Desert dust clears on Kalahari 400
DUST, GRIT AND DETERMINATION: Motorcycles and quads took to the dusty regions north of Vryburg in the Northern Cape for the Kalahari 400.
The 2012 Kalahari 400 delivered plenty of action for fans of the desert race over the long weekend, as the third round of the National Off-Road bike and quad championship roared through the Northern Cape.
Competitors headed just north of Vryburg to battle it out over two days and close to 400km in the dry and dusty conditions where Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) claimed his third consecutive Kalahari 400 victory in the motorcycle category, while Damien Lee took his maiden victory on a quad.
Mahoney led from start to finish to win the Motorcycle and Open Class, beating Chris Webster (Yamaha) who trailed him by just 1min11 at the finish.
FENCE IN THE WAY
After a timed trial on Friday, April 27 to determine the race order for the next day the six leading competitors finished in the top six places.
Mahoney’s team mates, Gray Dick, a previous winner of the Kalahari marathon events, and Altus de Wet, were third and fourth overall. Webster’s brother and team mate Jonothan would have started the racing hoping for a repeat of his 2011 podium finish at the same event but crashed into a fence and finished fifth.
In the Quad category, privateer Damien Lee (Honda) recorded his debut victory after he took the lead from 2011 winner Brian Baragwanath in the second half of the race. Baragwanath had to race with care after the frame of his quad broke although, at the end of the race, only 1min37 separated them after five-and-a-half hours of racing.
Andre du Plessis (Suzuki) finished third despite losing time with two punctures while Jacque Struwig (Suzuki) was fourth after suffering rear axle problems. Hannes Saaijman (Yamaha) rounded off the top five.
Russell Ferreira (Honda) won the Senior \Quad class comfortably when he beat Roxy dos Santos (Suzuki) with Peter Schenk (Honda) third. Guy Henley (Kawasaki) won this class on two wheels with Jaco du Toit (KTM) second and Albert Hintenaus (KTM) third.
Only two competitors in the Master class - for motorcycle riders older than 46 - finished the race. Defending champion Neil Gailey (KTM) claimed his third class victory this season with Jan Berning (KTM) scoring points for second.
There were four finishers in the Master class for quad competitors in which Vicus Breedt (Suzuki) won for the first time in 2012 and was followed by regular podium finisher Kobus Visser (Can-Am) and Milton Thesen (Yamaha).
Other class winners included Adolf Botes (Honda) in the Silver Class Challenge (quads), Louw Schmidt (Suzuki) in the Silver Class Challenge (motorcycles), Chantelle Darlow (Yamaha) in the Ladies Quad class and Barney Barnard (Can-Am) in the Q3 Utility class.
The next race on the 2012 National Off-Road calendar, the Bell 400, will be raced over July 6/7, 2012 in the Hluhluwe area are kwaZulu-Natal.