FIGHTING FOR FIRST: Jade Schutte is second in the Combined Ladies Class championship. Image: ActionInMotion
STELLA, North-West - The Kalahari beckons and it is time for the 2015 Junior and Senior Off-Road championships to head to Stella where Round 4 of the Totpak National Championship and Round 3 of the Raslouw Academy Junior National Championship will take place on Saturday, June 6.
The people from the area, known as the ‘Texas of South Africa’ due to the large cattle farms, are looking forward to welcome the racing community to the Stella Bush2Bush challenge for the second year running.
NO ROOM FOR ERROR
The championships have reached crucial stages with only four races in the Senior series and three events for the Juniors remaining. The points of the best six of the seven races will count towards the standings at the end of the year and can change the current standings.
The Kalahari has always been special to many off-road competitors and this event will be no different. Louwrens Mahoney and Botswana rider Ross Branch will again be at each other’s throat in the OR1 (Open) championship while Michael Pentecost (Yamaha), who shares the lead with Branch, and Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) will both aim for another class win. Jonathan Webster (Yamaha) is just behind Branch and Pentecost with Gilbert and Mahoney hot on his wheels.
Standings in the OR2 (250cc) championship, has changed after every race with Jaycee Nienaber (Yamaha) currently leading Louw Schmidt (KTM) despite the latter’s two victories. Nienaber finished as the runner-up after each race.
Nicholas Pienaar (Husqvarna) is third while Nienaber’s team mate Roan Lindsay will compete after breaking a wrist at Mooi River. Schmidt’s team mate, Tyron Miller, will aim to make up for lost points and to better his seventh place.
Local Mafikeng rider Jarryd Coetzee (KTM) might be more used to desert terrain and will put it to good use when chasing triple OR3 (200cc) winner and class leader, Brett Swanepoel (Yamaha). Darren MaCleod (Yamaha) is third while both Wilhelm Schonfeldt (Yamaha) and Botswana’s Dartagnan Lobjoit (Yamaha) will aim for a fourth set of good points.
Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (KTM) will aim for a third victory to keep his lead in the Senior Class championship. Being the runner-up after three races is not what Wayne Farmer (KTM) likes and the battle will be on between defending champion (Van Rooyen) and the multiple former Senior Class champion (Farmer).
The competition in the Master Class championship has been tough this season and each of the three events produced a new winner. Wade Miller is leading albeit by a mere two points. Winner of the season opener Ian Venter (KTM) and Martin Poole (Yamaha) are sharing points behind Miller.
The situation in the High School Class championship is as interesting with three different winners and the same three riders sharing the podium at each race. Defending champion Eduan Bester (KTM) leads Dean Lindsay by two points while Brendon Fourie (Kawasaki) is two points behind.
In the Q1 championship in the Quad category, the battle will again be on between defending champion Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) and Stefan Swanepoel a point behind.
Stuart Freeman (Yamaha) has a comfortable lead in the Senior Class Championship, but that will not mean defending champion Russell Ferreira (Honda) or Paul dos Santos (Suzuki) will not go for a race victory.
An even fight is brewing in the Master Class where defending champion George Twigge (Yamaha) and George Michaelides (Yamaha) are on even points at the front.
Ryno Trichardt (Yamaha) has a clean record in the High School Class Championship and leads Keenan Hammon (KTM) with local Stella rider, Ruan Stander (Yamaha) in third.
Tzaneen girl, Wilmarie Mollerm (16) leads the Motorcycles and Quad ladies in the Combined Ladies Class championship with Jade Schutte (Yamaha) second. Defending champion Quad competitor Liezel Barnard (Can-Am) is third. Her team mate in the motorcycle category Taye Perry (KTM) is fourth. Eight ladies have entered the Stella race and interesting results can be expected.
Gerhard Grove (Yamaha) and Nicholas Mauerberger (Yamaha) will battle it out on two wheels in the Silver Class challenge with Grove aiming for a third victory.
The ‘young lions’, the junior competitors aged between 7 to 14 who are competing in the four classes in the Raslouw Academy Junior National championship (the 65cc Class, 85cc Class and Senior 85cc Class in the motorcycle category and the Junior Quad Class), will race in the Kalahari for the first time.
They compete on a separate 20km loop and race for two hours.
Racing starts on Saturday (June 6) at 7.30am when the Motorcycle and Quad competitors tackle a 60km time-trial that will determine the starting order for their race that will start at 10.30am. They will complete 360km on separate loops. The Junior Motorcycle riders will tackle their two-hour race at 8am, the Junior Quads will race at noon.
The Stella Bush2Bush Challenge is a round of the Northern Regions championship. Racing starts and finishes at the Stella Beesfees grounds.
Visit the dirtracing website for more information.