Mafikeng Desert 1000 Quad, Bike preview

MAFIKENG DESERT 1000 5th Round of the SA National Off-road Quad Championship 6th Round of the SA National Off-road Motorcycle Championship 9 - 11 August 2007 Mafikeng, North-West Province DESERT RACE FOR OFF-ROAD ...

MAFIKENG DESERT 1000
5th Round of the SA National Off-road Quad Championship
6th Round of the SA National Off-road Motorcycle Championship
9 - 11 August 2007
Mafikeng, North-West Province

DESERT RACE FOR OFF-ROAD BIKERS

A traditional desert race has formed part of the SA national off-road motorcycle and quad championship for decades and will be hosted from 9 to 11 August in the Mafikeng area in the North-West Province for the second consecutive year.

Motorcycle riders have been participating since 1978 until 2001 in the Toyota 1000 Desert Race while quad competitors joined them in 1993. This race was traditionally stretched over three days and would normally consist of about a thousand kilometres.

With the decision that off-road vehicles were not to compete together with the motorcycle and quad competitors due to safety reasons, the traditional desert race for the two-wheelers and small four-wheelers moved to the Vryburg area in 2002. Gray Dick took the overall victory in the motorcycle category and was followed by Alfie Cox (KTM) who has won the Toyota 1000 Desert Race already three times (1993, 1994 and 1999) while Elmer Symons (KTM), who died earlier this year while competing in the Dakar rally, finished third.

The quad category was won by four-time champion, Cornel de Villiers on the Bombardier. He was followed by Dallie Terblanche (Yamaha) and the French rider, Christophe Kuhnl, who was been participating in a few South African off-road races during the years.

Both Dick and De Villiers made it two in a row when they walked away with another victory in 2003. Dick was followed home by Andrew Ogden (Honda) and Wayne Farmer (Kawasaki) while Danie Coetzer (Yamaha) and Clayton du Plessis (Bombardier) took the rest of the podium steps.

Dick, still on his trusty Yamaha, scored a hat-trick in 2004 when he was yet again unbeatable in the Kalahari 1000 Desert Race. This time, his arch- rival, Darryl Curtis (KTM) finished in second place and with Clayton Enslin (KTM) third. The quad podium looked somewhat different with Carl Wichmann (Yamaha) winning his first desert race. Charles Jonker (Bombardier) and former Senior Class champion, Hennie Michau (Bombardier) claiming the second and third place positions.

In 2005 the young Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) upset the applecart when he won the Kalahari Desert Race on a 250cc-powered machine. He was followed by two riders in this class - Clayton Enslin (Yamaha) and Geoffrey Wolhuter (Kawasaki). Both Dick and Curtis crashed with their bigger Open Class bikes and could not finish this event. Brendan Badenhorst won his first desert race and was followed by Cornel de Villiers and his team-mate, Hendrik Potgieter.

In 2006, this race was then moved to the Mafikeng area in the North-West Province where Dick proved his King of the Desert status when he won the Mafikeng Desert Challenge after a battle with Mahoney who crashed during the event. He fought back to finish second with the current championship leader, Spencer Kriel, third overall. In the national quad category, Brendan Badenhorst (Lonestar Honda) made it two in a row when he beat Potgieter and Pieter Breedt (Bombardier).

And after five rounds of the off-road motorcycle championship, five different riders have appeared as winners - Barry and his brother, Spencer Kriel; Riaan van Niekerk and Darryl Curtis have all claimed a victory for the Mekatrade AGA LG Red Bull KTM team while Dick won the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana. And with the 2006 champion, Louwrens Mahoney, back in South Africa after a successful racing season in the USA, anything can happen.

In the national quad category, Shaun Gunther (Duncan Racing RN Honda) has claimed two victories while Leander Pienaar (Can-Am SA Racing) and Jacques "Boesman" Struwig (Southern ATV) were also race winners.

The 2007 Mafikeng Desert 1000 will start on Thursday, 9 August, with a 100 kilometre time-trail that will determine the starting order and times for the first day of the main race on Friday. Competitors will have to complete a 450 kilometre loop on both days (Friday and Saturday, 10 and 11 August) of the main race that will start and finish at the Mafikeng International Airport.

The big question now is - who will be the "2007 King of the Desert"?

-credit: www.nwmotorsport.co.za

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