Top riders ring in new Bell 300
FLYING MAHONEY: Louwrens Mahoney makes his way to his overall win in the bike category of the Bell 300, run in kwaZulu-Natal.
Louwrens Mahoney and Jurie Meyer dominated the Bell 300 in their respective categories as the fourth round of the national off-road championship was run in kwaZulu-Natal.
The one-day Bell 300, the fourth round of the 2012 SA National Off-road Championship, was hosted on July 7, 2012 outside Hluhluwe in kwaZulu-Natal, included a 60km time trial and delivered close racing action along with the regular tales of disappointment and bad luck.
Mahoney (KTM) went on to claim his fourth overall and Open Class (OR1) victory in the motorcycle category, while Meyer (Yamaha) recorded his second overall win in the quad category as the riders completed a grueling 300km course in dry and dusty conditions.
In the bike section, Mahoney took the lead from pole-sitter Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) on the last of the four 60km loops as the permanent foam tube in his rear wheel collapsed and he was forced to retire.
Gilbert’s team mate Marc Torlage finished second overall (and in OR1) while Riaan van Niekerk won in OR2 (250cc) and claimed the final podium position.
Similarly, Andre du Plessis (Suzuki) led the quad category from pole position until about 30km from the finish before hitting something that shattered his front and rear tyres. He had to settle for second as Meyer blasted pass while Jacques Struwig (Suzuki) claimed his second podium position of the season.
The 2011 winner of the Bell, Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) finished tenth – he started the race far back when he ran out of fuel during the time-trial and also suffered a flat tyre during the race.
Favourites who failed to finish include Jade Gutzeit (Yamaha) who crashed out while his brother Blake broke his leg. Timothy Young (Yamaha) experienced mechanical problems during his time trial, while Wade Blaaw (Yamaha), Lauri Murton and Franco Smith (both Honda) also crashed.
MORE ACTION TO COME
The Senior Quad Class was won by local Mtubatuba businessman, Paul Chomse (Yamaha) who was followed by Russell Ferreira (Honda) and Amanda Eardley (Can-Am). Guy Henley (Kawasaki) claimed this class on two wheels ahead of defending champion, Wayne Farmer and Gerrit Bezuidenhout (KTM).
In the Master (motorcycle) Class, defending champion Neil Gailey (KTM) had to stand clear of defending national enduro class champion, Denzil Torlage (Yamaha) as Graham Ellison (KTM) was third. Vicus Breedt (Suzuki) took his second victory in this class for quad competitors and was followed by Tony dos Santos (Suzuki) and James Domeleo (Yamaha).
Estiaan Steenkamp (Yamaha) won the Silver Class Challenge for motorcycle competitors while Kobus Erasmus (Suzuki) did so on four wheels. Eardley also won the Ladies Quad and the Q3 Utility Quad classes.
The fifth and penultimate round of the 2012 championship, the Sun City 400, will take place on August 3/ 4, 2012.