Quads Were Fastest at Slippery Orion Piggs Peak 400 Off-Road Race For the first time since the quads started to do off-road racing with the motorcycles, the first two quads home - Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Lonestar 450) and...
Quads Were Fastest at Slippery Orion Piggs Peak 400 Off-Road Race
For the first time since the quads started to do off-road racing with the motorcycles, the first two quads home - Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Lonestar 450) and Jacques Struwig (Southern Yamaha YFZ450) - were quicker than the winner of the motorcycle category, Clayton Enslin (EPH Shimwells Yamaha). Rainy and slippery conditions were the main reason why the quad riders beat the bikers at the opening round of the ATV Powersport ITP Motorcycle and Quad National Off-road Racing Championship.
Both Badenhorst and Enslin lead their categories from the time-trial to the end of the race, but where Badenhorst had a 8 min 31 sec lead on Struwig (the front shockabsorbers on Struwig's Southern Yamaha YFZ450 collapsed during the rist 120km loop), Enslin had to fight off the defending champion, Darryl Curtis on the bigger Open Class KTM Racing KTM. He beat Curtis by a mere 22 seconds and won the 250cc Class as well.
Two more Yamaha riders followed Curtis home - Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio) and Gavin Louw who won the 200cc Class on his 250cc four-stroke Yamaha. At one stage Louw was ahead of both Curtis and Dick, but he lost some time on the slippery route when he crashed and then went on to score the best position in his national off-road racing career.
Alfie Cox (Natro Freight/Red Bull KTM), who won the last motorcycle off- road race in the Piggs Peak area in 1987, finished in an excellent 5th place overall even though he was still suffering from a knee injury after the recent Dakar event. He was followed home by Spencer Kriel from the Alfie Cox Adventures/Natro Freight KTM team who was the second 250cc rider home while Geoffrey Wolhuter (Sadiba Russell Campbell Kawasaki) experienced some trouble with muddy water behind his goggles that got into his eyes and took the 7th place on the podium and the third on the 250cc Class podium.
The top ten was rounded off by Riaan van Niekerk (KTM SA Racing) who scored the second place in the 200cc Class; Erroll Dalton (KTM SA Racig) and the consistent Juan van Rooyen on the Amada TM VOR Racing TM, the reliable Italian four-stroke TM. Wolhuter's team-mate, Andrew Ogden, who has not participated in the 2004 national season due to injuries, has recovered fully and finished in 11th place - only eight seconds behind Ogden, while the winner of the 125cc Class, Kenneth Gilbert (Wasa/EPH Shimwells Yamaha) finished 1 min 03 sec behind Ogden and in the 12th place. Only one second separated Hendrik Kraaij (Ramco Suzuki) from Gilbert and only 36 seconds separated Kraaij from his team-mate, Bernard Johnstone, in 14th place. Terry Waters (The Roost KTM) was second in the 125cc Class and the last national competitor to score points in the 15th position.
In the national quad category, quads from six different manufacturers made in into the top ten - the BelcherBuilt Lonestar won its second consecutive race and behind Struwig's Southern Yamaha YFZ450, the 2004 champion, Hendrik Potgieter got off to a good start when he finished third on the Bombardier Speed Quad. Potgieter got stuck once and had to race without rear-brakes for a while, but had enough time to finish ahead of Zane Davidson on the Perry Yamaha YFZ450 (4th) who was followed home by Johan van Lill on the VLS fitted with a 525cc KTM engine.
All the changes the Polaris SA Racing made to their racing Predator, paid dividends and Kiri Oberholzer was the 6th national quad rider home ahead of the "new addition" to the Bombardier Speed Quad team, Carl Wichmann. Simon Thesen finished 8th overall on another Yamaha YFZ450 while Dallie Terblanche (CIT Honda TRX450R) also got off to a good start to the season when he finished 9th overall. Christo van der Merwe (Bombardier Speed Quad Nelspruit) was the 10th quad home and first in the Senior Class.
Some 68 quads started the national championship and 46 made it to the finish while a total of 108 quads started the event in the various classes. In the national non-championship classes, Milton Thesen (Yamaha) won the Master Quad Class; Emden Els (ATV Powersport Lonestart 450) won the 30 Plus Class; Estie Burger (La Bamba Hoedspruit Yamaha) won the Ladies Class and Marc Schutte (Honda) won the Master Bike Class.
The first Orion Piggs Peak 400 drew a total of 322 competitors.
The second round of the ATV Powersport ITP Motorcycle and Quad National Off- road Racing Championship, is the Noodsberg 400 that will take place from 4 to 5 March in the Wartburg area in KZN.