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Tough battle at Stella 400

2014-06-17 13:58


CHAMPIONS STEP UP: Brian Baragwanath (left) and Ross Branch were the Round 4 overall winners at the Stella 400 event on Saturday. Image: ELZA THIART-BOTES

Round 4: SA National Off-road Motorcycle & Quad Championship
14 June 2014 (Stella, North West Province)

STELLA, North West - Botswana off-road motorcycle rider, Ross Branch (KTM) and Pretoria quad rider, Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) became the first winners of the inaugural Vryburg Stella 400 National event held in the North West Province.

Baragwanath has been victorious in the quad category at all four rounds of the 2014 championship while Branch has been on the top step of the podium in the motorcycle category for the second consecutive race.

The dry and dusty 360km race proved to be quite challenging with tight battles raging in the various class championships. Motorcycle competitors Tim Young (Yamaha),  Nicholas Pienaar (KTM) and Bruce Viljoen (Husqvarna) experienced problems on the last of the race’s six 60km laps and had to call it a day.


Behind Branch, his team mate Louwrens Mahoney lost time when he picked up a wire he had to remove from his bike. Branch was then engrossed in a race-long battle with the defending champion, Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) who settled for third when the former champion overtook him on the last lap.

Mahoney then chased Branch and eventually finished only six seconds behind the Botswana rider. He was second behind Branch in the OR1 (Open Class) Championship with Gilbert picking up the final podium position in OR1.


On four wheels the defending champion, Jurie ‘Botter’ Meyer (Yamaha) was the thirteenth quad off the start line, but he hunted Baragwanath down and finished second (2min19 seconds down) despite a flat tyre and removing wire from his quad.

Fellow Polokwane rider, Andre du Plessis (Yamaha) was riding hard in secondd, but had to call it a day due to a broken frame. The Tzaneen teenager, Jaco Moller (Yamaha) raced consistently to claim his second national podium result this season. Baragwanath, Meyer and Moller also claimed the podium positions in the Q1 Championship.

Andre Park (Yamaha) fought his way to fourth overall (fourth in Q1) with David Hollis (Yamaha) rounding off the overall top five as well as the Q1 Championship. Stuart Freeman (Yamaha) finished only 15 seconds behind Hollis to claim his third Senior Class victory with his team mate and the Senior Class leader, Russell Ferreira (Honda), finished second in the class and eighth overall.

Jaco Venter (Honda) missed the last two national races, but finished seventh overall (sixth in Q1) with Paul dos Santos (Suzuki) ninth overall and third in the Senior Class; Hannes Annandale (Suzuki) was 10th overall and the Q2 winner.

Hannes Saaijman (Suzuki) finished second in Q2 and 11th overall after numerous problems with fuses; Peter Walter (PS Diamond Trailers Yamaha) was 12th overall and fourth in the Senior Class and Ted Barbier (Yamaha) was fifth in the Senior Class Championship.

TOP 10
KTM team mates, Tyron Miller and Louw Schmidt picked up the OR2 (250cc) and OR3 (200cc) class victories and finished fourth and sixth respectively and sandwiched OR1 rider, Dillon Inggs (Kawasaki) who was fifth overall. Only 10 seconds separated Charan Moore (Yamaha) in seventh from Roan Lindsay, who clinched second behind Miller in OR2, while Hein Junior van Niekerk, who rounded off the overall top 10, claimed third in OR2. Bernard McGee was ninth overall and second in OR3 with Taki Bogiages rounding off the OR3 podium.

Estiaan Steenkamp (Husqvarna) missed his second consecutive top 10 to finish 11th, seven seconds ahead of Jaycee Nienaber (Yamaha) who was 12th overall and six seconds ahead of his team mate, Darren McLeod. Wade Blaauw (Yamaha) finished 14th overall with the defending Senior Class champion, Pieter Holl (Bert Smith Racing KTM) claiming the Senior Class victory for the first time in 2014 and finished 15th overall.

Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (KTM), who won the Senior Class at the previous three events, had to settle for second place after experiencing problems with a leaking radiator with another former class champion, Guy Henley (KTM) rounding off the podium. There were problems late in the race for Ian Venter (KTM) who had to call it a day during the fifth lap while the KTM of Wayne Farmer seized during the second loop.

In other championship classes Adrian Storm (KTM) claimed his third victory in the Master Class in the motorcycle category with Jan Berning (KTM) second; Kevern Pelser (KTM) third and Leonard Evans (KTM) fourth. This class in the quad category was won by George Twigge (Yamaha) after a close battle with the defending champion, Jurie Meyer (Yamaha) who finished second. After not finishing the previous event, Tony dos Santos (Suzuki) was back on the podium with Peter Schenk fourth and George Michaelides rounded off the top five.

The Combined Ladies Class Championship was won by Liezel Barnard (Can-Am) who also claimed the victory in the Ladies Quad Class. Chardri Monk (Yamaha) was second on four wheels and in this new championship with Maryna Venter (Honda) third. Taye Perry (KTM) won the Ladies Class in the motorcycle category with Anais Steenkamp (Kawasaki) second. They finished fourth and fifth respectively in the Combined Ladies Class Championship.

In the High School Class for young motorcycle riders between the ages of 14 and 16, Brendon Fourie (Kawasaki) claimed his third victory to stay in the lead of this championship. Eduan Bester (Yamaha) was second with Cilliers Fourie (KTM) third. Alastair Drennan (KTM) crashed and broke his collarbone while Dean Lindsay experienced gearbox problems. Nicholas Mauerberger (Yamaha) was fourth; Dion Oosthuizen (KTM) finished fifth and Patrick Moore (Honda) was sixth.

Newcomer John-Ross Niemand (Suzuki) won this class on four wheels with the class leader, Ramon Lopez (Honda) second and local Stella rider, Ruan Stander (Yamaha) third.

Karl Rost clinched his third Silver Class Challenge victory in the quad category with Uitenhage rider, Shaun Mostert (KTM) winning this class for the first time this season on two wheels. Gert van den Berg (KTM) was second with Byron McNeil (Yamaha) third.

The fifth and penultimate round of the National Off-road Championship will take place on August 23 in the Frankfort / Reitz area in the Free State.
Read more on:    north west  |  off-road  |  motorsport

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