TEAM SHIMWELLS YAMAHA READY FOR MORE VICTORIES AT THE ROOST CAROUSEL 400
The small, but dominant Team Shimwells Yamaha off-road racing team is ready and geared for some more victories at The Roost Carousel 400, the penultimate round of the National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles that will take place at the Carousel Casino and Entertainment Centre just north of Pretoria on October 24 and 25.
After winning the recent Caledon 400 and with the overall victory of the Kalahari 1000 earlier this season behind his name, the 2002 champion, Gray Dick - who is also representing the Nashua Mobile Racing Team - has moved up the championship ladder and will go to The Roost Carousel 400 knowing that he is only four points behind the leaders. Geoffrey Wolhuter and Jade Gutzeit are the combined leaders with Andrew Ogden (who will not be racing until next season after he broke his wrist at the Caledon 400) only one point behind them followed by Dick. In the Open Class, Dick has moved up to the 3rd place which he is sharing with Gutzeit and they are three points behind Darryl Curtis who is leading this class.
Another rider with his eyes on a possible championship title, is Gavin Louw who finished 6th overall and 1st in the 125cc Class at the recent Caledon 400 at Dewetsdorp in the Free State. Louw is now trailing the class leader, Hylton Smith, by only two points and his first national title is within his reach. Louw is looking forward to another good result at The Roost Carousel 400 and will hopefully be the class leader going to his first Roof of Africa event in November.
The 250cc rider, Bernard Johnstone, who injured his leg and was not able to participate in the Free State, has not fully recovered yet, but has decided to race. Without scoring points at the last event, he is still 10th in the overall championship (two riders are sharing the 1st and 7th positions) while he is filling the 8th place in the extremely competitive 250cc Class. Although the possibility of catching the front runners is quite slim, Johnstone still have a chance of moving up the ladder board seeing that only five points is separating the rider in 5th place (Quinton Milton) and Johnstone (8th).
In the 200cc Class, Juan van Rooyen has moved into the 6th place after scoring good points for the last three races since he started racing in the colours of Shimwells Yamaha and in the 200cc Class. Van Rooyen was leading this class at the recent Caledon 400, but had to eventually settle for the second position - his best result this season on the 250cc four- stroke Yamaha. With two more events to score points, Van Rooyen stands a good chance to move into the top five - Riaan van Niekerk, who is 17 points ahead of the Yamaha rider, is still lying in 5th place, but is not participating in the 200cc Class anymore.
The 2002 Senior Champion, Johnny Lochner, has lost some points to the class leader, Tom Classen, and is trailing him by 10 points. Lochner would like to win this class at least once this season and is looking forward to the race in the south of the Limpopo province - some rain in the area and a tight race will suit his big Yamaha well and he is hoping to get closer to the leading senior rider before the last race of the season, the unpredictable Roof of Africa in Lesotho.
Unfortunately, Zac Botha will not participate, as he is still busy with matric exams.
Two races to go - four championship titles (Overall, Open Class, 125cc and the Senior Championship) within reach for Team Shimwells Yamaha - the recipe fo an interesting and action-packed weekend's off-road racing. Activities start at 09h00 on Friday, October 24, with documentation and scrutineering after which the riders will do a 45km time trial to determine the starting positions for the main race. The main race starts at 08h00 at the Carousel Casino and Entertainment Centre (65km north of Pretoria on the N1 to Polokwane) when the leading quad rider will start the first of two 180km laps and the first motorcycle rider will start the main race at 08h45.
Although the race organisers are quite happy that dust will not be too big a problem after some rain in the area, there will be no river- crossings, but the riders are warned to wear enduro sleeves, as the thorns might be a problem.