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Everybody wins at Namaqua African Rally

2014-05-06 08:14


OVERALL LADY WINNER: Toni Jardine (KTM) won the Ladies' race after a nail-biting finish with her bike giving up on her during the last day. She was 17th overall and won the M1.1 class. Image: ETdotKomm

NAMAQUA AFRICAN RALLY:  April 25 - May 3 2014, Vredendal on the Cape West  Coast, South Africa

Everybody who participated in the Namaqua African Rally, a multi-stage navigational event for motorcycle and quad riders held over nine days in the Western Cape, is a winner and those who received the chequered flag after racing for five days are part of a little history made in South Africa.

Brett Cummings, 31, from eMalahleni / Witbank in Mpumalanga, a multiple finisher of the Dakar Rally, became the first winner of the Namaqua African Rally after he took the lead on Tuesday (April 29) despite towing his biggest rival, the defending National Off-Road motorcycle champion, Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) on the same day when Gilbert ran out of fuel.


The racing action started on Sunday with a 46km Prologue that determined the start positions for Monday. The smooth gravel roads suited the quad competitors, who raced after the bikers, perfectly and most bikers - including Cummings and Gilbert - had to eat their dust on Monday.

GALLERY: 2014 Namaqua African Rally

A combination of racing and organisational issues complicated the day’s results and the defending quad champion, Jurie ‘Botter’ Meyer (Yamaha Race Support) took over the lead from the Prologue winner, Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) who also competed on a quad.

The bikers then made their voices heard and after solid performances – and some bad luck and mechanical problems for a few quad riders – they took the lead after Tuesday’s stage and kept it to the end with Cummings (he claimed two stage victories) winning the prize money of R100 000 for his victory.

Gilbert won three of the racing stages during the event but lost time when the mousse in his rear tyre collapsed on Thursday and he ran out of fuel.  He was still happy with his result and the prize money of R50 000 after his first "rally raid" event.


Baragwanath fought an uphill battle after losing the lead on Tuesday. He not only had mechanical problems but also got lost and had issues with his navigation system but, after starting Tuesday behind about 40 riders, worked his way back to finish the race as the winner of the quad category and rounding off the overall podium – and claiming R25 000 for his effort.

The quad riders claimed three of the top seven places with Meyer, who also had his fair share of mechanical issues and towed fellow quad rider Stefan Swanepoel, for the best part of Friday’s final racing section, finishing fifth overall.

Roger Kane-Berman (KTM) who had not participated in a race before, survived a crash or two to finish fourth overall.

Adrian Storm (KTM) had a consistent race and was sixth with Swanepoel seventh overall. Botswanan rider Neil Gailey (KTM) was happy with his eighth in preparation for his participation in the Australasian Safari later this year.

2012 Dakar Rally finisher Greg Raaff (KTM) is also not a regular competitor but made ninth with Willem du Toit (KTM) rounding off the overall top 10.


Of the 67 competitors who started the race, 54 finished. The list of finishers also included competitors who could not reach the finish on one or more of the days but who took the "bail out" choice and started the race again the next day. They included:

• Local Vredendal winemaker Dewald Huisamen (KTM) who had tyre problems on Thursday but raced again on Friday to ensure he was a finisher.
• Quad rider Hannes Saaijman whose Yamaha Raptor's engine seized on Tuesday (he rebuilt it during the rest day on Wednesday and was ninth fastest on Thursday!).
• Cape Town quad-builder John Graham (Yamaha) who not only had to fix a problematic engine but also ran out of fuel reached the finish on Friday.
• Quad rider Paul dos Santos (Suzuki) who had gearbox problems but also finished.
• Two of the three Dos Santos brothers from Hoedspruit achieved their goal and completed the event with Tony (50) 40th overall.

The battle between the lady riders continued to the end:

• Toni Jardine (KTM) won after a nail-biting finish with her bike giving up on her during the last day. She still managed 17th overall and won the M1.1 class (see explanation of classes below).
• Taye Perry (KTM) didn't give up the fight, finished in the top 20 (19th overall) and she won the M1.2 Class.

Both girls recovered from a crash or two during the event and had some niggling mechanical issues – Perry raced many kilometres with bent forks after a crash and experienced tyre problems on the penultimate day and Jardine’s KTM had oil problems – but they persevered to complete their first "rally raid" and are now aiming for even bigger things.


On four wheels, Liezel Barnard (Can-Am) could not finish Thursday’s race due to a broken belt but started again on Friday. It was, however, not meant to be as the prop shaft on her big Renegade 4x4 broke. Her husband Banie gave up his race in support of his wife who, like the three other ladies, will all compete this coming weekend in the Bell 400 National Off-Road championship event at Vryheid in kwaZulu-Natal.

