tough­est of all hard en­duros — this year.

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