Orion Piggs Peak 400 summary

1st Round of the National Off-road Racing Championship for Bikes and Quads BADENHORST AND CURTIS WON TOUGH SWAZI OFF-ROAD Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Lonestar Honda) and Darryl Curtis (Mekatrade AGA LG KTM) won...

1st Round of the National Off-road Racing Championship for Bikes and Quads

BADENHORST AND CURTIS WON TOUGH SWAZI OFF-ROAD

Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Lonestar Honda) and Darryl Curtis (Mekatrade AGA LG KTM) won the Swaziland off-road race for the second time when they walked away with the overall laurels in the national quad and motorcycle categories respectively of the Orion Piggs Peak 400, the opening round of the national off-road championship that took place this past weekend.

An extremely challenging route and a new race format where the bikes and quads raced on separate routes, saw only 38 quads finishing (more than 100 started the race) while Badenhorst took his second consecutive Swaziland victory and won the Pro 500 Class. After the 220km section of the first day, Badenhorst tackled the 120 kilometres of the last day in the second position, just over seven minutes behind the leader, Jacques Struwig (Southern ATV Laeger 350), but he took the lead when Struwig experienced electrical problems early into the race. Badenhorst kept his lead and was followed home by Ricky da Silva (Lonestar YFZ450) and his team-mate, Brian Baragwanath who participated in his first Swaziland event. Struwig, who lost almost 20 minutes, eventually finished fourth overall with the 350cc four-stroke Laeger - only 41 seconds behind Baragwanath - and won the Pro Open Class.

In the national motorcycle category, Curtis and his team-mate, Louwrens Mahoney, started the 220km section on the last day with the time difference only 0.398 of a second. The tight and technical route caused them to use more fuel than expected and, like most of the riders, they also ran out of fuel. Mahoney lost lots of time and Curtis took the lead, but both riders were later excluded for contravention of certain rules. Curtis was later reinstated and won the race while Mahoney is still excluded from the results (these results are being protested).

It was a dream result for both Craig Stone (Alfie Cox Natro Freight KTM) who finished second overall and won the 200cc Class while Gary Barton (Ramco Suzuki) finished third overall and won the 250cc Class. The shuffle in the Shimwells Yamaha team also paid off and Kenneth Gilbert, who won the 125cc championship last year, and Gavin Louw, winner of the 200cc Class in 2005, finished fourth and fifth respectively on the overall results - Gilbert finished second in the 200cc Class on the 250cc four-stroke Yamaha while Louw was second in the 250cc Class.

The rest of the Top Ten was made up by Juan "Bollie" van Rooyen (Sadiba Russell Campbell Kawasaki) who was sixth overall and finished third in the 250cc Class; Wynand Kleynhans (Rekopane Landscapes Gas Gas) who finished second in the Open Class; Jaco Vermaak (Yamaha) who was third in the Open Class; Spencer Kriel (KTM) who lost time when he stayed with Hylton Smith (The Roost KTM) who crashed and Wayne Farmer (Rekopane Landscapes Gas Gas) who won the 125cc Class.

The defending champion, Clayton Enslin (EPH Shimwells Yamaha) is still getting used to his bigger Open Class Yamaha YZ450F and crashed on the first day while he also ran out of fuel on the second day and had to push his bike to the refuel. He managed to finish 12th overall - 29 seconds behind Danny Heenan (KTM) and only 13 seconds ahead of Kyle Poppleton (Mekatrade AGA LG KTM). Tjaart Coetzee (Mekatrade AGA LG KTM) and Zac Botha (Shimwells Yamaha) were the last two riders who scored points towards the national overall championship with their 14th and 15th positions respectively.

The Senior Pro Championship was won by Dudley Smith (Husaberg) and the Master Class (non-championship) was won by Jaap Oosterlee (Yamaha).

In the national quad category, the Bombardier SA team took the fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth places when Carl Wichmann, Hendrik Potgieter, Leander Pienaar and Cornel de Villiers all started their championship- onslaught by scoring valuable points. Like almost all the quad competitors, they also got stuck and had to help each other with 'Mr Nice Guy', De Villiers, participating with the 800cc Outlander 4x4, coming to the rescue of numerous of his stuck fellow-competitors.

De Villiers is participating on the Bombardier Outlander 4x4 in preparation for his 2007 Dakar ambush and the strong 4x4 quad has impressed everyone. Tiaan Reynecke finished 10th on a similar quad with less modifications.

Danie Coetzer made a positive comeback to the sport after a serious injury that kept him from racing for a whole season and he scored the first points this year for Polaris SA Racing when he finished 11th overall. Coetzer was followed by Hennie Michau (ATV Powersport Lonestar Honda) who won the Senior Class after he experienced clutch problems. Kabelo Ledwaba, who is participating in this first national off-road racing season, won the Sportsman Class on the ATV Powersport Lonestar Honda and was 13th overall with Willie Jacobs (Yamaha YFZ450) 14th and Eddie Raieno 15th overall.

The next round of the national off-road championship for bikes and quads is the Mandela Bay 400 that will take place on 30 March and 1 April in the Port Elizabeth area from where it will move to the Hankey area.

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Series Other rally
Drivers Craig Stone