Fire stops Bell Junior National

2012-07-17 07:41

A veld fire that started in the second half of the Bell Junior National motorcycle race forced the organisers to stop the event.

The event, on Saturday July 14, was Round 4 of the 2012 Junior National Off-road championship. The quad competitors had  completed their racing section during the morning and their results stand.

The cause of the fire, which was fuelled by a strong wind and extremely dry conditions, is not known but it seems highly unlikely that it was racing-related. Nobody was hurt and, except for damages to the property, there was no damage to vehicles or race equipment.


Organisers Zululand Motorsport, which also ran the previous weekend’s Bell 300 National off-road race, were praised for their evacuation plan and quick response.

The morning's Junior and Senior quad classes were mostly made up of competitors who had travelled from the Western Cape and were rewarded with points.

Tzaneen’s Jaco Moller (Suzuki, pictured)) took his third victory of the season in the Senior Open Quad Class when he beat Capetonian Kevin Crouse (Yamaha) who survived a tumble and finished the race without any engine oil. He was only 52 seconds behind Moller after racing for almost three hours on a 42km loop outside Hluhluwe.

It was his best result so far this season.

Crouse had a lead of just over eight minutes from Adriaan Uys (Kawasaki) who was third. Uys took a wrong turn early in the race and could not recover the lost time though he will keep his second place in the overall championship standings behind Moller.

The Cape’s Joshua Schenk (Yamaha Support) raced with tyres that were not ideal for the terrain but still managed fourth and will keep his third place on the overall championship standings. Schenk was followed by fellow Capetonian Dillon Joubert (Yamaha) with Berne Bester (Suzuki) sixth in his first event at National level. The Cape’s Wiam ‘Tjoppie’ Nutt  (Suzuki) rounded off the top seven.


The top two positions in the Junior Open Quad Class for competitors aged 10-15 were filled by riders from the Western Cape. Tyrone Renwick (Yamaha) claimed his third victory of the season by finishing just more than nine minutes ahead of Eathan van Rensburg on another Yamaha.

A young lady from Richard’s Bay, Jade Schutte (Yamaha) was third and will keep her lead in the class although Renwick, who is second after he could not finish the Montagu event, has now moved closer. Newcomer Janco Joubert (Honda) was fourth after only his second National race with Tristan Joubert (Yamaha) fifth after losing time through mechanical problems.

There were only two competitors in the Junior Modified Quad Class and Wilmarie Moller took her first win of the season while Brodie Jacobs (Yamaha) had to play second fiddle for the first time this year after mechanical problems. He still leads the class after three earlier wins.

The standings could change towards the end of the season when competitors drop the points of one event; only six of the seven races count for titles.


Meanwhile planning has started for the 2013 Junior National championship series; competitors and sponsors can contact Motorsport South Africa.

Round 5 of the 2012 Junior National championship, the Junior Diamond Route, is a new event on the National calendar and will take place on August 11 at the same venue outside Wolmaransstad in North-West Province where a very successful Senior off-road event was raced earlier in 2012.

The event will be organised by the Verwes Club and more information will be available on www.mqoecommission.co.za or www.motorsport.co.za