SA Off-road champs kick off

2013-03-04 16:55

The Vogelstruispan 200 might have only been 180km long, but it has most probably already earned its place as one of the most demanding races of the 2013 SA National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad championship.

Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) and Jurie Meyer (Yamaha) have showed why they are the defending 2012 title holders of the motorcycle and quad categories respectively when they won their category at this sandy race outside Bela Bela.

Mahoney, who has won all the rounds of the 2012 national championship, admitted that it was a tough race and that his high level of fitness played a major role in his victory.

Seven minutes behind him was Nicholas Pienaar (KTM), finished a 24 seconds ahead of Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha). Seventeen year old Michael Pentecost (Yamaha) caused a little bit of an upset when he finished fourth (he won the OR3 / 200cc Class) while Altus de Wet provided Husqvarna SA with their first result in the local national off-road championship by finishing fifth overall.

On four wheels Meyer, who also won Q1, claimed the victory, but only 25 seconds separated him from Jacques Struwig (Suzuki) who now competes in the Senior Class Championship. Struwig passed John Aylward (Yamaha), who struggled somewhat with his fitness, just after the halfway mark. Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) won Q2 and finished fourth overall with Stefan Swanepoel (Honda) six seconds behind him in fifth place.

Both Brian Baragwanath (Lonestar PEP EMD BB Motorsport Yamaha) and André du Plessis (Evolution Racing Suzuki) who started on the front row experienced some bad luck. Baragwanath had to call it a day while leading when a bolt broke on the broken rear shock absorber resulting in the shock damaging the electrical system irreparably. Du Plessis’ quad overheated and he had to settle for 15th place in the Q1 Championship. Danie Erasmus (Suzuki) was sixth overall (4th in Q1) followed by the 2012 Junior National Champion, Jaco Moller (Suzuki) who crashed, but still finished seventh. Rorke Millar (Can-Am) was eighth and beat Jay-Zet Potgieter (Suzuki) by 35 seconds while Freddie Taljaard (Suzuki) rounded off the top 10.

A few tight battles took place on the short 60km track and one of these was between De Wet and JC de Bruyn (Yamaha) in the motorcycle category. The privateer (De Bruyn) missed the top five by only 11 seconds and had to settle for sixth place with Juan van Rooyen (KTM) finishing seventh, just ahead of Ruan Roberts (Beta). Chris Webster (Yamaha) had to fight his way open after starting a few rows behind the front runners due to a problematic qualifying time. He was ninth, only 36 seconds ahead of the OR2 (250cc) winner, Vincent Crosbie (KTM) who rounded off the top ten.

Francois de Greef (KTM) was second in OR2 (11th overall) with Jono van Wyk (KTM) third in this class. Another former Junior National Championship competitor, Jaycee Nienaber (Yamaha) finished second behind Pentecost in OR3 with Renier Kotze (KTM) rounding off the OR3 podium. KTM’s Louw Schmidt won the OR4 / Under 21 Class while junior rider, Mauritz Meiring (Yamaha) won the Silver Class Challenge after competing in his first national event. Also in the top 15 was Mark Garland (Yamaha) who finished 12th and Jono Webster (Yamaha), who is still recovering from a knee operation, who was 15th.

Between the unlucky ones was Dakar Rally hero, Riaan van Niekerk (KTM) who experienced mechanical problems towards the end of the race while he was in the top ten – the same happened to Dillon Inggs (KTM) – while Timmy Young (Yamaha) was halted by gearbox problems and Michael Creevy (Husqvarna) crashed into a tree.


A new name appeared at the top of the Senior Class in the motorcycle category – Pieter Holl (KTM) won this class first time out. Justin Broughton (KTM) was somewhat behind in second place while Dennis Williams (KTM) rounded off the podium. On four wheels Russell Ferreira (Honda) had to settle for second place behind Senior Class newbie (Struwig) while Kobus Erasmus (Suzuki) rounded off the podium.

Jurie Meyer’s dad, Jurie Senior (Yamaha), took the victory in the Master Class for quad competitors older than 46 years when he beat Tony dos Santos (Suzuki) by 42 seconds. Peter Schenk (Honda) was somewhat behind in third place.

On two wheels the Master Class was won by yet another KTM rider, Leon Gerber who had a comfortable lead ahead of Martin Poole (Yamaha) and Nicholas Kirk (Yamaha) with the demanding track taking its toll on the more “senior” competitors.

Graeme Howell (Suzuki) won the Silver Class Challenge (quads) while Chardri Monk (KTM) made a great comeback after a back injury last year to win the Ladies Quad Class even though her quad’s rear shock blew early in the race. It is the first year that female motorcycle competitors can compete in their own class and Kirsten Landman (KTM) became the first winner for 2013.

Competitors have just less than two months to work on their fitness before taking on the second round of the 2013 National Championship on 27 April in the Bronkhorstspruit area.