OFF-ROAD LEADERS WILL BE CHASED IN EASTERN CAPE The respective leaders of the national bike and quad categories, Darryl Curtis (AGA LG/Tyrolit/Mekatrade KTM) and Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Lonestar), will...
OFF-ROAD LEADERS WILL BE CHASED IN EASTERN CAPE
The respective leaders of the national bike and quad categories, Darryl Curtis (AGA LG/Tyrolit/Mekatrade KTM) and Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Lonestar), will have point-hungry riders chasing them at the Red Cherry 400, the second round of the championship that will take place on 31 March and 1 April in the Eastern Cape.
Badenhorst won the national quad category of this race last year while he was leading the championship and will be chased by his Honda team-mate, Brian Baragwanath, who could not finish this event last year. Baragwanath is currently lying third in the championship and is only two points behind Ricky da Silva (Lonestar 440) who is second in the overall championship and who will be participating in the Eastern Cape for the first time.
The Red Cherry 400 might be a revenge race for Jacques "Boesman" Struwig (Southern ATV Laeger) who was leading the first race of the season before he experienced problems with his 350cc two-stroke Laeger. He had to settle for fourth place then and also finished fourth in the Eastern Cape last year - he would like to better both these results this weekend.
In the mix and looking for their first podium positions of the season, will be the Bombardier SA team. Although all their riders - the defending champ, Cornel de Villiers, former champion Hendrik Potgieter, Carl Wichmann and newcomer, Leander Pienaar - finished in the top ten earlier this year, they would like to score a victory and podium positions to better their standings in the overall championship. De Villiers will be on the powerful 800cc Outlander 4x4 again, but if the route turns out to be tight, the big, but powerfull Bombardiers might be a handful.
In the national bike category, Curtis won the first race of the season, but there are a gaggle of top riders who all stand a chance of victory. One of them is former champion, Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic) who won this event last year, but who could not finish the event opener. He will have to face Curtis who has more experience in the Eastern Cape as he has been participating (and winning) in the Winterberg Enduro for the last few years.
The Red Cherry 400 might also mean revenge for Louwrens Mahoney (AGA LG/Tyrolit/Mekatrade KTM) who was disqualified after the first event of the season. Mahoney won four races last year and finished second in the championship, but will have to make up for lost points and a victory is his only aim.
Other riders who stand a chance of springing a surprise - and debut - victory, is Spencer Kriel (Carboncor Alfie Cox Racing KTM); local hero, Juan "Bollie" van Rooyen (Sadiba Russell Campbell Kawasaki) who is participating in the 250cc Class and Gavin Louw (Shimwells Yamaha) who is now also in a position to win on his new 250cc two-stroke Yamaha. Unfortunately the defending champ, Clayton Enslin (EPH Shimwells Yamaha) will be out of action due to injuries caused by a head-on collision with Mahoney at a regional enduro event. Craig Stone (Carboncor Alfie Cox Racing KTM) is currently leading the 200cc Class after an excellent second place overall at the season opener and he might just finish on the podium again. Gary Barton (Ramco Suzuki) is leading the 250cc Class after a superb third place overall last month.
Other motorbike competitors who might upset the applecart, is the 125cc Class champ, Kenneth Gilbert (Shimwells Yamaha) who is now contending in the 125cc Class; former East London rider, Wynand Kleynhans (Recopane Landscapes Gas Gas) and his team-mate, Wayne Farmer who is leading the 125cc Class. Dudley Smith (Husaberg) is leading the Senior Pro Championship.
There are a few quad riders who have been knocking on the door of a victory or a podium position and the Red Cherry 400 might just be the race for them to cause a stir. Danie Coetzer (Polaris SA Racing); Johan van Lill (Quadworx VLS) and even the leading Senior Class rider, Hennie Michau (ATV Powersport Lonestar) might spring a surprise on the rest of the field.
The Red Cherry 400 will start on Friday (31 March) with an 80km time-trail in the Port Elizabeth area. This will determine the starting order and starting positions for the main race that will take place on Saturday (1 April) when the quads will tackle the clover leaf route at 07h30 from the PPC cement factory in the Hankey area west of PE. The first motorcycle rider will start the race at 08h30.