Southern Yamaha team Roof of Africa summary

Jacques Struwig won Roof of Africa on new Yamaha YFZ450 quad. Jacques "Boesman" Struwig has tried for eight years and did it at last when he was the first National Quad rider home to take his first Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa victory this past ...

Jacques Struwig won Roof of Africa on new Yamaha YFZ450 quad.

Jacques "Boesman" Struwig has tried for eight years and did it at last when he was the first National Quad rider home to take his first Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa victory this past weekend on his new Southern Yamaha YFZ450.

Although the results are still provisional, he started the race 2 min 48 seconds ahead of his closest rival, Clayton du Plessis (Bombardier), and from the start, he stretched the gap to finish about 15 minutes ahead of Du Plessis in the second place. What is also remarkable about this result, is the fact that Struwig did not experience one single problem with the new Southern Yamaha YFZ450. This new quad, only launched in the second half of this year, has proven that it is a race winner - even in almost standard condition.

Struwig finished the traditional Round the Houses on Thursday (November 27) in the second place behind Shaun Gunther (Bombardier). Both riders are doing some track racing during the years and knew exactly how to take the corners so as not to let the other rider pass and Gunther walked away the winner. The 95km time trial followed just after that and because of a sidewall puncture that he needed to repair, he lost some valuable time and had to settle for the second position, 2 min 15 sec behind Charles Jonker on a Bombardier, on the starting grid for the main race.

But Jonker crashed out early on the second day still suffering from an injured collarbone and Struwig took the lead. Unfortunately, a marshall who could not get to his marshall point on time to show the quad riders the correct route, Struwig found himself on the motorcycle route going up an almost impassable rocky mountain pass. Because almost all the quad riders behind him got lost, it was decided to scrap the second day of the 2003 Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa for the fourwheelers in total and they started the last day in exactly the same positions and with the same time differences as after the time trial.

Knowing the route by now - the quad riders followed the same loop twice on Friday and Saturday - Struwig was flying and after the first loop, he entered the Designated Service Point at Roma 11 minutes ahead of next quad rider, Gunther. Then it was the last 60km stretch home where the race finished at Lancer's Gap just outside Maseru and Struwig (26) took his second victory of the season after the 364km loop and received the Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa laurel wreath for the first time in his eight years of off-road racing.

It was a delighted Struwig who celebrated his victory in Lesotho as well as the first victory for the new Yamaha YFZ450 quad in South Africa together with his sponsors, Southern Yamaha, and some of his loyal supporters.

Asked afterwards how he found the new quad and the race, he commented that it was just awesome. "I did not get off the bike once except when refuelling on Saturday and because it is so light and handles perfectly, I was not even too tired after the race. I enjoyed the Raptor I was racing during the season, but this is just awesome - and I only had a week to prepare it for the Roof. And I thought the new 450 will be more suitable for track racing, but I am amazed at it's off-road racing capabilites."

"Except for the problem with the marshall on Friday, the event was great and well marked. I would have prefered more rough sections, but to win the Roof of Africa, made for a excellent finish of a tough season," he said.

Struwig experienced some bad luck during the season, but won the Tarka 400 earlier and finished second at the Caledon 400. And even he could not finish two races, he will still finish the championship in the top ten. (The final positions will only be available next year as The Roost Carousel 400 results are still provisional until this matter is sorted out probably only next year.)

-syr-

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