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Off-roaders to battle Kalahari 400

2012-04-26 13:03

DESERT TRAINING? Kenny Gilbert negotiates a river crossing in a recent round of the national off-road championship.

If you’re up for some off-road racing action this long weekend, and you’re anywhere near Vryburg in the Northern Cape you have to check out the Kalahari 400, Round 3 of the National Off-Road Motorcycle and Quad championship.

The action is scheduled to kick off from the Excelsior Farmers' Hall about 55km north of Vryburg, which will also serve as the designated service point and the finish line. The route takes the shape of a clover leaf with three loops through the DSP… Clever.

The weekend’s racing, though, will see the overall laurels and the top motorcycle up for grabs. Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) will likely be aiming for a hat-trick of national victories this season, but also his third consecutive Kalahari 400 victory.


Mahoney’s team mate Gray Dick won the marathon 1000km event in 2002, 2003 and 2004 but has yet to notch up a win in Kalahari 400.

In the quad category, Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) will also be aiming for a second successive win in the Kalahari 400, especially since victory has – so far – eluded him this season.

Baragwanath is, however, currently seventh overall with Jurie ‘Botter’ Meyer (Yamaha) holding the overall spot after a victory in the Cape. André du Plessis (Suzuki) is second overall and might have a bit more experience of desert-type racing than Meyer, while third-placed Giacomo Antiga (Can-Am) would like to go for victory after failing to finishing the event in 2011.

In the field, Baragwanath and Jacques Struwig (Suzuki) probably have the most Kalahari experience although Struwig has not yet won at Vryburg. He finished third at the 2011 and is currently 10th on the overall standings.

John Aylward (Yamaha) is fourth on the overall standings and will attempt the Kalahari 400 for the first time while Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) and Stefan Swanepoel (who could also not finish at Vryburg last year) are fifth and sixth, respectively, and share the same number of points.

On two wheels, Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha), who has also claimed a podium position this season, is second behind Mahoney on the overall standings and will be pushing hard for victory.

Although Altus de Wet (KTM) finished 16th at the 2011, he has also been a podium visitor this season and is third overall.

There is no shortage of possible winners or podium finishers in the current top ten, with Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (Kawasaki), who finished on the podium in 2011, and is currently fourth overall followed by the two Webster brothers, Jonathan and Christopher (Yamaha).


Dillon Inggs (KTM) and Riaan van Niekerk (KTM), who will put his years of desert-racing experience to good use, are both just two points behind former junior rider, Michael Pentecost (Perry Yamaha) who is seventh overall who will, however, not be competing as he has just had a knee operation.

Wayne Farmer crashed recently and will not be in action in the Senior class, which he leads. The battle will continue between second-placed Guy Henley (Kawasaki), and Steve Landman (Yamaha) and Albert Hintenaus (KTM), who are third and fourth respectively – they have all visited the podium this season.

Amanda Eardley (EPS Racing Can-Am) leads the Senior class on four wheels – and behind her an interesting chase can develop as a few “new” names appear on the list for the first time this season. Peter Schenk (Honda) and Roxy dos Santos (Suzuki) will fight to keep their second and third places respectively.

Jurie Meyer Snr (Yamaha) is eight points ahead of Kobus Visser (Can-Am) in the Master Quad class while a recent podium position in the Western Cape has pushed Milton Thesen (Yamaha) up to third place. Neil Gailey (KTM) has a ten-point lead ahead of Jan Berning (KTM) in this class for motorcycle competitors and will be aiming for a third successive season victory.

The Kalahari 400 will start with a 40km time-trial on Friday, April 27 that will determine the starting order for the race on Saturday on April 28. The race starts at 08h00.

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