Caledon 400 Quad, Bike preview

BOMBARDIER WOULD LIKE TO KEEP CALEDON 400 RECORD Team Bombardier SA would like to continue with their record of three consecutive Caledon 400 victories and would like to win their first national event of the 2006 season this weekend at...

BOMBARDIER WOULD LIKE TO KEEP CALEDON 400 RECORD

Team Bombardier SA would like to continue with their record of three consecutive Caledon 400 victories and would like to win their first national event of the 2006 season this weekend at Tweespruit when they take on the rest of the field at the sixth round of the national off-road championship for quads.

Hendrik Potgieter (Bombardier SA) only missed one podium so far this year and is currently second in the overall championship while he is also leading the Pro Open Class. The rest of the Bombardier SA team, Carl Wichmann (sixth overall), Pieter Breedt (ninth) Cornel de Villiers (10th) and local rider, Leander Pienaar, will also be out in full force to beat the rest.

It seems however if Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Lonestar) is on his way to his second overall quad championship title after winning four of the five events this season. Badenhorst is 21.5 points ahead of Potgieter with his team-mate, Brain Baragwanath, the only other race winner this season, third overall. Baragwanath is 10 points behind Potgieter and anything can still happen on the overall podium.

It can also still happen off the podium with a few competitors within striking distance of each other. Jacques "Boesman" Struwig (Southern ATV Laeger) had to surrender his podium position to Baragwanath and is now 18.5 points behind Baragwanath and eight points ahead of Ricky da Silva (Pro Hydraulics YFZ450) with only five points separating Da Silva from Wichmann.

While the battle between the frontrunners will be furious, the fight between the rest of the Top Ten will be no less serious with only a few points separating a handful of riders.

Vincent Loubser (Yamaha YFZ450) has slowly but surely moved up the scoreboard and is seventh overall - six points behind Wichmann - but he will be chased-down by Johan van Lill (Quadworx) who is only two points behind him.

Van Lill will also have to look over his shoulder as Pieter Breedt (Bombardier SA) will still be on a high after finishing third overall at the last event and only half a point now separates him from Van Lill while Breedt will also have Loubser in his sights.

Two and a half points separate the next four riders and all of them would like to change this situation to ensure that they can tackle the remaining races with some breathing space. A single point is keeping Danie Coetzer (Polaris SA Racing Predator) out of the Top Ten while one point is keeping Simon Thesen (ATV Powersport) behind him and in 12th place.

Hennie Michau (ATV Powersport Lonestar) would like his luck to turn in the Free State where he finished fourth overall and won the Senior Class last year. He is one point behind Thesen and half a point ahead of the younger Loubser brother, Glen. The 16 year-old Gerrie Prinsloo (ATV Powersport Bombardier), who is three points behind Loubser, started and finished his first national off-road race in Mafikeng and would like to score again at his Caledon 400 debut.

There are quite a number of Bloemfontein competitors who would not only like to impress their home-crowd, but who earned points at the last national race-meeting and would like to do so again.

Bloemfontein businessman, Leander Pienaar, is unfortunately not one of the regular scorers, but he is a serious threat to the frontrunners. Pienaar finished second at the Caledon 400 last year and a victory has been on the cards for him while 16 year-old Juan Meyer from Bloemfontein Central High School would also like to impress again on his Suzuki LTR450. The Meyer brothers, TJ and Chris, will again be out on their Hondas to add points to their 4.5 and 1.5 respectively in the national overall championship.

Barry Baars (Valvetech Bombardier) is currently leading the Senior Class championship where he is 3.5 points ahead of Michau who is being followed by Samuel Ungerer (ATV Powersport). Ungerer won the Senior Class for the first time this season at the recent Mafikeng event and he is now trailing Michau by a mere two points.

The battles for the titles in the various class championship are still very tight although Badenhorst has some breathing space in the Pro 500 Class where he leads Baragwanath by 29.5 points. Da Silva is 19.5 points behind Baragwanath, but only 1.5 points ahead of Vincent Loubser who will continue the season-long battle with his younger brother, Glen, who is 11 points behind him in the class standings.

In the Open Class, Potgieter is leading Struwig by 28 points while Wichmann is trailing Struwig by six points.

Mark Lamb (Kawasaki) is leading the Sportsman Class very comfortably (34.5 points) from the Mafikeng classwinner, AC Hoffman (Suzuki).

The Caledon 400 will start with a 100km time-trail on Friday, 22 September, that will determine the starting order and positions for the main race on Saturday. The leading quad competitor will tackle the first of two 100km loops on Saturday at 08h30 which they will have to complete twice before changing to the remaining 100km loop which they will also have to complete twice. The start, finish and central service point will be at the Tweespruit Sports Complex.

OFF-ROAD BIKE TITLE STILL UP FOR GRABS

Four races, three different winners and only a handful of points separating the frontrunners - that is the situation in the national off-road championship for bikes when they take on the Caledon 400, the fifth round of the championship that takes place this weekend (22 - 23 September) at Tweespruit in the Free State.

