High rollers shine in Caledon 400
KEEPING IN DUSTY TRACKS: Bike and quad riders quite enjoyed the Western Cape's dry, dusty conditions during the 2012 running of the Caledon Casino 400.
Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) and Jurie Meyer jnr (Yamaha) were triumphant this weekend in the second round of the 2012 National Off-road championship held around scenic Caledon in the Western Cape.
Mahoney scored his second victory of the season in the motorcycle category of the Caledon Casino 400, Meyer won the quad category for the first time.
Each started the 350km race from pole position in their category after a 60km time trial on Friday (March 23) determined the starting order and they stayed in front to the finish.
HUGE FIGHT BACK
Mahoney may have had the mark of the field but there was chaos behind him when around 40 competitors were sent off-course thanks to confusing route markers. Once on the correct route again, Mahoney’s team mate, Riaan van Niekerk, who had started seventh, reached second – a position he would hold to the finish.
Van Niekerk also won the OR2 (250cc) class ahead of Timothy Young (Yamaha) who was second in OR2 and fourth overall, and Altus de Wet (KTM) had to settle for third in OR2 and sixth overall after fighting back from losing more than 40 places.
Jonathan Webster (Yamaha) started the race 20th (he got lost during the time trial) and scored his first overall podium position of the season when he finished third – he was second behind Mahoney in the OR1 (Open) class and only 10sec ahead of Young with Kenneth Gilbert (KTM) third in OR1 and fifth overall.
Gilbert started the race just behind Mahoney but dropped back to 46th and had to battle his way back through the dust.
Juan van Rooyen (Kawasaki) finished seventh and fourth in OR1 as he also took a detour while Webster’s brother Chris was eighth (fifth in OR1).
Michael Creevy (KTM) won the OR3 (200cc) class and finished ninth overall, just ahead of his OR3 team mate Tyron Miller, who rounded off the top 10.
There was some bad luck for Yamaha’s Marc Torlage (seized engine) and Mark Garland (Yamaha) who crashed.
SEVEN HOURS' RACING
In the quad competition, Polokwane riders claimed the first two spots on the podium - André du Plessis (Suzuki) finished behind Jurie Meyer (who started the race 14th after getting stuck in the mountains) with Jacques Struwig (Suzuki) third after losing time with flat tyres.
The 2011 Junior National champion, Matthew Barnard (KTM), finished his first Senior National event when he claimed fourth place with Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) fifth. John Aylward (Yamaha) was sixth after a total race time of more than seven hours, only a second ahead of Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) who experienced mechanical problems during the time trial and had to tackle the race from the back of the field.
Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) ,who won Q2 for the second consecutive race, finished eighth, former Junior rider Dino do Amaral (KTM) was ninth and Colin Joubert (Can-Am) 10th.
Bad luck kept competitors such as Damien Lee (Honda), third at the season opener, from finishing the Caledon event together with former Junior riders Jamie Fensham (Can-Am); Tinus Bredenkamp (Can-Am) and Michael Wagner (KTM) as well as Cornel Kannemeyer (Suzuki).
The Senior Motorcycle Class was won by Wayne Farmer (GasGas) who claimed his second consecutive victory this season. The battle between Farmer and Guy Henley (Kawasaki) was interrupted by the Cape’s Albert Hintenaus (KTM) who finished ahead of Henley in second place.
JUNIORS SCORE IN CHALLENGES
Only four riders finished the Senior Quad Class with Amanda Eardley (Can-Am) winning for the second time this season. She was followed closely by Louwrens Vervaart (Can-Am) with Peter Schenk (Honda) third and Christo Rabe (Suzuki) fourth.
Jurie Meyer snr (Yamaha) added the final touched to his family’s perfect weekend when he won the Masters' Class for the second time this year. He beat Kobus Visser (Can-Am) with Milton Thesen (Yamaha) stepping on to the podium for the first time this season. It was also a second consecutive victory for the defending Masters' Class champion in the motorcycle category where Neil Gailey (Yamaha) finished first, followed by Hanno Calitz (KTM) and Jan Berning (KTM).
The Silver Class Challenge in both the motorcycle and quad categories was won by Junior competitors: Jaycee Nienaber (Yamaha) won on two wheels and Kuils River quad rider Stiaan du Toit (Yamaha) secured the laurels for his province.
The 2012 season will reach its halfway mark with the popular Kalahari 400 that will be run in the Vryburg area in the Northern Cape over April 27/28.