Team Shimwells Yamaha season finale preview

37th Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa: November 26 - 29, 2003 Last Round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles and Quads Team Shimwells Yamaha aims to win off-road championship The small off-road racing team from Springs,...

37th Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa: November 26 - 29, 2003
Last Round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles and Quads

Team Shimwells Yamaha aims to win off-road championship

The small off-road racing team from Springs, Shimwells Yamaha, is looking forward to go to the 37th Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa, the last round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles and Quads, that will start on Wednesday, November 26, at the Lesotho Sun in Maseru with documentation and scrutineering.

The Shimwells Yamaha off-road team will be somewhat smaller than earlier this season. The 2002 Senior Motorcycle Champion, Johnny Lochner, will not be able to defend his title as he is still recovering from a broken arm after he crashed at the last event, The Roost Carousel 400, while Juan van Rooyen, who joined the team halfway through the season, will not be participating.

But there are three championship titles up for grabs for Team Shimwells Yamaha - the Overall Off-road Motorcycle Championship, the Open Class Championship and the 125cc Class Championship. And the team is confident that they will bring all these trophies and titles home after the Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa this coming weekend.

The 2002 National Off-road Motorcycle Champion, Gray Dick, also racing in the colours of Nashua Mobile Racing, has been training hard and is looking forward to tackle the most gruelling race on the off-road calendar on his new two-stroke Yamaha. This motorcycle is lighter and will be more suitable to race in the rough and rocky mountainous terrain of the Lesotho Kingdom. Dick, who will be participating in his 6th Roof of Africa of which he as finished three, has not won this race before, but is determined to do so this year.

He is currently one of four riders (together with Geoffrey Wolhuter, Jade Gutzeit and Darryl Curtis) who stand a chance of winning the Overall Motorcycle Championship as well as the Open Class Championship. Dick won the Desert Race - like the Roof of Africa the only other race on the calendar where riders have to complete 1 000km over two days - earlier this season as well as the Tarka 400 in the Eastern Cape.

In the 125cc Class, Gavin Louw will be giving it all to win the 125cc Class on his new Shimwells Yamaha. Louw, only participating in his second Roof of Africa event, and Hylton Smith has had a see-saw season swapping the leading position in this class a few times and they will go to the Roof of Africa prepared for yet another head to head battle. Louw's brother, Vernon, will also be on a Shimwells Yamaha and racing in the same class as his brother. He is known for his perseverance as he has been racing for years even though he is deaf and dumb.

In the 250cc Class Bernard Johnstone will be back although he is still hampered by an ankle and shoulder injury after crashing earlier this season. Johnstone stands a good chance of moving up the point's ladder in the 250cc Class if he finishes the Roof of Africa and score some more points.

The traditional Round the Houses will take place on Thursday, November 27, in the streets of Maseru after which the riders will leave immediately to start the time trial of 140km outside of town. The main race of the 37th Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa will start on Friday, November 28, when the leading motorcycle rider will tackle the route at 06h00. On Saturday, the first rider will be off again at 06h00.

For more information about the 2003 Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa, visit www.e-dirt.co.za or www.roofofafrica.org.ls

-tsy-

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Series OFFROAD