Caledon 400 review

Bikers Faced Extreme Weather Conditions in Wet and Muddy Off-Road It was a race many off-road motorcycle and quad riders would like to forget, but the Caledon 400 was a race that they will talk about for years. The 6th round of the SA...

Bikers Faced Extreme Weather Conditions in Wet and Muddy Off-Road

It was a race many off-road motorcycle and quad riders would like to forget, but the Caledon 400 was a race that they will talk about for years. The 6th round of the SA National Off-road Championship for motorcycle and quad riders that took place in the Tweespruit area in the Free State this weekend, was characterised by extreme weather conditions and icy rainstorms that saw the riders competing on a mud-drenched route resulting in not many competitors making it to the finish.

It was first season victories for the winners in the motorcycle and quad categories - the defending champion, Jade Gutzeit (Shimwells Yamaha) lead for the best part of the race to beat fellow KZN competitor, Barry Kriel (Alfie Cox Adventures/Natro Freight KTM) by 3 min 53 seconds. It was a race that suited the lighter 250cc motorcycles and the third rider home (also from KZN), Bernard Johnstone (Ramco/Cell C Suzuki), was also third in this extremely competitive class.

Only 10 quad riders competing in the national championship and five Senior Championship riders managed to reach the end even though the last of the four loops were cancelled for these riders, because of the deteriorating route and weather conditions. But the reason why most of the quad competitors did not finish was because of mud and water in their eyes kicked-up by the front tyres of their quads.

Hendrik Potgieter (Bombardier Speed Quad) was the leading quad to start the event and scored his first victory of the season while he also ended the drought for Bombardier not winning a race so far this year. He lead home Zane Davidson (Perry Yamaha YFZ450) who had a consistent race except for a crash 10km after the start. The Dakar champion, Cornel de Villiers, finished on the podium for the first time this season when he was the third rider home. De Villiers, like Charles Jonker (Speed Bike Bombardier), changed the carburetor system on their big DS650 quads to fuel-injection, but this did not work in the wet conditions. Both of them changed it back before the start of the main event, but then the set-up on De Villiers' quad was not perfect although still good enough for him to make it to the finish and onto the podium.

Jonker was one of the last quads to start the race after he experienced problems with the new system already during time trial, but he had an excellent race to finish 8th overall. A flat tyre that he repaired six times kept him from finishing even higher up on the results.

Dallie Terblanche (Salley's Yamaha YFZ450) had his best race so far this season to finish fourth overall. He as followed home by fellow KwaZulu- Natal rider, Ricky da Silva (Yamaha YFZ450) and the defending champion, Shaun Gunther (Bombardier Speed Quad) who lost of lof time with five flat tyres.

Stefan Coetzee (VLS Africa) was seventh, Jonker eight, Chris Jarvis (Polaris Racing Predator) ninth and Landseer Collen (Linex Yamaha) was the last national quad rider home - three hours behind the winner.

The motorcycle competitors completed the full 400km and Darryl Curtis (AGA/LG KTM) kept his lead in the Open Class as well as in the overall championship when he scored enough points coming home in the fourth place overall. He was followed by Riaan van Niekerk (Tyrolit KTM) who also won the 200cc Class for the third time this season. Geoffrey Wolhuter (Miller/Moore KTM) had a safe race and was the sixth two-wheeler home followed by the defending 125cc champion who is also the current class leader, Hylton Smith (Ramco/Cell C Suzuki) and his closest rival, Louwrens Mahoney (AGA/LG KTM).

Triston Sol (Alfie Cox Adventures/Natro Freight KTM) was ninth and Juan van Rooyen (Amada TM VOR Racing) rounded off the top ten.

The first Senior Pro rider home was Kobie van Breda (The Roost KTM) followed by Mark Uglietti (Ramco/Cell C Suzuki) and Edgar Stephenson (The Roost KTM). These riders only race 75% of a national event while the Senior Quad riders have to complete the whole event. Kevern Pelser (Bombardier) won this category followed by Christo van der Merwe (Yamaha Support YFZ450) and Deon Prinsloo (Bombardier).

The penultimate round of the SA National Off-road Championship for motorcycle and quad riders, is the Vila da Gama 400 at Naboomspruit in the Northern Province on October 22 and 23.

<pre> OVERALL RESULTS:

MOTORCYCLES: 1. Jade Gutzeit Yamaha 250cc 7:04,40 2. Barry Kriel KTM 250cc 7:08,33 3. Bernard Johnstone Suzuki 250cc 7:17,26 4. Darryl Curtis KTM Open Class 7:19,24 5. Riaan van Niekerk KTM 200cc 7:25,59 6. Geoffrey Wolhuter KTM 250cc 7:28,30 7. Hylton Smith Suzuki 125cc 7:45,20 8. Louwrens Mahoney KTM 125cc 7:55,45 9. Tristan Sol KTM 200cc 7:55,46 10. Juan van Rooyen VOR Open Class 7:59,05

QUADS: 1. Hendrik Potgieter Bombardier Open Class 5:51,45 2. Zane Davidson Yamaha Open Class 6:21,27 3. Cornel de Villiers Bombardier Open Class 6:35,45 4. Dallie Terblanche Yamaha Open Class 6:50,24 5. Kevern Pelser Bombardier Senior 6:54,22 6. Ricky da Silva Yamaha Open Class 6:56,45 7. Christo vd Merwe Yamaha Senior 7:34,52 8. Shaun Gunther Bombardier Open Class 7:38,54 9. Stefan Coetzee VLS Open Class 7:47,12 10. Deon Prinsloo Bombardier Senior 7:53,59

-www.caledon400.co.za

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