Chardri Monk (Yamaha) also overcame a few small issues during the race to finish 35th overall.

Also in the overall top 20 were:

• Brian Bontekoning (KTM) who finished 11th overall.
• Garth Roberts (KTM) who was one of the six team members who started and completed the event – he was 12th overall.
• The rider from Iceland, Thorarinn Einarsson (KTM), who completed his first race 13th.
• Hennie Blignaut (Yamaha) who was 14th overall and fourth in the quad category.
• Mark Schnaar-Campbell (KTM) who rounded off the top 15.
• Team Bavaria BMW’s Peter Bosman finished 16th overall
• Johan Janse van Rensburg (KTM) was 18th and Dewald Janse van Rensburg (Kawasaki) 20th overall.

Three quad riders were between the four bikers just outside the top 20:

• Veteran quad rider Jacques ‘Boesman’ Struwig (DS650) experienced a few problems during the race and finished 21st (36sec behind Van Rensburg in 20th).
• Dewald Theron was the first Can-Am Renegade 4x4 quad rider to bring one of these big quads home – he finished 22nd.
• Ted Barbier (Yamaha) was 24th after a consistent race.
• Joey Evans (KTM) was sandwiched between the quaddies in 23rd.  

Event organiser George Booker said after the event: “We thank every individual, company and organisation involved in the success of South Africa’s first Namaqua African Rally.


"Congratulations to Brett Cummings for winning. As a finisher of two Dakar events he knows all about navigation and he knew how to tackle a multi-stage event and we are proud to have one of South Africa’s international stars winning the race.

“We were honoured to have had so many of SA’s off-road competitors, including champions and former champions, participating while we were glad that many non-competitors and riders of Adventure bikes joined in the fun.

"We would like to thank the community of Vredendal for embracing this event and we look forward to their return in a year as we have already started planning the 2015 Namaqua African Rally."

He also thanked the sponsors, among them (Wheels24 doesn't usually name sponsors, but we're making an exception for this special event - Editor) Namaqua Wines, Brent Oil, Mitsubishi Motors and Junior Smith Trucking for transporting  the motorcycles and quads between Johannesburg and the Cape.

Did YOU take any great (or even not so great!) pictures during the rally? email them to Wheels24 with the name of the rider/quadder and a brief caption and we'll add to the image gallery on this report.

Class M1.1
1  Toni Jardine (KTM)
2  Paul Bredenkamp (Team Roberts Racing Rallye KTM)
Class M1.2
1  Taye Perry (Bert Smith All Stars Racing Powered by RAD KTM)
2  Dewald Janse van Rensburg (
3  Chris Opperman
Class M1.3
1  Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha)
2  Kevin Thompson
3  Roger-John Faulkner-Smith (Team Bavarian BMW)
Class M2.2
1  Willem du Toit (KTM)
2  Joey Evans (KTM)
3  Simon Schimmel (Team Roberts Racing Rallye KTM)
Class M2.3
1  Adrian Storm (Automation Products KTM)
2  Brian Bontekoning (KTM)
3  Peter Bosman (Team Bavarian BMW)
Class M3.1
1  Brett Cummings (KTM)
2  Roger Kane-Berman (KTM)
3  Greg Raaff (KTM)
Class M3.2
1  Neil Gailey (KTM)
2  Garth Roberts (Team Roberts Racing Ralley KTM)
3  Kurt Strahlendorf (KTM)
Class Q1.1
1  Jurie Meyer (Yamaha Race Support)
2  Tony dos Santos (Factory Racing Suzuki)
3  Paul dos Santos (Factory Racing Suzuki)
Class Q1.2
1  Brian Baragwanath (Team Rhide SA Yamaha)
2  Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha)
3  Hennie Blignaut (Yamaha)
Class Q3 Shared Quads
1  Milton Thesen / Roger Barnes (Yamaha)
Ladies Class
1  Toni Jardine (KTM)
2  Taye Perry (Bert Smith All Stars Racing Powered by RAD KTM)
3   Chardri Monk (Team Thesens Generators Yamaha)

M1.1 Lites Bikes up to 250cc
M1.2 Lites Bikes up to 450cc
M1.3 Lites Bikes bigger than 450cc and up to 1200cc
M2.2 Production Bikes up to 450cc
M2.3 Production Bikes
M3.1 Super Production Bikes
M3.2 Super Production Bikes 450cc
Q1.1 Quads up to 450cc
Q1.2 Quads Unlimited
Q3 Shared Quad Cl

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