The Herald (South Africa)


- Amir Chetty chettyam@tisoblacks­

NELSON Mandela Bay motocross fanatics are in for a festival of speed when the country’s best riders compete in the opening round of the national championsh­ips this weekend.

More than 150 riders are expected to descend on the Rover Motorcycle Club to compete across 11 different race classes and the TRP Distributo­rs National MX Championsh­ips promise to provide wheel-to-wheel action from the first race.

Rover MCC MX chairman Neville Townsend said each class would consist of two heats, with riders receiving points based on their position after both heats had been completed. Preparatio­ns had been ongoing, with prepping of the main and junior tracks taking place since Saturday in anticipati­on of some good racing, Townsend said.

“A lot of the jumps have been rehabilita­ted and they are nice and big, and the landings are pretty strong. Facilities are looking world-class,” he said.

“There are still a few minor things we need to do but I would definitely say we are race ready.”

He also said the track had a new addition which he believed would create a lot of excitement in front of the hundreds of spectators expected at the event.

Riders will begin to trickle in from Friday afternoon, with a documentat­ion session to be held from 3.30pm to 6pm on the day, followed by a riders’ briefing.

Looking ahead to Saturday, Townsend said riders would start queuing from 5am, with spectators expected from 7am onwards. Racing action is set to get under way at 10am with the MX 50cc class.

“There will be a jumping castle for kids, a beer tent and bar, a kiosk and food on sale, and a VIP area.”

Townsend said riders to look out for included Dillon Lerm (50cc Pro), Liam Botha (65cc and 85cc Jnr), Kyle Townsend (85cc Pro mini), Chase Hanekom and Dan Goldberg (125 MX High School), Keegan Hickson-Mahony (MX2), Andrew Wren and Andrew Pretorius (MX1), and Andrew Swart (MX3), to name a few.

Port Elizabeth rider Wren is raring to go after coming back from a short hiatus.

“The last couple of months I decided to make a big change in my programme, I started training and dieting,” he said.

“I’ve put in the work for the weekend and I will have to see where it takes me.”

Wren will be hoping to get the season off to a good start with a decent result in this first round.

Another Bay rider, Dillon Lerm, 8, will be competing in the 50cc Pro class.

“I have been practising my jumps and turns quite a bit, so I am definitely ready to go out there and do well,” Dillon said.

Asked if he was expecting a tough field, he said: “It will be tough yes, but I am on my home track, and I will do my best to end first come that final race.”

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