Team Shimwells Yamaha Kalahari preview

3rd Round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles and Quads Shimwells Yamaha Wants To Keep "Kalahari King" Title Both the Shimwells Yamaha riders, Gray Dick as well as Jade Gutzeit, know they can win the Kalahari 1000,...

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

Shimwells Yamaha Wants To Keep "Kalahari King" Title

Both the Shimwells Yamaha riders, Gray Dick as well as Jade Gutzeit, know they can win the Kalahari 1000, the third round of the SA National Off-road Championship that will take place in the Vryburg area in the Northwest Province this coming weekend - and both desperately want to be crowned King of the Kalahari.

The 2002 champion, Gray Dick, won the Kalahari 1000 since it moved from Botswana to the original Desert Race country, Vryburg, and would like to achieve a hat trick by winning it three times in a row. Last year he started the race in pole position and kept the racing position in the front for the second day and then came home to score his second consecutive victory on the powerful Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio YZ450F. And with one victory (Noodsberg 400) as well as points for a well-deserved second place (Skyoil Swazi 400) behind his name, Dick is quite confident about the desert race.

But his team-mate, Jade Gutzeit, has thrown down the gauntlet even though he is racing the smaller capacity Shimwells Yamaha YZ250 and after winning the 250cc Class twice this season with an excellent third and second positions overall, he is also going for a win. Not really liking racing in thick sand and hating the thorn trees, Gutzeit decided to tackle the desert this year with a different approach. and the result has to be a victory.

And while there are some friendly rivalry going on between the two team-mates, they had to fight the rest of the field who would like to prove a point after losing out on the overall victory as well as the second position overall at the last national off-road event when Shimwells Yamaha ran away with these laurels. Dick is now leading the overall off-road motorcycles championship in his attempt to win this title again while the defending champion, Gutzeit, is currently lying third overall and only five points behind Dick.

The young Gavin Louw, racing the Shimwells Yamaha 250cc four-stroke, won the 200cc Class at the opening round of the season and scored a third place at the second event on the off-road racing calendar and he is still now this class. Unfortunately he injured himself somewhat while practicing a week before the Kalahari 1000, but he will be fit and ready to take on the big boys at this three-day event. Last year he won the 125cc Class at the desert and finished in the 10th place overall - quite a result for the smaller 125cc off-roader - but this year he is going for yet another class victory.

And although scoring points after both events, Zac Botha, participating in the 125cc Class at his first full national off-road racing season, did not have Lady Luck on his side so far this year. Being a good sportsman and caring for an injured rider, saw him losing some valuable time at the first event and mechanical problems being the reason while he had to start the Noodsberg 400 stone last after not finishing the time trial, resulted in him racing in dust and overtaking a big part of the field to finish 9th in his class in KZN. He will be on a mission to finish the Kalahari 1000 after not finishing last year due to a crash.

The Kalahari 1000 starts on Thursday, 29 April with documentation and scrutineering whereafter the riders had to complete a 65km time trial which will determine the starting order for the first day of the main race. The main race starts on Friday when the first quad rider will leave the starting line at 07h30 and the first motorcycle rider will be off at 08h00. They will leave the starting line on Saturday, 1 May, at the same times.

-dcs-

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