Although Louwrens Mahoney (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM) has won the most events so far this season (two) and is leading the overall and 250cc Class championships, anything can still happen as former champion and winner of the recent Mafikeng Desert Challenge, Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic) is only 9.5 points behind the 2006 Enduro Champ. Two podium positions and consistent scoring has put Spencer Kriel (Natro Freight Carboncor KTM) in solid third place, 9.5 points behind Dick and hungry for a win.

The rest of the pack will need miracles to be able to kick Mahoney, Dick and Kriel off the podium, but some of them have been close to the podium and if anything happens to the frontrunners, they will be there to grab more valuable points. One of these riders is PE competitor Juan "Bollie" van Rooyen who has displayed his racing capabilities at quite a few races this season as a member of the Sadiba Russell Campbell Kawasaki team. He could not finish the Mafikeng event, but will go to the Free State lying fourth in the overall championship while he is within striking range (8.5 points) of Kriel.

Darryl Curtis will not be participating in this event which will provide Van Rooyen with a little comfort zone, but this will also mean that the consistent Gary Barton (Ramco Suzuki), who is sixth overall, will only need six points to jump a position on the points' ladder to get closer to the Kawasaki rider.

There is no comfort zone for Barton as the 200cc Class leader, Kyle Poppleton (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM), trails him by a single point with Gavin Louw (The Roost Kawasaki) only half a point behind Poppleton. Barton, Poppleton and Louw have been scoring at each event so far this season which means that all three of them stand a good chance of scoring good points at the Tweespruit area and this will mean serious racing firther down in the Top Ten.

More close-racing can be expected between Corrie van der Berg (DMD ORD Racing Honda), who is ninth after only scoring at the last two events, and Jaco Vermaak (Loerie Yamaha), who has dropped a few places after not finishing the last event. A single point separates Van der Berg and Vermaak. Only three and a half points separate six competitors in the next five positions - Carel le Roux (Husqvarna SA) is currently missing the Top Ten with half a point while he is a single point ahead of Mathew Dean (Shimwells Yamaha) who won the 125cc Class at the last event. Dean is being separated by half a point from his team-mate, Wynand Delport who is leading the 125cc Class while Craig Stone (Natro Freight Carboncor KTM) is also only a point behind Delport. And tying for 15th place, one point behind Stone, is Kenneth Gilbert (Shimwells Yamaha/Wasa Racing) and Laurence Murton (Ramco Suzuki) who broke his ankle at the last event.

These riders will however not be safe as two points separate the next four riders on the points list with the leader of this quartet, Tjaart Coetzee (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM) only half a point behind Murton and all of them - Wynand Kleynhans (Recopane Landscapes Gas Gas); Hylton Smith (The Roost KTM) and Richard Blandford (Sadiba Russell Campbell Kawasaki) - wanting to score good points in the eastern Free State (Riaan van Niekerk will not be participating).

Someone who can upset the applecart is the defending champion, Clayton Enslin (EPH Shimwells Yamaha) who will make a comeback after only participating in the opening round of the season before he was injured while practising. Enslin was the runner-up to Mahoney at the 2005 Caledon 400 and will mount his 450cc four-stroke for the 2006 challenge.

In the class championships, none of the leaders are safe from losing their lead. In the Open Class, Dick is leading Kriel by 5.5 points with Le Roux seven points behind Kriel while 5.5 points are separating Mahoney as the leader in the 250cc Class from Barton with Louw third and Van Rooyen the one who has to make up for not scoring at the last event. In the 200cc Class, the fight is on between Poppleton and Gilbert with eight points the difference while Coetzee is a bit further behind in third place. In the 125cc Class, only Delport has scored victories twice this season and he is leading veteran Wayne Farmer (Rekopane Landscapes Gas Gas) by a mere two points. Farmer is again only half a point ahead of Dean.

In the Senior Pro Championship, Dudley Smith (Husaberg) has a comfortable lead of 14.5 on the winner of the last two races, Brian Bader (The Roost KTM). Shaun Kirk (Ramco Suzuki) is third and is leading Kingsley Nurden (Alfie Cox Adventure Sport KTM) by a single point. Ian Mirk (Sadiba Russell Campbell Kawasaki) is leading the Master Class (national non-championship) by 4.5 points from Neville Murray (KTM) who is again one point ahead of Mirk's team-mate, Gavin Brummer.

The Caledon 400 will start with a 100km time-trail on Friday, 22 September, that will determine the starting order and positions for the main race on Saturday. The leading bike competitor will tackle the first of two 100km loops on Saturday at 08h30 which they will have to complete twice before changing to the remaining 100km loop which they will also have to complete twice. The start, finish and central service point will be at the Tweespruit Sports Complex.

-credit: www.caledon400.co.za

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Series Other rally
Drivers Alfie Cox , Craig Stone , Darryl Curtis , Riaan van Niekerk