1st Round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles and Quads Team Shimwells Yamaha Started Off-Road Racing Season on a High Note 2 Class victories for Team Shimwells Yamaha 2nd and 3rd places overall Team Shimwells Yamaha ...
1st Round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles and Quads
Team Shimwells Yamaha Started Off-Road Racing Season on a High Note
2 Class victories for Team Shimwells Yamaha
2nd and 3rd places overall
Team Shimwells Yamaha started the 2004 off-road racing season on a high note when they walked away with two class victories while two of their riders finished in the second and third positions overall at the Skyoil Swazi 400, the first round of the SA National Off-road racing championship.
Gray Dick had a good race and finished second overall and second in the Open Class on the Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio Yamaha YZ450F - Darryl Curtis (KTM) won the Skyoil Swazi 400 while he was also the victor in the Open Class. Dick's team-mate and winner of this event last year, Jade Gutzeit, was the third rider home and the winner of the 250cc Class on the Shimwells Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke machine.
And after finishing second in the 2003 125cc Class Championship, Gavin Louw found himself on a 250cc four-stroke Yamaha, but he proved to be able to handle the more powerfull motorcycle when he won the 200cc Class (250cc four-stroke motorcycles compete in the 200cc Class). Louw finished in the 7th place overall.
Both Dick and Gutzeit would have wanted to win the opening round of the national off-road championship, but vowed that this is but just the beginning. The 65km time trial on Friday (February 20) was quite muddy in some places after good rains the week before and on Saturday, Dick was the fourth rider to tackle the main race consisting of a short loop (65km) and a longer loop (108km) which they had to complete twice. He caught Louwrens Mahoney (125cc KTM) after about 15 minutes and soon he was right on the rear wheel of his team-mate, Gutzeit, who was again chasing Curtis in the dust.
Dick made up good time and halfway through the race, he had lost only 15 seconds to Curtis, but then he lost some time when he got lost. He found his way quickly, but just before the end of the penultimate loop, he crashed into some trees and found himself stuck. The stuggle to free himself resulted in him losing even more time and he eventually finished 8 min 38 sec behind Curtis.
And although Gutzeit, the 2003 SA National Off-road Champion, won the 250cc Class and finished in third position, he was hoping for a better result or even a victory like last year. He started the race only 10 seconds behind Curtis, but was unfortunate when he crashed while chasing the leader in the dust. The handle bars on his Yamaha were bent and the hand-guard broken and then also experienced a vibration on the motorbike. But in typical Gutzeit style, he did not give up and the results has proven that his Shimwells Yamaha motorcycle with a smaller engine capacity, is a danger to those riders on more powerful machines.
In the 200cc Class, it was the young Gavin Louw who had great fun on the stronger Shimwells Yamaha YZ250F four-stroke and he had no difficulty making the change from the 125cc motorcycle he competed with in 2003. He loves the Swaziland event experienced no problems during the race.
Fresh out of school, Zac Botha made a good started to his first full national off-road season competing in the 125cc Class when he was the 15th rider on the starting grid and the second in the 125cc Class. He had a good, clean run, but real sportsmanship resulted in him losing several positions on the final results - he stopped to help a fellow rider who crashed and eventually Botha finished 8th in the 125cc Class (35th overall).
It was a successful first outing of the season for Team Shimwells Yamaha and they are looking forward to the second round of the SA National Off- road Championship, the Noodsberg 400 (March 19 & 20, 2004), new race on the calendar in the Pietermaritzburg/Wartburg area. Gutzeit, a businessman from Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal, will also participate in the Castrol Winterberg Enduro on March 5 & 6 in and around Hankey in the Eastern Cape. He won this event last year and after winning the first round of the SA National Enduro Championship, he is motivated for yet another victory.