Early champs at Off-Road SA 400
Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) and Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) were the respective winners of the motorcycle and quad categories of the Off-Road SA 400, the fifth and penultimate round of the 2012 South African National Off-road championship held in the Sun City area in North-West Province on August 4.
While it was Mahoney’s fifth consecutive National victory this season, it was Baragwanath’s first after a run of bad luck. Each claimed victory after racing from start to finish on a tough ORSA 400.
Chris Webster (Yamaha) clinched his second podium position this season when he finished just over five minutes behind Mahoney with Kenneth Gilbert (Yamaha), who got lost, rounding off the overall and OR1 (Open Class) podiums. Only a minute separated Chris’ elder brother and team mate, Jonathan, in fourth place from Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (Kawasaki Racing) after a fierce battle.\
Van Rooyen was again only 45 seconds faster than Dillon Inggs (KTM) who won OR2 (250cc) ahead of Altus de Wet (KTM) who crashed within the first kilometres and lost a finger. It was found and later surgically reattached, while his second place in OR2 was enough to provisionally secure him the title for 2012.
His team mates Darryl Curtis, who has not been competing in local off-road events for a few seasons, and Riaan van Niekerk, competed with the bikes they will be using on the 2013 Dakar Rally. Curtis finished eighth while Van Niekerk, who has been on the podium twice this season, was 12th after racing cautiously. The top 10 was rounded off by CJ Blackman (Honda) who was ninth with Mark Garland (Yamaha) 10th overall.
CRASHES AND MORE CRASHES
Michael Creevy (KTM) won OR3 (200cc Class) – and provisionally claimed the title for 2012 – after finishing 11th overall while Darren MacLeod (Yamaha) was third in OR2 (13th overall); Vincent Crosbie (KTM) was 14th and Michael Pentecost (Yamaha) made a comeback after his recent knee operation to finish 15th overall (second in OR3). Michael Spencer (Honda) rounded off the OR3 podium.
Lady rider, Toni Jardine (KTM), won OR4 (Under21) with Ruan Smith (Yamaha) second.
The names of KTM team mates, Gray Dick (mechanical) and Tyron Miller (he crashed) are among those who could not finish the race. Timmy Young (Yamaha) and Marc Torlage (Yamaha) also crashed while Honda riders Philip Mayhew, Laurie Murton and Franco Smith could also not finish this event.
Punctures hampered the three leading quad riders where Baragwanath was a minute and a half faster than the current overall leader, Jurie Meyer (Yamaha). The battle between Meyer and André du Plessis (Suzuki) for the lead in the overall standings continued at Sun City, but Du Plessis had to settle for third place overall and in Q1 which means that he will stay behind Meyer in the second place on the overall standings.
Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) produced his best result for the season by winning Q2 and finishing fourth overall with Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) finishing fifth, less than a minute behind Dos Santos after also losing time with flat tyres. Except for dust and flat tyres during the time-trial, national newcomer John Aylward (Yamaha) had a clean run and finished sixth overall (only 45 seconds behind Swanepoel) while Danie Erasmus (Suzuki) was seventh.
He was followed by three former Junior National championship competitors – 2011 champion, Matthew Barnard (KTM) who is still struggling with an injury, was eighth; Dino do Amaral (KTM) made a comeback after crashing hard at the prevous event and was ninth while Tinus Bredenkamp (Can-Am) had to fight back after losing time with a broken swing-arm that was temporarily fixed with straps until it came loose again on the last lap.
Four more riders managed to finish the full race distance – Werner Palm (Suzuki) was 11th; Lourens van Rensburg (Suzuki) finished 12th while team mates Graeme Howell and Freddie Taljaard (Kawasaki) were 13th and 14th respectively. There were mechanical problems for Jacques Struwig (Suzuki) and Hannes Saaijman (Yamaha) while David Hollis (Yamaha) was injured in a crash.
The battles for the Senior Class titles in both the motorcycle and quad categories continued at the ORSA 400 where Amanda Eardley (Can-Am) won on four wheels when she beat Peter Schenk (Honda) who went into a fence and lost time removing wire from his quad. He is however still the class leader, but by a small margin.
In the motorcycle category Guy Henley (Kawasaki) also kept his lead, but he played second fiddle to defending champion, Wayne Farmer (Gas Gas) who claimed his third victory of the season. Ian Venter (KTM) was third with Robert Streak (KTM) fourth.
THIRD THIS SEASON
Defending Master Class (bikes) champ, Neil Gailey (KTM) was unstoppable and claimed his fourth victory while Vicus Breedt (Suzuki) scored a hat trick of victories in this class in the quad category. Tony dos Santos (Suzuki) was the second quad while a third place for Kobus Visser (Can-Am), who also won the Q3 Utility Class, keeps him in the lead of the title race. Eardley also won the Ladies Quad Class ahead of Chantelle Darlow (Yamaha).
Louw Schmidt (Suzuki) won the Silver Class Challenge (motorcycles) for the third time this season while Peter Walter (Yamaha) was the only finisher in this class for four-wheelers.
The sixth and final round of the 2012 championship will take place over October 5/6 in the Ventersdorp area of the North-West Province.