Team Shimwells Yamaha Hluhluwe 400 preview

Fifth round of the ATV Powersport ITP National Off-road Racing Championship for Motorcycles . Shimwells Yamaha riders are leading every class in championship . Shimwells Yamaha leads overall championship . Two Shimwells Yamaha riders in top...

Fifth round of the ATV Powersport ITP National Off-road Racing Championship for Motorcycles

. Shimwells Yamaha riders are leading every class in championship
. Shimwells Yamaha leads overall championship
. Two Shimwells Yamaha riders in top three in overall championship
. Clayton Enslin injured at recent regional race

TWO SHIMWELLS YAMAHA RIDERS ON PODIUM IN OVERALL OFF-ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP

The ATV Powersport ITP National off-road racing season has reached its halfway mark and Clayton Enslin (EPH Shimwells Yamaha), who won the opening round in Swaziland, has been leading the overall championship throughout the season. He is currently also leading the 250cc Class.

Unfortunately Enslin has injured himself at a recent regional race and dislocated his hips and lower back and is still receiving treatment. There is a good chance that he might not be fit enough to participate in the upcoming Hluhluwe Queen Pineapple Off-road Spectacular, the fifth round of the national championship that will take place on 1 and 2 July.

Shimwells Yamaha riders are leading all the classes in the championship and the Open Class leader, Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio) is also third in the overall championship. Dick, who won the recent J'Bay Classic 400, has never won the Hluhluwe event, but he is confident that a victory in the pineapple valley is on the cards for him this coming weekend. * Dick is 15 points behind championship leader, Enslin, and only a single point separates him from local rider, Geoffrey Wolhuter (Kawasaki), who is second overall.

In the 200cc Class, Gavin Louw (Shimwells Yamaha) is sharing the lead with Riaan van Niekerk (KTM) after both riders scored two victories and two second places during the season. Louw, who participates with a 250cc four- stroke Yamaha, is only one point behind Van Niekerk in the overall championship where they are in the sixth and seventh places respectively. Louw finished the Hluhluwe event last year in the 13th place overall while he was third in the 200cc Class. His aim this year is to better his 2004 results and to move up on the overall leader board - he was third in the overall championship, but experienced some bad luck at the J'Bay Classic 400 and slipped to seventh place.

Louw will again have a team-mate in the 200cc Class - Kyle Poppleton (EPH Shimwells Yamaha) has swopped his 125cc Yamaha for a 250cc four-stroker and is already very comfortable with it. Poppleton had his share of bad luck this year and is fifth in the 125cc Class, but he is looking forward to participate with the bigger Yamaha in the 200cc Class.

The young Kenneth Gilbert (EPH Shimwells Yamaha/Wasa Racing) won the 125cc Class at the first three events of the season, but had to settle for the second place at J'Bay. This has not changed his position in the class championship where he has a comfortable lead of 28 points to second-placed Terry Waters (KTM). Gilbert has also finished in the overall top 15 at each event and scored points towards the overall championship where he is currently 12th.

In the Senior Pro Championship for competitors older that 38 years, Johnny Lochner (Shimwells Yamaha) is currently fourth overall after a consistent season. He stands a good chance to better his position as only one point separates him from the two riders sharing the third place while he is only four points behind second-placed rider, Grant May. Enzo Chiocchi (EPH Shimwells Yamaha) has also finished each race and is 11th in the Senior Pro Championship.

* You bet.

Gray Dick is quite confident about winning in Hluhluwe and has a bet with his arch rival, Darryl Curtis, who is also the defending champion. Dick has even given Curtis the odds for the event - if Curtis wins, Dick will pay him R25 000. If Dick wins, Curtis has to pay him only R100 (one hundred rand). It will be interesting to see who will walk away with the overall laurels (and some money) on Saturday.

The Hluhluwe Queen Pineapple Off-road Spectacular starts on Friday with a 50km time-trail that will determine the starting order for the main race on Saturday (2 July). On Saturday the first motorbike will start the 180km loop, which they had to complete twice, at 08h00 and the first quad will be off at 09h00.

-tsy-

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Series Other rally
Drivers Darryl Curtis , Riaan van Niekerk