Battle of Caledon for off-roaders

2012-03-20 10:43

The Caledon area of the Western Cape will be the battleground for Round 2 of the 2012 SA National Off-Road Motorcycle and Quad championship when competitors tackle the Caledon Casino 400.

The event will be run over March 23/24.

The race, the first of its kind in the area, is being organised by the Western Province ATV Club. All the action, including start/finish and the service park, will be at the Caledon Casino and the racing will be over two 90km loops.


It will be a real challenge to National competitors from as far as Swaziland, Makhado (Louis Trichardt), kwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Kimberley, the Free State and the rest of the Cape provinces.

Defending motorcycle title holder and OR1 champion Jade Gutzeit (Yamaha) and former quad winner Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) will both want maximum points after a disastrous opening race which Gutzeit did not finish and Baragwanath experience mechanical problems and seventh place.

Ahead of them the overall leaders – Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) on two wheels and Giacomo Antiga (Can-Am) who is leading the quad category – will aim for another victory and to stretch their lead in the OR1 (Open) and Q1 championships respectively.

On two wheels, Kenny Gilbert (KTM) is second overall and in OR1 and will hope his set-up is 100% for this event; Juan “Bollie” van Rooyen (Kawasaki), third in this class (fourth overall), has shown he cannot be left out of the picture. The Webster brothers, Chris and Jonathan, (Yamaha) are fourth and eighth in OR1. Honda riders Philip Mayhew, Laurie Murton and CJ Blackman and Mark Garland (Yamaha) who is fifth, would all like to better their positions.


Montagu rider Altus de Wet (KTM) finished third overall at the opening race and won OR2 (250cc). He has won in the Cape before and a good result in front of his home crowd, as well as stretching his lead over arch-rival Marc Torlage (Yamaha) who is second in OR2, will be his goals.

His team mate, defending OR2 champion Riaan van Niekerk, did not finish the first race so will want to make up for lost points; Timothy Young (Yamaha), who was leading the race at one stage, will also want to shine. Wade Blaauw (Yamaha); Dillon Inggs (KTM) and Jono van Wyk (KTM) round off the OR2 top five.

In the OR3 championship (OR3 and OR4 combined) former Junior off-road competitor Michael Pentecost (Yamaha) is leading after winning this class and finishing sixth overall after his first Senior off-road event. This class brims with young talent and he will be chased by Michael Creevy (KTM) who is second; Meiring Vermeulen (Yamaha) who won OR4; Bradley van Aswegen (Yamaha) and Botswana’s Ian Dykes (KTM) who rounds off the top five.

Some new names and faces surfaced behind Antiga in the quad category with former Junior competitor Jurie Meyer (Yamaha Support) and Damien Lee (Honda) reaching the podium after the first event. Another newcomer to the National championship, John Aylward (Yamaha) from KZN, is fourth and they all have a point to make to the regular and more experienced riders behind them.


The regular front-runners include Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) who is leading Q2 and is fifth overall; André du Plessis (Suzuki) who is just behind him on the overall standings and one point ahead of Baragwanath with Makhado’s Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) a point behind the former champion. They are followed by more former Junior competitors who now have a foot in the top 10.

Local hero Cornel Kannemeyer (Suzuki) did not compete in the first race and would like to have a good run on home soil together with more experienced Cape riders Clive Crouse (Yamaha) and Colin Joubert who competed at National level a few years ago.

Numbers in the Senior Quad Class have been bolstered by local entrants where former National Cape riders such as Jacques de Bruyn (Yamaha); Johan van Lill (Yamaha) and Louwrens Vervaart (Can-Am) will compete with class leader Amanda Eardley (Can-Am); Roxy dos Santos (Suzuki) who is just behind her; Willie Roos and Peter Schenk (Honda).

The battle between defending Senior Class motorcycle champion Wayne Farmer (Gas Gas) and Guy Henley (Kawasaki) will continue with enduro rider Stephen Landman (Suzuki) who would like to finish higher up on the podium while the Cape’s Dakar hero, Albert Hintenaus (KTM) would like to show his steel at this event.


Defending Master Class champions Neil Gailey (KTM) on two wheels and quad rider Jurie Meyer (Yamaha Support) will both continue to defend their titles in the Cape while Eardley will aim for another victory in both the Q3 Utility Class and the Ladies Quad Class where a few ‘new’ ladies - including the Cape’s defending champion Melissa van Rensburg (Kawasaki) - will be on the grid.
Louw Schmidt (Suzuki) is leading the Silver Motorcycle Class Challenge and will look for another victory while a new winner can emerge in the Silver Quad Class.

The Caledon Casino 400 will start on Friday, March 23, with a 60km timed trial that will determine the starting order for the next day when motorcycle and quad competitors will depart on separate loops at 8am.

The two-wheelers will have to complete one loop twice while the quads are busy with the other before they change over to do the opposite loop twice.