Shimwells Yamaha Kalahari 1000 summary

3rd Round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles and Quads held at Vryburg Gray Dick Crowned "King Of The Kalahari" After Third Consecutive Victory The 2002 SA National Off-road Champion, Gray Dick, can now officially ...

3rd Round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles and Quads held at Vryburg

Gray Dick Crowned "King Of The Kalahari" After Third Consecutive Victory

The 2002 SA National Off-road Champion, Gray Dick, can now officially claim the "King of the Kalahari" title after winning the Kalahari 1000 for the third consecutive year on his Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio YZ450F.

The organisers put a well-organised, but extremely tough event north of Vryburg in the Northwest Province together, but like last year, Dick was the leading motorcycle rider on the starting grid for the main race on Friday when he was the quickest rider after the 55km time trial - 34 seconds ahead of his main rival, Darryl Curtis. It was almost as if the 2003 Kalahari 1000 movie was on replay when Dick was the first rider home after finishing first the 210km loop and then the 280km loop on the second day. He then started the last day 56 seconds ahead of Curtis who experienced brake problems, but was clearly on a mission to try and prevent Dick from taking his third successive victory.

Everything went according to plan for the Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio rider (except when he crashed in the riverbed and two minutes after he got going again, he was down again!), but not according to plan for Curtis who planned on overtaking his rival and good friend in the gruelling riverbed the next day. Some more brake problems resulted in Curtis crashing a few times while he was also racing in the dust of Dick's flying motorcycle. Dick was on his way to yet another victory and Curtis was losing out once again in the Kalahari.

Afterwards Dick acknowledged the talent and perseverance of his friend, Curtis, but the scoreboard was telling the story - Dick won the race and the Open Class when he beat Curtis by 3 min 52 sec. He is now also leading the overall motorcycle championship as well as the Open Class with Curtis trailing him in both.

And while Dick received the chequered flag as the race winner, his team- mate, the young Gavin Louw, finished his three-day race by walking away with the 200cc Class laurels. He was the eighth rider to make it to the finish line after sticking it out for 1 035km of rough and rocky riverbeds, thorn bushes, soft sand and some fast sections in the Kalahari Desert.

Louw did not experience too much trouble on his 250cc four-stroke Shimwells Yamaha with which he competes in the 200cc Class and he bagged his second class victory this season. He has a comfortable lead in the 200cc Class.

The 2003 off-road and enduro champion, Jade Gutzeit, would however like to forget the 2004 Kalahari 1000 as mechanical problems forced him to retire on the second day of the race. He is now focussing on the Erdsberg event that takes place later this month in Austria.

The Kalahari 1000 and Zac Botha still have to bond in the feature and the 2004 event was once again not a good one to the young 125cc rider. He managed to finish the first two days, but mechanical problems forced him to throw the towel in on the last day. But he vows that he will be back.

After three races of the eight on the 2004 SA National Off-road Championship calendar, two overall victories went to Team Shimwells Yamaha and they are also leading two classes as well as the overall championship. The next round is the Mafikeng 500 that will take place on June 4 and 5, 2004.

-sy-

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Series Other rally
Drivers Darryl Curtis