Girls get rough in Desert race
TOUGH COOKIES: Adi du Plessis, Liezel Barnard (centre) and Chardri Monk at the Uis event in Namibia.Image: Supplied
Author: ELZA THIART
BOTSWANA - Two races, two days, two different winners doesn’t sound like much but could you ride 250km a day, battling extreme terrain, on a quad?
The competitors pulled out all the stops as they battled it out in the Ladies' Quad Class Challenge at the Mantshwabisi desert race in Botswana. The National series visited that country over June 20/21 for the third and fourth rounds of the 2013 National Off-Road Quad championship season.
The competitors had to cover about 250km a day it wasn't easy. The route consisted of sandy tracks between thorny bushes and some rocky sections while dry and dusty conditions forced them to be even more cautious.
Businesswoman and mother from Carletonville, Liezel Barnard, 36 (Can-Am), strengthened her lead in the Ladies Quad class after adding 45 points to her tally. She won the class in the third round on Day 1 and finished third in the fourth round after ending up in a donga and having to manoeuvre her heavy 1000cc four-wheeler out.
A consistent victory and second place gave 22-year-old Adi du Plessis of Polokwane second in class. Landing second during the previous day’s race gave her 47 points.
A cracked engine casing resulted in East London student Chardri Monk (22) not finishing her first day in the desert. She put up a brave fight on Day 2 – surviving a tumble and a wrist injury – to bring her KTM home second home in the second place, just behind Plessis after racing for almost five-and-a-half hours. She is now 20 points behind the Polokwane rider.
Only six of the seven events will count towards the title at the end of the season. At this stage Barnard has finished all the races and will have to get rid of a handful of points whereas both Plessis and Monk could not finish a race and can therefore ‘drop’ those results.
Three weeks before the ‘marathon’ event in Botswana, all three girls also competed in the FIM Africa Continental championship in Uis, Namibia. Team South Africa won the B9 Team Championship (Ladies Quads) after Plessis finished second and Barnard third in the class after an extremely tough event.
‘The Mantshwabisi’ also counted as a round of the Southern African Off-road Challenge and again the three ladies came out tops by finishing in the same positions as in the South African National series.
These girls have proved that no race is too tough for them and that they never give up – even with engine problems, crashing or ending up in a ditch.
The next round of the 2013 series takes place July 20 in the Vryheid area in KwaZulu-Natal.