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2014-02-05 10:06

MUD SLINGER: Andre du Plessis makes his way through a muddy trail during the Seeding Event at the 2014 SA National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad Championship in Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng. Image: Elza Thiart-Botes


BRONKHORSTSPRUIT, Gauteng - Heavy rain made Saturday's (Feb 1 2014) seeding event for the 2014 SA National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad championships  a wet 'n muddy affair, especially for quad competitors who had to cross flooding rivers on a dark and cloudy race day.

The area had had only 20mm of rain the previous week  but on Saturday morning 40mm fell in two hours. Then there was yet another obstacle the organisers, Gauteng Off-road Club, had to face: Although given permission by the local authority to host the event there was a high visibility of police because of riots in the town.

Police and the club discussed whether the event should go ahead and confirmation to proceed was eventually granted at about 10pm on Friday.


The weather cleared and about 300 off-road riders from all over South Africa competed in the seeding event to determine the start order for the opening rounds of the National and Northern Regions championships as well as the club series.

The quads took on the muddy and slippery route first and a number of the (no, the quads) drowned. Eventually four Q1 Class riders posted the fastest times. André du Plessis (Yamaha) took pole for the first race of the season with a fastest lap of 38min04.689. He was 2min47 faster than fellow Polokwane rider and defending title holder Jurie Meyer (Yamaha).

Meyer was only three seconds faster than former Junior National champion Jaco Moller and another Polokwane rider and former champion, Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha), was abouit 30sec further behind. Jacques Struwig (Suzuki) was fifth-fastest and fastest in the Senior Class, with Charles Lee (Suzuki) second and Stuart Freeman (Yamaha) third in class. Hannes Saaijman (Suzuki) was sixth overall and led the Q2 Class.

Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) was seventh-fastest (four seconds behind Saaijman), Damien Lee (Honda) was eighth, Bethlehem's  David Hollis (Yamaha) was ninth and Franco Annandale (Suzuki) 10th.

2013 Dakar Rally quad hero Sarel van Biljon (Can-Am) was back but had problems and finished 29th.


The Master Class battle will again be between defending champion Jurie Meyer Snr (Yamaha) and Tony dos Santos (Suzuki). The latter beat the champion by 43sec. Org Geldenhuys (Can-Am) was third. his wife Karen (Can-Am) was the fastest lady on four wheels with Maryna Venter (Honda) second.

Few competitors aged 14-16 entered the new High School class Wilmari Moller hopes to have more competition during the year. Karl Rost (Honda) won the Silver Class Challenge.

The track dried out somewhat before it was time for the motorcycle riders to tackle the 33km loop that included rocky sections and river crossings. There was a new name on the entry list: while all eyes were on the current and former champions Botswanan motocross and off-road rider Ross Branch took pole for the season's start.


Competitors had more than one opportunity to tackle the loop but the route deteriorated and although Gilbert did another lap he had to settle for the time posted during his first proble lap.

It was the first off-road event for Louwrens Mahoney (Brother KTM) since he crashed and broke an ankle in 2013 but the former champion was only three seconds behind Gilbert whose team mate Marc Torlage had to give up the final races of the 2013 season because of a back injury but is back and rounded off the top five – 13sec behind Mahoney after 33 km.

A blanket of just more than 90sec covered the top 10 finishers.

Ruan Roberts (Yamaha) was sixth-fastest, Dillon Inggs (Kawasaki) seventh and Young’s teammate Charan Moore eighth. All eight riders compete in the OR1 (Open Class). Altus de Wet (Husqvarna) was fastest in OR2 and ninth overall. Darren Pienaar (KTM) was second in OR2 (12th overall) and Jono van Wyk (KTM) rounded off the OR2 podium and right behind Pienaar overall.

There are a few new names in the Master Class championship where Garth Prost (Husqvarna) posted the fastest time. Jonck’s team mate Leon Gerber was second in this class followed by Iain Pinkerton (KTM).

It was a tough track for women riders; 2013 Ladies Class Challenge winner Toni Jardine (KTM) beat Gerber’s team mate Taye Perry. It seems the 2013 title battle between these two girls will continue this year.

The new High School class received a healthy entry (17) and Ladybrand rider Reghardt van Nieuwenhuizen (KTM) was fastest. A motocross race earlier the same day didn't slow Brendon Fourie (Kawasaki) - he posted second-fastest - while Alex O’Donnell Yamaha) was third fastest.

Youngster Craig Wishart (Husqvarna) was the fastest in the Silver Class Challenge.

Competitors in the National Off-road championship now have five weeks to prepare for Round 1 of the 2014 season on March 8 in the Wolmaransstad area of North-West Province.

Read more on:    bronkhorstspruit  |  bikes

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