Caledon 400 review

MAHONEY AND BADENHORST ADDED CALEDON 400 LAURELS TO THEIR 2006 LIST The current leaders in the bike and quad categories of the national off- road championship, Louwrens Mahoney (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM) and Brendan Badenhorst...


The current leaders in the bike and quad categories of the national off- road championship, Louwrens Mahoney (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM) and Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Lonestar), added the winning laurels of the Caledon 400 to their list when they were victorious for the fourth and fifth times respectively this season.

Mahoney was unchallenged and lead from start to finish while Badenhorst took the lead in the third of four 100km laps when his team-mate, Brian Baragwanath, who started the race in pole-position, wrong slotted. Baragwanath had to settle for third place as local Free State hero, Leander Pienaar (Bombardier SA) posted the fastest time of the day in the quad category to beat Baragwanath by 2 min 18 seconds. Pienaar lost time during the 100km time-trail due to exhaust pipe problems and started the race in 13th place, 15 minutes behind Baragwanath. It was the first year since 2002 that a Bombardier quad did not win the Caledon 400.

In the bike section, Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic) finished second when he beat his team-mate, Clayton Enslin (EPH/Shimwells Yamaha) by a mere four seconds. Enslin made an excellent come-back after not competing since February due to injuries. Yamaha walked away with the Manufacturer's Award when Jaco Vermaak (Loerie Yamaha) scored the best result of his short racing career when he finished fourth overall.

Gavin Louw (The Roost Kawasaki) was fifth overall and was followed by the 200cc Class-winner, Hylton Smith (The Roost KTM) who is now racing with the 250cc four-stroke KTM. Kyle Poppleton (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM), who participated on the 250cc four-stroke KTM for the first time, started the race in fifth position and finished seventh overall while the consistent Gary Barton (Ramco Suzuki) was the eighth bike rider home after beating veteran rider, Corrie van der Burgh (DMD ORD Racing Honda) by 29 seconds over 500 kilometres.

Mathew Dean (Shimwells Yamaha) won the 125cc Class for the second consecutive race when he finished 10th overall.

In the quad category the gruelling race took its toll, but even more Free State riders came out tops. The 16-year old Bloemfontein rider, Chris Meyer (Honda), finished fourth on home turf with his older brother, TJ, also on a Honda, sixth overall while Juan Meyer, also 16 years old, scored a deserving 11th place on his Bloem Suzuki. Jacques Breedt (ATV Powersport Lonestar) was sandwiched between the Meyer brothers and his fifth place, was the best in his national off-road racing career. Pieter Labuschagne (Bombardier) was the first Senior Class rider home and in a superb seventh place overall. His closest competition in the Senior Class would come in the form of Sampie Ungerer (Lonestar) who finished 15th.

And while the 2004 winner, Hendrik Potgieter (Bombardier SA) could not finish this time due to engine problems, his team-mates, Carl Wichmann and the defending champion, Cornel de Villiers, finished eighth and 10th respectively. De Villiers was once again in top form with his big 850cc Bombardier Outlander V-twin 4x4 although some mechanical problems cost him valuable time.

The battle between the Loubser brothers was, for the first time this season, won by the younger of the two, Glen, who started the race 2 min 03 seconds behind 'ouboet' Vincent, but beat him by 3 min 37 seconds on overall time when he finished ninth. Vincent was 12th overall and was followed by Stefan Swanepoel (Honda) and the winner of the Sportman Class, AC Hoffman on a Suzuki.

In the national bike category, five more riders scored points towards the overall championship - Kenneth Gilbert (Shimwells Yamaha/Wasa Racing) finished 11th overall followed closely by Samuel Barnard (DMD ORD Racing Honda) in 12th place. Craig Stone (Alfie Cox Natro Freight Racing KTM) was only 37 seconds behind Barnard in 13th place while Tjaart Coetzee (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM) scored points in 14th place with Alex Vowles (The Roost KTM) 15th.

The Senior Pro championship was won by Brian Bader (The Roost KTM) followed by Dudley Smith (Yamaha) and Kingsley Nurden (Alfie Cox Natro Freight Racing KTM) while Ian Mirk (Sadiba Russell Campbell Kawasaki) won the Master Class (non-championship).

Pietro Cutino (Cutino Bros. Eng. Kawasaki) was the first Master Class quad rider home.

The Caledon 400 race, this year consisting of a gruelling 500 kilometres in the Tweespruit area, took no prisoners and some of the championship contenders who could not reach the finish line, were Juan "Bollie" van Rooyen (Sadiba Russell Campbell Kawasaki) who experienced gearbox problems while he was lying second overall; the 125cc Class leader, Wynand Delport, who had mechanical problems and had to surrender his championship class lead and Carel le Roux (Husqvarna SA) who raced with an ankle injury.

In the quad category Jacques "Boesman" Struwig (Southern ATV Laeger) lost his second place and had to settle for 25th place overall after replacing a crank in the pits; Simon Thesen (ATV Powersport Yamaha) had exhaust pipe problems; engine trouble saw the end of Pieter Breedt's (Bombardier SA) race; battery problems forced Danie Coetzer (Polaris SA Racing Predator) to call it a day; steering problems made an end to Johan van Lill's attempt on the Quadworx VLS and Hennie Michau (ATV Powersport Yamaha) crashed.

The penultimate round of the national off-road championship is the Rondalia Naboomspruit 400 on 20 and 21 October in the Limpopo Province.

-credit: et.komm

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Series Other rally
Drivers Alfie Cox , Craig Stone