Team Shimwells Yamaha Roof of Africa preview

Gray Dick Wants To Win First Roof of Africa Title Gray Dick, the Open Class competitor of Team Shimwells Yamaha, is confident that he can win his first Roof of Africa title when he takes on the rest of the competitors in the Vodacom Lesotho...

Gray Dick Wants To Win First Roof of Africa Title

Gray Dick, the Open Class competitor of Team Shimwells Yamaha, is confident that he can win his first Roof of Africa title when he takes on the rest of the competitors in the Vodacom Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa, the last round of the SA National Off-road Championship for motorcycles that is taking place this weekend in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.

Dick, who has won three events this season and scored one second and one third place, has already secured the second place in the overall as well as in the Open Class championship - just behind his good friend and arch- rival, Darryl Curtis, who has won both these titles at the penultimate event of the year.

But for the 2002 champion, winning the Vodacom Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa is as prestigious as winning the championship, and seeing that the overall and Open Class titles are no longer within his reach, he has changed his tactics for the last event of the season and plans on leaving Lesotho with his first Roof of Africa trophy. A change of tactics and a "Secret Weapon" will see him taking on the 38th event in Lesotho.

Unfortunately Dick's team mate and the winner of the 2003 Roof of Africa, Jade Gutzeit, will not be able to participate due to an injury. He has torn the ligaments at the back of his right knee when he crashed while practicing just over a week ago. Gutzeit won the extremely technical Caledon 400, an event that turned out to be a disaster for many riders when it rained for two days in the Free State. He also finished on the overall podium three times (every time together with Dick) and won the 250cc Class four times. This has put him in a strong third overall position while he is also third in the class championship.

Gutzeit has almost secured the third place on the overall podium - Geoffrey Wolhuter, the defending 250cc Class champion, is currently fourth overall and has to win the Vodacom Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa overall to kick the 2003 champion off the last podium position. The chances are however quite good that Gutzeit might loose his second place in the 250cc Class championship as he is within reach of two consistent riders - he is four points ahead of Wolhuter and eight points ahead of Bernard Johnstone, but the worst case scenario is the fourth place in this class.

Gavin Louw also experienced an excellent season with three 200cc Class victories, one second place and a third position to put him in the lead in this championship. He is leading Riaan van Niekerk by 10 points in the fight for the class title while he is only three points ahead of him in the overall championship. Louw is currently eighth overall and Van Niekerk ninth and both riders stand a good chance of moving up the overall point's ladder as Clayton Enslin, who is just ahead of them, will not be participating.

The young Zac Botha will once again try his luck in the mountains of Lesotho on the Yamaha YZ125. He has not finished a race in this neighbouring country and would like to upset the applecart in the 125cc Class where Hylton Smith and Louwrens Mahoney will be fighting it out for the championship laurels. Botha has proven that he can race with the class leaders, but some bad luck kept him from scoring points at three events.

The Vodacom Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa starts on Wednesday, November 24, with documentation and scrutineering at the Lesotho Sun in Maseru. The traditional Round the Houses, a 3,6km route in the streets of Maseru that the riders have to complete three times, will kick-off at 09h00 the next morning where after the riders will depart immediately to the start of the 70km time trial at Lancer's Gap.

On Friday, November 26, the first motorcycle competitor will be departing at 06h00 on a 386km loop while the first national quad rider will start at 06h45 on a 410km route and on Saturday, the surviving riders will be starting at the same times at Matsieng which will also serve as the finishing point.

-tsy-

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Series Other rally
Drivers Darryl Curtis