Bike: Lesotho 400 pre-race notes

LESOTHO PREPARED FOR OFF-ROAD RACERS WITH NEW RACE BIKES Lesotho is ready and geared for the first round of the SA national off-road bike and quad championships where various new race models will be tested during the Quad Roof of...

LESOTHO PREPARED FOR OFF-ROAD RACERS WITH NEW RACE BIKES

Lesotho is ready and geared for the first round of the SA national off-road bike and quad championships where various new race models will be tested during the Quad Roof of Africa for quad racers and the Lesotho 400 for motorcycle competitors. These races will take place on 15 and 16 February.

Quad racers will tackle a 552 kilometre route over two days while motorcycle competitors will participate in the Lesotho 400 race that will keep them busy on Saturday. And with several of the well-known racers shifting their focus to other aspects of off-road racing, this might just be the season for new champions.

The talents of former champs, Darryl Curtis, Gray Dick and Louwrens Mahoney will be missed, but there is enough talent to ensure action-packed racing. KTM has won the most times in Lesotho and this year, DCM AGA LG Red Bull KTM riders Riaan van Niekerk, the Kriel brothers, Barry and Spencer as well as Kyle Poppleton will again go for the laurels.

Their opposition will come from ORD Honda Racing that consists of the 2007 250cc Class-champion, Wynand Kleynhans and Free State rider, Wade Blaauw with the rest of the team made up from talented youngsters as well as more seasoned riders.

The Sadiba Out of Africa Campbell Kawasaki team will again field a strong team with Juan "Bollie" van Rooyen now competing in the Open Class while former Ramco Suzuki rider, Laurence Murton, will wave the green flag in the 250cc Class. The Ramco Suzuki team will again be one of the biggest in the field with Shaun Kirk defending his 2007 Senior Class title. The KZN champ, Brandon Bouwer will race in the 125cc Class; Craig Ramsay and veteran racer, Tom Cilliers compete in the 200cc Class with and Deon Enslin this year in the 250cc Class.

Clayton Enslin (Natro Freight) has swopped his Beta for a Gas Gas while local Lesotho rider, Seamus McCarthy (Yamaha), who finished second overall in the 2007 Baboons Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa, will go for the overall win. And although regular riders like Markus Taljaard and Gavin Louw (The Roost Racing) are also in the mix for good results, a few young and upcoming youngsters might upset the applecart.

These include Ruan Roberts (Arrow Racing TM); Andrew Perry and Jarrod Blackman (ORD Racing Honda) as well as Nicholas Pienaar (Red Yamaha). Unfortunately Theo Potgieter (Ramco Suzuki) was injured during an earlier WFO event.

In the national quad category, the long-awaited Can-Am DS450 quads have arrived and will be in the capable hands of Team ABSA Can-Am. Former Roof of Africa winner from Bloemfontein, Leander Pienaar and his team-mates, Hendrik Potgieter, Carl Wichmann and Clayton du Plessis will now be competing in the Pro 450 Class.

Here they will have to fend off the 2007 Pro 450 Class champ, Vincent Loubser (Team Yamaha) as well as 2006 Mini Roof winner, Brian Baragwanath (Quad Worx Yamaha). Regular top ten finisher, Dale Stock, now racing for Team Sadiba Out of Africa Campbell Kawasaki, as well as Juan Coetzee (Honda Race Nation Quad Revolution) and ATV Powersport's Jacques Breedt (Honda) and Karel Groenewald will also stand their man in this class. The young Bloemfontein scholar, Chris Meyer (Yamaha) has showed his talent last year and will also be in action in this class.

Twice Roof of Africa winner, Jacques "Boesman" Struwig (Polaris Racing Outlaw) would like to win for the third time while the talented youngster, Gerrie Prinsloo (ATV Powersport Honda) together with his team-mate and a regular top scorer, Pieter Breedt (Can-Am) as well as Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) will all compete in the Open Class.

Unfortunately, not too many entries were received in the Senior Class, but it is a Welcome Back to French rider, Patrick Armabessaire and former champion, Christo van der Merwe (Team ABSA Can-Am). Only three girls will tackle the Quad Roof of Africa in the Ladies Class with 2007 champion, Amanda Eardley (Team ABSA Can-Am) again on the strong 800cc V-twin Renegade. Two entries were also received in the new SidexSide Class where the Yamaha Rhino of Carl Muller will face the Polaris RZR of Kiri Oberholzer (Polaris Racing).

With lots of new riders and new race equipment as well as many new sections on the Quad Roof of Africa and Lesotho 400 routes, the opening round of the 2008 national off-road season promises to be extremely exciting.

Quad competitors will tackle the 304 kilometre route on Friday (15 February) at 7h00 from Roma where they will also finish. On Saturday (16 February), they will have to complete a 248 kilometre loop while motorcycle riders will do the 304 kilometre route.

-credit: worldonline.co.za

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Darryl Curtis , Riaan van Niekerk