SA OFF-ROAD ACTION: Former Q2 champion Justin Robert will aim for the title as the National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad season resumes on February 21 2015. Image: Elza Thiart Botes
The 2015 National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad season is about to start with racing at Rysmierbult, near Ventersdorp in North-West on Saturday February 21 after a four-month summer break
The Rysmierbult event will be have four combined events as Round 1 of the National Off-road championship and the Junior National championship.
It will also be the season-opener for the Northern Regions Junior and Senior series.
NATIONAL OFF-ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP: Looking at the factory motorcycle teams, it seems that all the 2014 KTM champions will be back. OR1 champion Louwrens Mahoney will again compete in OR1 with team mate Ross Branch and OR2 champion Tyron Miller will be joined by OR3 champion Louw Schmidt and Jono van Wyk.
Jarryd Coetzee has joined the team and will compete in OR3 while Senior Class champion Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen will defend his title.
Yamaha’s Kenny Gilbert will take on the competition in OR1 while team mate and Enduro ace Brett Swanepoel, second in the 2014 Roof of Africa, will also tackle the National Off-Road series.
Michael Pentecost (Yamaha) will compete in OR1 while fellow Yamaha rider Jaycee Nienaber and Roan Lindsay will take on OR2 rivals. Team mates Darren Mcleod, Dean Lindsay and Adriano Catalano will compete in OR3 and the competitive High-School class which delivered great racing in 2014. Defending champion Eduan Bester (KTM) and runner-up Brendan Fourie (Kawasaki) will be among the talented youngsters racing for the title.
2014 Silver Class Challenge winner Shaun Mostert (KTM) has moved to OR2 and runner-up Craig Wishart (Husqvarna) will compete in the OR3 Class. The OR3 championship sees veterans Bernard McGee (Yamaha), Taki Bogiages (KTM) and Wilhelm Shonfeldt (Yamaha) ready to compete.. all of them finished in the top four in the class in 2014.
In the Senior Class, Van Rooyen will again have his work cut out for him. He will be chased by previous champions Wayne Farmer (KTM) and Guy Henley (KTM) as well as a few new name. 2013 Senior Class champion Pieter Holl (KTM) is injured and might have to sit-out the meeting.
MASTER, SENIOR CLASSES
The Master Class championship, for riders older than 46 will be revived with a few new names on the entry list, among them Ian Venter (KTM) as part of a new team. Yamaha has also entered the National Off-Road series and will be represented by enduro rider Brandon Warwick-Oliver.
Many more entries are expected in all four championships.
In the quad category, Hannes Saaijman and Brian Baragwanath are back from an exhausting 2015 Dakar Rally in which Saaijman was ninth. Both will be defending their Q1 (Baragwanath) and Q2 (Saaijman) titles. Former Open Class champion Stefan ‘Swanie’ Swanepoel (Yamaha) will be back in action after missing out on National competition for many years.
Senior Class champion Russell Ferreira (Honda) will also be back to defend his title and his opposition will again include Stuart Freeman (Yamaha) who led the class in 2014 though he suffered halfway through the season. Ted Barbier (Yamaha) will again compete in the Senior Class, where he was third in 2014.
He will use this saddle-time as training to enter the 2016 Dakar Rally.
High School Class champion Ramon Lopez (Honda) will compete in Q1 while two former Q2 champions, Justin Robert (Suzuki, see image above) and Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) will each be in action and trying to unthrone 2014 champion Saaijman.
More support is still required for the new Combined Ladies Class championship that produced the first SA National female champion in 2014. The championship is open to female riders in both the Motorcycle and new High School Class.
JUNIOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: There was no Junior off-road racing at National level in 2014 but for 2015 a High-School Class championship was has been created in the Senior series.
The Junior National championship was created for riders younger than 15 and will consist of three motorcycle classes (a class for youngsters racing 65cc motorcycles, an 85cc Class and a 85cc Senior Class) as well as a Junior Quad class.
RACING ACTION IN VENTERSDORP
Documentation from Friday (Feb 20) at the Rysmierbult National Off-road pits with racing to start on Saturday (Feb 21) at 7.30am with motorcycle and quad competitors competing in a 60km time trial. Junior motorcycle competitors will start at 8am with a two-hour race on a separate 20km route.
The Rysmierbult National Off-Road main event will start at 10.30am and competitors will race for 300km (on two 60km loops) for a total race distance of 360km.
Spectators and enthusiasts are invited to experience top-class off-road racing action about an hour from Johannesburg, off the N14 about 45km outside Ventersdorp (GPS points to race venue: S26° 17’ 58.61” E27° 08’ 44.62”).