In the past, Lady Luck has not been on the side of Team Shimwells Yamaha, but this will all change at the 2003 Hluhluwe Queen Pineapple Off-road Spectacular, the 4th round of the National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles that will take place this weekend in KwaZulu-Natal.
The team is positive and ready to tackle this popular race - this is one of the highlights on the off-road racing calendar and the event is known for the exceptional way it is marked.
The defending National Off-road Motorcycle Champion, Gray Dick, also racing in the colours of Nashua Mobile Racing, will do his utmost best to get back to topping the leaderboard again after losing the lead at the Mafikeng 500. Dick, who is now only five points behind the overall leader, is confident that he will better his result of 2002. He was leading the race up to 2km before the finish when the mousse in his rear tyre collapsed and he had to settle for the 2nd position.
His teammate also in the colours of Nashua Mobile Racing, Brian Capper, has been practicing intensively after the Mafikeng 500 race that he failed to finish. Capper, who finished the Hluhluwe event last year in the 4th place overall, would dearly like to do so again and even better this result to score some more points towards the Open Class as well as towards the Overall Championship.
The Hluhluwe Queen Pineapple Off-road Spectacular will suit the 250cc rider from Pongola, Bernard Johnstone, quite well seeing that he participates regularly in the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Championship. This will be the 4th time he will try his luck at this race and he hopes to finish it and score some more points towards the overall and class championships. Last year he was leading the 125cc Class when a thorn damaged the waterpipe on his Yamaha 80km before the finish and it overheated. Johnstone is currently 5th in the 250cc championship and within striking distance of the riders ahead of him in this extremely competitive class championship.
A tight battle can be expected in the 125cc Class where the Shimwells Yamaha newcomer, Gavin Louw, is currently leading the class championship together with Hylton Smith. Louw won his class convincingly after the last two races and hope to start and stay in front in KwaZulu-Natal. He finished the event last year although he crashed and is believes that the terrain will be perfect for him and his 125cc Yamaha.
In the Seniors Championship, the defending champion, Johnny Lochner, who is in 3rd place, is also within striking distance to move up into the second place - he will go to his first Hluhluwe event only six points behind Wouter Mol who is second in this championship.
The Hluhluwe Queen Pineapple Off-road Spectacular will start on Friday, July 4, with a time-trail which will determine the starting positions of the riders for the main race on Saturday. The leading motorcycle rider will start the first of two loops of 170km each at 08h00 and the leading quad rider will start at 09h00. For more information, visit www.tuskersmotorsport.co.za