3rd Round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles and Quads Victories For Yamaha Motorcycle and Quad Riders at Kalahari 1000 It was a third consecutive Kalahari 1000 victory for Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car ...
3rd Round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Motorcycles and Quads
Victories For Yamaha Motorcycle and Quad Riders at Kalahari 1000
It was a third consecutive Kalahari 1000 victory for Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio YZ450F) when he, like last year, took the lead after the time trial and kept this lead until the end of an extremely gruelling 1 035km in the Kalahari desert sand, a riverbed with huge boulders and the well-known thorn bushes in the Northwest Province.
Dick has now won the Kalahari 1000 since this race was moved from Botswana to the Vryburg area three years ago and the undisputed Kalahari King is now also leading the 2004 overall motorcycle and Open Class championships.
In the national quad category, it was a fourth successive victory for the new Yamaha YFZ450 since riders started to participate with it at the end of last season and this time it was Carl Wichmann (ATV Powersport) who took the victory. Wichmann took the lead on the last day from Jacques Struwig (Southern Yamaha/IGT Africa YFZ450) who lead from time trial and was still leading after the second day's 490km. But a cracked piston after 210km on the last day saw him losing an hour and he had to settle for the sixth place overall and fifth in the Open Class. Wichmann's team-mate, Brendan Badenhorst (PP Laeger YFZ450) initially took the lead from Struwig, but battery trouble meant the end of his race.
In the national motorcycle section, Darryl Curtis (AGA/LG KTM) charged hard from his second position and struggled with brake problems during the event that also resulted in him crashing a few times. He kept his second place until the end of the race and finished ahead of his team-mate, Clayton Enslin (Enzo Chiocchi KTM). Enslin was happy with this result, as he could not finish the 2003 Kalahari 1000 when he experienced black-outs. This happened again this year, but this time he managed to reach the end in the third place and scored his first 250cc victory this season.
The Pongola rider, Bernard Johnstone (Ramco/Cell C Suzuki) scored the best result in his national off-road racing career when he finished fourth overall with the only real problem a flat front tyre Friday in the much talked-about riverbed. Wayne Farmer (The Roost KTM) was the fifth motorcycle rider home and took the third podium position on the 250cc rostrum.
The remaining positions in the top five in the quad category were filled with competitors on the powerful Bombardier Desert Storm 650 with Charles Jonker (Speed Bike Bombardier) in the second place. Jonker had an eventful Kalahari 1000 and experienced a flat tyre during time trial while he also got lost on the second day and even crashed into a tree. But his biggest escape was the last day on the starting-line when he had to repair a faulty rear yellow light which cost him 15 minutes!
Hennie Michau, a farmer from Tuinplaas in the Northern Province, finished in an excellent third position overall on his Bombardier and was the first rider home in the Senior Championship. He started the last day in the fifth place and just had to pick up the pieces when the Kalahari Desert took its toll on the younger riders. And rounding off the top five, was Theo Boshoff who was the first quad rider to receive the chequered flag at the end of the race, but his longer racing time on the second day resulted in him finishing fourth overall. Hendrik Potgieter (Bombardier Speed Quad) was the only member of his three-man team to finish the event (Shaun Gunther and Christoph Kunhl from France experienced mechanical problems on the second day) and he is now leading the overall national quad championship.
Struwig (sixth overall) finished well ahead of the second senior quad rider, Kevern Pelser also on a Bombardier DS650 as well as the third placed senior, Christo van der Merwe (Yamaha YFZ450). The senior riders taught the younger riders a lesson when Clifford Bennett (Bombardier) rounded off the top ten just after Anton Lourens (Yamaha Raptor).
The top ten finishers in the motorcycle category saw a mixture of KTM, a VOR, Yamaha and Suzuki riders making it home with Carel le Roux (Miller Moore KTM) sixth. Le Roux had a 3cm thorn extracted from his forearm just under the elbow and experienced a lot of pain during the first two days of racing. Juan "Bollie" van Rooyen (Amadu TM/VOR Racing), still an inexperienced off-road rider from Port Elizabeth, had a good race and was seventh overall followed by Gavin Louw (Shimwells Yamaha) who took the 200cc Class victory when he finished in the eighth place overall.
But it was the fight for the 125cc laurels that was the talk of the event. Louwrens Mahoney (AGA LG KTM) was leading this competitive class ahead of Hylton Smith (Ramco/Cell C Suzuki) when the engine on KTM seized 5km before the finish. He was then towed and planned to push his motorcycle over the finish line, which is allowed according to the rules. He was however told that the bike must be running when crossing the finish line and the young Castrol Winterberg Enduro winner tried for 15 minutes to get his KTM running again. And while struggling to get the tired engine running, Smith overtook him to score his second successive 125cc Class victory. Mahoney was tenth overall and second in the 125cc Class.
Kobie van Breda (The Roost KTM) won the Senior Pro Motorcycle class.
It was a tough race and took it's toll - only 37 motorcycle riders managed to finish the 2004 Kalahari 1000 (excluding the Senior Pro competitors who do only 75% of the race) with 27 quad riders who made it to the finish.