Shimwells Yamaha Port Elizabeth preview

DEFENDING OFF-ROAD CHAMPION OUT OF ACTION The 2005 national off-road champion, Clayton Enslin (EPH Shimwells Yamaha) will be out of action for a while after a head-on collision with fellow competitor, Louwrens Mahoney,...

DEFENDING OFF-ROAD CHAMPION OUT OF ACTION

The 2005 national off-road champion, Clayton Enslin (EPH Shimwells Yamaha) will be out of action for a while after a head-on collision with fellow competitor, Louwrens Mahoney, at a recent regional endurance event. Enslin broke his knee and injured his femur and had to undergo an operation three weeks before the Red Cherry 400, the second round of the off-road championship that will take place on 31 March and 1 April in the Port Elizabeth area in the Eastern Cape.

Enslin, who won the overall championship as well as the 250cc Class championship in 2005, has moved to the Open Class where he is participating with a new YZ450F Yamaha. He finished 12th in the tough season opener, the Orion Piggs Peak 400 in Swaziland last month. It will now be left to his team-mate, Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio) to fly the flag in the very competitive Open Class.

Dick won the inaugural Eastern Cape off-road race last year and would like to do so again this year - even more so as he could not score points at the first event as he damaged his bike early in the race. Dick, a former champion, has been participating in the national off-road championship with the big YZ450F for the last few years and with years of experience behind him, he is aiming for another title this year.

The current 125cc champ, Kenneth Gilbert (Shimwells Yamaha) made a good start to the season on his new 250cc four-stroke Yamaha and finished fourth overall and second in the 200cc Class. His team-mate, Gavin Louw, is two points behind him on the overall point's ladder, but only one position separates them. Louw, who finished second in the 200cc Class championship in the 2005, has moved to the 250cc Class where he is competing with a two-stroke Yamaha. He finished second in this very competitive class at the opening round of the 2006 season in Swaziland. Both Louw and Gilbert would like to finish in the top ten in the Eastern Cape and to better their overall positions of last year (13th and 15th respectively).

Zac Botha, who was recovering from injuries last season, is fit again and competing with another 250cc four-stroke Shimwells Yamaha in the 200cc Class where he is lying sixth while he also scored a valuable point towards the overall championship.

Team Shimwells Yamaha newcomer, Mathew Dean, has proven himself to his new sponsors and will go to the Red Cherry 400 with a podium position in the 125cc Class behind his name after he finished third in this class.

In the Senior Pro Class, the former champion, Johnny Lochner (Shimwells Yamaha) has scored his first points of the season while Enzo Chiocchi (EPH Shimwells Yamaha) has also finished the first event.

The Red Cherry 400 will start on Friday, 31 March, with an 80km time-trail in the Port Elizabeth area. This will determine the starting order and position for the main race that will take place on Saturday, 1 April, when the leading motorcycle will tackle the clover leaf route at 08h30 from the PPC cement factory in the Hankey area west of PE. The race will also finish here.

-www.shimwellsyamaha.co.za

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