Mooi River, kwaZulu-Natal, Apr 25 2015
The Mooi River National Off-Road, Round 3 of the SA National Off-road championship near Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal, produced nail-biting motorcycle and quad racing action in the Midlands Meander.
It was a tough day in the saddle for riders on the scenic route set by the Natal Off-road Motor Club.
The racing produced four new class winners in the motorcycle category: Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) claimed his first Open Class win of 2015, team mate and multiple National Enduro Master Class champion Denzil Torlage, who has not competed in off-road racing for many years, won the Master Class.
BACK FROM A CRASH
Another enduro specialist, Bruce May, who – like Torlage – is from KZN and decided to make an appearance at this ‘local’ national event, upset the applecart in the Senior Class championship when he rode away with the laurels; Dean Lindsay (Yamaha) won the High School Class for the first time this year.
Gilbert was in a battle with defending OR1 champion Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) who recovered from a crash to finish second. Jonathan Webster (Yamaha) had his second podium of the season by finishing third, Michael Pentecost (Yamaha) was fourth and Mahoney’s team mate Ross Branch rounded out the top five.
Waldi van der Merwe (KTM) in sixth was the final OR1 rider to finish.
Like competitors in OR1, OR2 (250cc Class) and OR3 (200cc Class) Senior Class competitors also had to complete the full 360km race that included a 60km time trial to determine the starting order. A victory for the Himeville businessman (May) was appreciated by his home crowd while Wayne Farmer (KTM) had his third runner-up result, behind enduro rider.
MILLER BRAVES MASTER CLASS
The class leader, Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (KTM) recovered from a huge crash during time trial to round off the Senior Class podium. Jody Engelbrecht (Yamaha), who had not previously competed in the National off-road championship, was fourth, Justin Broughton (Kawasaki) fifth and Guy Henley (Yamaha) sixth.
In the Master Class, off-road racer Wade Miller (KTM) finished behind the experienced Torlage despite an injured rib with Ian Venter (KTM), who won the season opener, not too far behind in third.
Martin Poole (Yamaha) was fourth with May’s team mate in the National Enduro championship, Steve Botha, for whom off-road racing is also a new experience, rounded out the top five.
The Mooi River National Off-road was a challenge for all – from the experienced Master Class competitors to the youngsters in the High School Class where Lindsay became the third winner of the season.
MORE FOR SCHMIDT
It was, however, a close shave as defending champion Eduan Bester (KTM finished less than a minute behind him after the 240km race that saw them spend just less than four hours and 18 minutes in the saddle. Brendon Fourie (Kawasaki) was third with Erhardt Beukes scoring his second top-five result of 2015 by finishing fourth.
Lindsay’s team mate, Adriano Catalano, was fifth as nine of the 13 entrants completed the event.
There were more victories for Louw Schmidt (KTM) – he could not finish the Swaziland event but won OR2 at the opening round – who was followed closely by Jaycee Nienaber (Yamaha) with Cameron Becker (KTM) putting his first points for the season on the board by finishing third despite a fall.
Brett Cummings (KTM) was fourth. The back shock on Shaun Mostert’s KTM collapsed during the last lap and he had to call it a day while Nicholas Pienaar (Husqvarna) fell and Nienaber’s team mate Roan Lindsay broke a wrist.
Brett Swanepoel (Yamaha) had his third win of the day when he scored his third OR3 victory of the season and Pietermaritzburg rider Brandon Warwick-Oliver (Yamaha) made up for not finishing in Swaziland by with second. Jarryd Coetzee (KTM) was third ; Darren Macleod (Yamaha) fourth and Wilhelm Schonfeldt (Yamaha) fifth.
Taye Perry (KTM) won the Ladies Class while Gerhard Grove (Yamaha) won the Silver Class Challenge. He was followed by Nicholas Mauerberger (Yamaha) and Ruan Merry (KTM).
...AND THE QUADS
A puncture didn't keep Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) from claiming his second 2015 victory in Q1. He described the race as "a serious adventure that was super rough, but with spectacular scenery”. He was followed by Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) and Dakar Rally finisher Hannes Saaijman (Suzuki)
André Park (Yamaha) was fourth with Damien Lee (Honda) fifth after spending almost seven hours in the saddle.
Jaco Moller (Yamaha) had to call it a day after a ball joint on a front wheel broke during the time trial. It was temporarily fixed before the main race, but then broke again.
Moller’s little sister Wilmari (Honda) got stuck in the mud – like many other competitors – but pushed through to finish second in the Ladies Quad Class behind Liezel Barnard who also took a tumble from her big Can-Am. Jade Schutte (Yamaha) overcame various mechanical issues to complete the 300km race.
Keenan Hammon (KTM) won the High School Class – his second win of the year – with Ryno Trichardt (Yamaha) second.
In the Senior Class championship, team mates Stuart Freeman (Yamaha) and Russell Ferreira (Honda) claimed the first two steps on the podium – it was Freeman’s third victory of 2015 – with both Paul dos Santos (Suzuki) and Rick van Tonder (Yamaha) retiring.
The Master Class received a healthy number of entries. Defending champion George Twigge (Yamaha) took his second victory of the year. He was followed by Roxy dos Santos (Suzuki) – Roxy’s older brother Tony didn't finish – while Peter Walter (Yamaha) rounded out the podium.
Org Geldenhuys (Can-Am) was fourth with George Michaelides (Yamaha) the last finisher despite being stuck in a mud hole for some time.
Round 4 of the 2015 National Off-road championship will be raced at Stella in the Vryburg area on June 6th.