Tight race at Ventersdorp 400
ALREADY A CHAMP: Louwrens Mahoney, who has already claimed the overall title for 2012, rounded off the South African National championship in the Ventersdorp 400 by finishing sixth.
Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) rounded off the 2012 South African National Off-road championship at the Ventersdorp 400 on October 5 - 6, 2012, with a sixth victory in the motorcycle category while Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) claimed his second victory of the season by winning the quad category.
Both Mahoney, who has already claimed the overall title for 2012 as well as the OR1 (Open Class) championship, and Baragwanath started the race from the front after posting the fastest times at the 60km time-trial that determined the starting order. These two drivers were successful at the penultimate round of the held in the Sun City area in North-West Province on August 4, 2012.
In the motorcycle category things changed quickly when Mahoney’s team mate, Riaan van Niekerk, who started second, experienced mechanical problems and the battle for the Number 2 plate between another team mate, Altus de Wet (he started fourth) and Chris Webster (Yamaha) who started just ahead of De Wet, continued.
Extreme heat, a tough route, some close racing and fitness levels played a role in the outcome with De Wet winning the battle by finishing second behind Mahoney and winning the OR2 (250cc Class), but losing the war against Webster whose fourth place was enough to clinch the number two spot overall for the season.
Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) lost time as he started out on the wrong loop, but still managed to claim his third podium position. Nicholas Pienaar (KTM) posted his best result finishing fifth (fourth behind Gilbert in OR1) while Jonathan Webster (Yamaha), who lost a position to Pienaar on the last of the six laps when he got wire in the rear wheel of his bike, was sixth.
Webster was only three seconds ahead of Marc Torlage (Yamaha) in seventh place with Michael Pentecost (Yamaha) winning OR3 (200cc Class) and finishing eighth overall. Mark Garland (Yamaha) was ninth with Wade Blaauw (Yamaha) rounding off the top 10 and finishing second in OR2.
On four wheels Baragwanath, who came across closed gates twice enabling the rest to catch up with him, managed to open up a gap and finished with a comfortable lead ahead of John Aylward (Yamaha) who scored his first podium position in his debut year in the national championship.
Many quad competitors, including Aylward and Jurie Meyer (Yamaha) got stuck in mud holes, but a third place was enough for Meyer to clinch the 2012 title ahead of his closest rival, André du Plessis (Suzuki) who had to settle for fourth place after the race and the Number 2 plate for 2013.
Du Plessis’ team mate, Danie Erasmus (Suzuki) was fifth with Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) at sixth; Freddie Taljaard (Kawasaki) finished seventh; Danie Senekal (Yamaha) was eighth and Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) ninth.
Only nine quad and 22 motorcycle competitors managed to complete the full race distance of 420km. On two wheels Francois de Greeff (KTM) was 11th; Ruan Smith (Yamaha) won OR4 (Under 21 Class) and was 12th overall. Justin Valentim (Team RAT Racing) was 13th and Michael Spencer (Honda) was 15th. Bollie van Rooyen (Kawasaki) finished 14th after he got lost and ran out of fuel.
Darren Macleod (Yamaha) was 16th (third in OR2); Timothy Young (Yamaha) finished 17th with his team mate, Brad van Aswegen 20th (third in OR3); Meiring Vermeulen (Yamaha) was 18th and second in OR4; Vincent Crosbie (KTM) was 19th while his team mate, Dillon Inggs was 22nd after mechanical problems and Paul Theron finished 21st.
In the Senior (motorcycle) Class, defending champion Wayne Farmer (KTM) won the battle by claiming his fourth victory of the season, but Guy Henley (Kawasaki) won the war by claiming the 2012 title after finishing second at Ventersdorp. Ian Venter (KTM) was third with Robert Streak (KTM) fourth.
Russel Ferreira (Honda) won the Senior Quad Class comfortably. A second place was enough for Amanda Eardley (Can-Am) to claim the title ahead of Peter Schenk (Honda) who was leading the championship by three points before the event. Schenk finished fourth and had to settle for second place in the championship. Willie Roos (Yamaha) was third at Ventersdorp.
Vicus Breedt (Suzuki) won the Master Quad Class ahead of Tony dos Santos (Suzuki) while a third place for Kobus Visser (Can-Am) ensured him the title for 2012. His closest rival, Milton Thesen (Yamaha) was fifth after he got lost with team mate Roger Barnes (Polaris) fourth for the day.
On four wheels Johan Gray (Honda) won the Master Class (bikes) ahead of the 2012 champ, Neil Gailey (KTM) with Jan Berning (KTM) rounding off the podium. Anthony Page was fourth.
Some titles were also settled in the non-championship classes where Eardley won the Ladies Quad Class, with Chantelle Darlow (Yamaha) finishing second and Liezel Barnard (Can-Am) third. Eardley also won the Q3 Utility Class ahead of Kobus Visser (second) and DJ Nabal (Can-Am) third, but Visser bagged the title for the season.
Two Junior National championship competitors, Louw Schmidt (Suzuki) and Neels Uys (Kawasaki) are the 2012 Silver Class Challenge title holders of the motorcycle and quad categories respectively – Schmidt won this class for the fourth time this season while Uys finished third for the day behind Bertie Morton (Yamaha) and Wilmer Els (Yamaha).