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Bell 400 wrap: Battle in the dust

2013-07-23 09:15

DUEL IN THE DUST: Ruan Roberts claims his second consecutive victory of the 2013 SA National Off-road championship at the Bell 400. Image: Motorpics

VRYHEID, KwaZulu-Natal - Ruan Roberts (Yamaha) claimed his second consecutive victory in the motorcycle category of the 2013 SA National Off-road championship. Quad rider Brian Roberts (Yamaha) added a third victory to his list of wins in 2013.

Each won their respective category in the Bell 400, round five of the National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad championship event near Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal in July.


Roberts and Baragwanath took the lead early in a dry and dusty 360km race and held it for the duration of the six loops to add more points to their overall standings as well as in the OR1 (Open Class) championship and the Q1 Championship (quads).
In the motorcycle category, Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) survived a crash to finish second, just over four minutes behind Roberts with 19-year old Timmy Young (Yamaha) scoring his best result of the season finishing third overall. Young finished just over 1min 30 seconds behind Gilbert and winning the OR2 (250cc Class) Championship for the second time in 2013.

Young was followed by team mate Michael Pentecost, who continued his clean sweep of OR3 (200cc) victories even though he had no fifth gear during the last lap. Nicholas Pienaar (KTM – OR1) rounded off the top five after he lost time due to tyre problems and Altus de Wet (OR1) had to settle for sixth place after he lost some positions crashing on the fifth loop.

Dillon Inggs (KTM) finished second in OR2 behind Young and was seventh overall. Three minutes and a few seconds separated Pentecost (fourth) from Inggs and the riders fought some tight battles.

Jaycee Nienaber (Yamaha) claimed the second place in OR3 and was eighth with Charan Moore (Honda) ninth and Louw Schmidt (KTM) rounding off the top ten and winning OR4 (Under 21) for the fourth time this season. He finished just seven seconds behind Moore.


On four wheels the field behind Baragwanath was a bit more stretched out with the overall leader and defending title holder, Jurie Meyer (Yamaha), who suffered from the flu, finishing second, just over four minutes behind Baragwanath.

John Aylward (Yamaha) from Kokstad rounded off the podium after a clean run. André du Plessis (Yamaha) was fourth with the 2012 Junior National Champion, Jaco Moller (Yamaha) rounding off the top five. Damien Lee (Honda) was sixth and Rorke Millar (Can-Am) finished seventh after experiencing brake problems.

Before the BELL 400, a single point separated Millar from eighth-placed Freddie Taljaard (Suzuki) – this situation will stay as it is with Millar finishing a mere 10 seconds ahead of Taljaard after racing for just over six hours.

Danie Senekal (Yamaha) claimed his second top ten position – he was ninth with Mtubatuba’s Paul Chomse (Banshee) winning the Senior Class Championship and rounding off the top 10 albeit with a loose steering column.

Chomse strengthened his lead in the Senior Class Championship and was followed in this class by Kobus Erasmus (Suzuki) – he finished 12th overall – and Durban rider, Harry Timmerman (Can-Am) who was 17th overall.


On two wheels two young KZN riders finished just outside the top 10 – enduro specialists, Wade Young (Husaberg) and Scott Bouverie (KTM) started way back (they have not competed in the national off-road series this season) and worked their way up to finish 11th (second in OR4) and 12th (third in OR3) respectively (only 19 seconds separated them).

Another youngster, Tyron Miller (KTM) was 13th (third in OR2) while Marc Torlage (Yamaha) finished 14th and JC de Bruin (Yamaha) fifteenth after he lost time and places on the penultimate lap when he crashed.

Pieter Holl (KTM) claimed his third victory in the Senior Class (bikes) and was followed by his team-mate, Kobus Jonck with Justin Broughton (KTM) third. Wayne Farmer (KTM) experienced engine problems and could not finish the race.


There was some bad luck for OR1 competitors Bollie van Rooyen (KTM) and the Webster brothers, Jonathan and Chris (Yamaha). Van Rooyen fell and Jonathan crashed into the KTM and broke his wrist.

Van Rooyen had to call it a day and could not finish a national off-road race for the first time in six years. Chris experienced engine problems.

Some of the quad riders who could not finish the race include Dino do Amaral (KTM) who fell on the last lap while he was in the top five; Jacques Struwig (Suzuki) experienced mechanical problems while leading the Senior Class; the engine of Leonard dos Santos’ Suzuki let him down less than a kilometre into the race and Matthew Barnard (KTM) experienced battery problems while in the top five.


Martin Poole (Yamaha) won the Master Class on two wheels and was followed by Jan Berning (KTM) and Mike da Silva (Yamaha). On four wheels newcomer George Twigge (Can-Am) beat former champion, Jurie Meyer Sr by a mere 15 seconds with Tony dos Santos (Suzuki) third.

Four ladies – two on motorcycles and two on quads – finished the event with both the girls on the two-wheelers completing the full race distance (360km). After a race long battle Toni Jardine (KTM) narrowly beat Taye Perry (KTM) in the motorcycle category – Jardine finished fourth in OR4 with Perry ninth in OR1.

On four wheels Adi du Plessis (Suzuki) added a second victory to her list when she beat the current leader, Liezel Barnard (Can-Am) by just under three minutes. Chardri Monk (KTM) crashed and dislocated her shoulder.

Ceegan Laubscher (Yamaha) took his fist victory in the Silver Class Challenge (motorcycles) and was followed by Hein van Niekerk (Cayenne) and the current class leader, Mauritz Meiring (Yamaha) who crashed early in the race.

Berné Bester (Suzuki) was the winner of this class on four wheels – it was his third victory this season and he kept his class lead. Christiaan Nel (Suzuki) was second and Graham Howell (Suzuki) third.

The sixth and penultimate round of the 2013 SA National Off-road Championship, the GOC Rysmierbult National Off-road, will take place on August 10 near Ventersdorp/Carletonville in the North West.
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