Championships still up for grabs Atlas Copco Gold 400
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.
KZN’s Brett Swanepoel was one of only 25 riders to finish the Erzberg — the toughest of all hard enduros — this year.