SA Motorcycle: Ermelo Toyota 400 preview

ERMELO TOYOTA 400 TO DETERMINE MOTORCYCLE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES When the competitors in the SA National Off-road Motorcycle Championship take their positions on the starting grid of the Ermelo Toyota 400, the final race of the 2008...

ERMELO TOYOTA 400 TO DETERMINE MOTORCYCLE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES

When the competitors in the SA National Off-road Motorcycle Championship take their positions on the starting grid of the Ermelo Toyota 400, the final race of the 2008 season, various riders will do so with their eyes on a title.

Only two class titles have been decided - Riaan van Niekerk (DCM AGA LG Red Bull KTM) is the 200cc Class champion and the 2008 overall winner while young Dillon Inggs (Shimwells Yamaha) has won the 125cc Class title. The rest of the titles are still up for grabs and Mpumalanga will be the battlefield.

All three the top riders in the Open Class stand a chance of winning this title. On the current points' standings, Jean "Bollie" van Rooyen (Sadiba Out of Africa Campbell Kawasaki) is leading Clayton Enslin (Natro Freight Motorite Shimwells Yamaha) and Gavin Louw (The Roost Kawasaki).

There are, however, a small technical point to keep in mind - only seven of the eight races count towards the championship and therefore, a rider who has completed and scored points at each event, will have to throw away their worst score AND it can not be the result scored at Ermelo. Both Van Rooyen and Louw will still have to do just that while Enslin, who has also scored at each event, but has withdrawn from the Red Cherry 400, will not have to drop any points.

Wynand Kleynhans (Honda ORD Racing) is fourth, but also stands a chance of finishing on the final podium.

The battle for the title in the 250cc Class will be between the current leader, Wynand Delport (Shimwells Yamaha) and Laurence Murton (Sadiba Out of Africa Campbell Kawasaki), both of whom who will also have to get rid of some points. And after deducting points, a mere eight points separate them. And although third-placed Len du Toit (Shimwells Yamaha) can not catch Delport, he is within reach of Murton with three more racers able to finish on the 250cc Class podium for the year - Theo Potgieter (Ramco Suzuki), his team-mate, Deon Enslin as well as Du Toit's team-mate, Luciano Greyling.

In the 200cc Class, Lanie van der Walt (KTM) will also have no pressure as he is safe in second place, but only five points separate the next four riders - Gert Leenstra (ECS Natro Freight Alfie Cox KTM); Jarrod Blackman (Honda ORD Racing) and Brett Cummings (Sadiba Out of Africa Campbell Kawasaki) who share the same amount of points and Brett Lewis (KTM Cape Town) who has not competed in the last three events.

The competition in the 125cc Class has been stiff throughout the season with Inggs winning three races and scoring podium positions at the rest (except for the KZN event which he could not finish) and Ruan Roberts (DCM AGA LG Red Bull KTM) winning the rest. Second-placed Brandon Bouwer (Ramco Suzuki) is Mr Consistency and will battle it out with Roberts to keep his position - these three youngsters have already claimed the overall podium for the season and the rest of the pack will try to better their positions in the class championship.

In the Senior Class, it is all about the leader, Wayne Farmer (World of Accessories Gas Gas) and second-placed Brian Bader (The Roost Kawasaki) - both can brag with a few victories behind their name and it will be make or break at the Ermelo Toyota 400. Shaun Kirk (Ramco Suzuki) is not too safe in third place and is within reach of fourth-placed Gerrit Ferreira with the rest of the frontrunners a bit further back, but within a few points of each other.

Henk Leenstra (ECS Natro Freight Alfie Cox KTM) is leading the Master Class from Charles Crossley while James Beeslaar (Metal Connecton Yamaha) is leading the Silver Class Challenge from Wynand Gloy (Shimwells Yamaha).

But even though there are titles up for grabs, it will be about winning the Ermelo Toyota 400 as well and this will be the aim for the 2007 winner, Enslin, who can score a hat-trick for 2008 if he can do so. But his team- mate, Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha), who does not stand a chance on any titles, will go all out to claim another victory for the season while Van Niekerk, who has already won twice this season on the smaller 250cc four- stroke KTM, will be the dark horse.

The Ermelo Toyota 400 will start on Friday, 31 October, at De Rust guest farm at Sheepmoor outside Ermelo with a time-trial for national competitors (Open Class, 250cc, 200cc, 125cc and Senior Class). The time-trail will determine the starting order for the main race on Saturday (1 November) and the leading motorcycle competitor will tackle the 400 kilometre race at 08h00.

-creditL ms2000.co.za or contact Jimmy Loubser (082

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About this article
Series Offroad
Drivers Alfie Cox , Riaan van Niekerk