Team Shimwells Yamaha is one of not many teams who went to the Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa (November 26 - 29) and came back with a 100% finishing record - each and every one of their small, but very committed team received the chequered flag at the end of a gruelling three day race in the mountains of Lesotho.
Although the results are still only provisional, the defending overall champion, Gray Dick, also racing in the colours of Nashua Mobile Racing, finished 6th in the Open Class after he crashed twice on the second day. Once he damaged his Shimwells Yamaha motorcycle while trying to get back onto the route after falling down a steep cliff - fortunately he was not hurt. The last day of the race was perfect, but he could not make up enough time to finish in the top ten.
Although he could not defend his title successfully, he is already confident that, after a year filled with some bad luck, he will be back next season to bring the overall title back to his team.
Gray Dick: Started second day 3rd overall after time trial; started last day 22nd overall, finished 14th overall.
It was his teammate, Brian Capper, who has not been racing since the Hluhluwe event in the first half of the season due to injuries, who showed everyone what he was made of when he finished in an excellent 7th place overall and 3rd in the Open Class. He also experienced a bad day when he crashed, but he managed to make up some good time and was lying third overall when he wrong-slotted.
Brian Capper: Started second day 6th overall; started last day 12th overall, finished 7th overall (3rd in Open Class).
The 125cc Shimwells Yamaha rider, the young Gavin Louw, who participated only in his first Roof of Africa race, had a good event and finished 3rd in his class where only five riders managed to finish. Louw had a seesaw season with Hylton Smith for the championship and had a good dice with him once again. Smith could only beat him by 8 min 45 seconds.
In the extremely competitive 250cc Class, Bernard Johnstone finished 7th overall. He started the race after the 95km time trial in the 46th place and worked his up to be the 17th rider on the starting line for the last day. His 16th place overall is a result to be proud of seeing that he was still suffering from foot an injury.
Bernard Johnstone: Started second day 46th overall; started last day 17th overall, finished 16th overall (7th in 250cc Class).
Shimwells Yamaha, the Yamaha dealership in Springs providing the backing and support for their committed team, would like to congratulate each of these riders on finishing the 2003 Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa.