Mafikeng Desert Challenge summary

DESERT RACE TOOK ITS TOLL ON OFF-ROAD BIKE AND QUAD RIDERS Although the thousand kilometres of the Mafikeng Desert Challenge took its toll on the off-road bike and quad competitors this past weekend, Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic) put...


Although the thousand kilometres of the Mafikeng Desert Challenge took its toll on the off-road bike and quad competitors this past weekend, Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic) put his King of the Desert crown back when he won this gruelling event for the fourth time while Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Lonestar) won the national quad category for the second consecutive year.

Dick, who started the main race on Friday only 14 seconds behind Louwrens Mahoney (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM), took the lead when Mahoney crashed. He started the last day with a comfortable lead of 6 min 32 sec on second placed Gavin Louw (The Roost Kawasaki) with Mahoney in ninth place and 15 minutes behind.

But the fromer champion had a big scare about 10 kilometres before the finish when the moose in his rear tyre collapsed causing the rubber to separate from the rim and destroying his seat and damaging the radiator. He managed to hold on and made it to the finish with only one wheel to also pick up the Open Class victory. Mahoney made up time and finished second without any further incidents to win the 250cc Class and was followed by Spencer Kriel (Natro Freight Carboncor KTM) who had an uneventful last day, but lost time after crashing twice during the first day of the main race and damaging his bike.

In the quad category, Badenhorst took the lead early during the first day of the main race when the leading quads took the wrong route. Even two flat tyres during the last day could not hold him back and he kept this lead until the finish to win his fourth race of the season. He was followed by Hendrik Potgieter (Bombardier SA) who lost time on the last day due to a damaged exhaust pipe. He also lost the support of his three team-mates (barbed wire injured Carl Wichmann; Cornel de Villiers withdrew due to mechanical problems and Leander Pienaar experienced engine problems) and it was the "wild card" rider, Pieter Breedt on the Bombardier DS650 who surprised everyone with his consistency and speed - he finished third overall.

Brian Baragwanath (ATV Powersport Lonestar) took the wrong route on the first day of the main race and lost almost an hour, but he perservered and fought back on the last day to finish fourth overall. Another surprise result was the 16 year-old Gerrie Prinsloo (ATV Powersport Bombardier) who, after crashing twice, finished fifth overall in his first national event. The Loubser brothers, Vincent and Glen (Yamaha YFZ450), continued their season-long battle and it was elder brother Vincent who beat Glen by only a minute after one thousand kilometres - they finished sixth and seventh respectively.

The rest of the top ten was made up by Sampie Ungerer (Bombardier SA) who won the Senior Class; the 16 year-old Bloemfontein scholar, Juan Meyer, who competed in his first national event on the Suzuki LTR450 and Simon Thesen (ATV Powersport Lonestar).

In the bike category various manufacturers made it into the top ten - Carel le Roux (Husqvarna SA) finished an uneventful race in fourth place while the Shimwells Yamaha newcomer, Mathew Dean, won the 125cc Class and finished in an excellent fifth place overall. Corrie van der Bergh (DMD ORD Racing Honda) crashed on the last day, but still finished sixth and was followed by Hylton Smith (The Roost KTM) who won the 200cc Class. Wynand Delport (Shimwells Yamaha) followed his team-mate (Dean) in the 125cc Class and finished eighth. Ninth overall with his best result so far this season, was Tjaart Coetzee (Mekatrade AGA LG Tyrolit KTM) who also finished second in the 200cc Class. His team-mate, Kyle Poppleton, was tenth and took the third podium position in the 200cc Class.

Also scoring points towards the overall championship was Michael Spencer (Natro Freight Carboncor KTM) who finished 11th; Gary Barton who was the best Ramco Suzuki rider; Owen Warren (ATV Powersport KTM); Wayne Farmer (Recopane Landscapes Gas Gas) and Gavin Louw (The Roost Kawasaki) who started the last day in second place, but lost time with a broken chain and brake problems.

Brian Bader (The Roost KTM) won the Senior Pro Class ahead of Dudley Smith (Husaberg) and Shaun Kirk (Ramco Suzuki) while Ian Mirk (Sadiba Russell Campbell Kawasaki) was the first Master Class rider home.

Quad competitors who also scored points towards the overall championship was Marius van Heerden (Yamaha Support Team YFZ450) who finished 11th; Stefan Swanepoel (Honda) - 12th; Chris Meyer (Honda TRX) who finished two places ahead of his older brother, TJ. Former Dakar-winner, Vicus van Deventer, proved that he can still compete with the youngsters and finished 14th overall on the Honda TRX450 and second in the Senior Class. AC Hoffman (Suzuki) won the Sportsman Class; Michelle Barnes (Suzuki) was the first lady home and Milton Thesen (ATV Powersport Yamaha) the first Master Class competitor.


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