Off-Road Bikers Produced Racing Spectacular at Vilagama 400 Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio) and Tiaan Reynecke (EMD Racing Yamaha Raptor) were the respective winners of the overall motorcycle and quad categories at the ...
Off-Road Bikers Produced Racing Spectacular at Vilagama 400
Gray Dick (Shimwells Yamaha/Panasonic Car Audio) and Tiaan Reynecke (EMD Racing Yamaha Raptor) were the respective winners of the overall motorcycle and quad categories at the Vilagama 400 off-road, the penultimate round of the SA National Off-road championship in Naboomspruit this weekend.
It was Dick's third victory of the season while Reynecke, who matriculated last year, took his first victory ever. Dick was the second motorcycle rider to start the race and was seven seconds behind Spencer Kriel (Alfie Cox Adventures/Natro Freight KTM). He passed him before the halfway mark and kept his lead until he received the chequered flag after completing the 55km and 118km loops twice in hot and dusty conditions in the Limpopo Province.
Reynecke took the lead during the third loop when the leading quad rider, Brendan Badenhorst (ATV Powersport Laeger Yamaha YFZ450) had to withdraw due to engine problems and Jacques Struwig (Southern Yamaha) spent some time in the pits to replace the bash plate on his Yamaha YFZ450. Hendrik Potgieter and Cornel de Villiers (Bombardier Speed Quad) also overtook Struwig in the pits, but he passed them again and the battle for victory between him and Reynecke lasted until 30km before the finish when the rear axle bearings on his YFZ450 collapsed while he was leading the Vilagama 400 and allowed Reynecke to take the overall laurels.
Despite a flat tyre, Potgieter finished second and he has his first championship title in sight. De Villiers was third and was followed by Stefan Coetzee (VLS Africa) who had a consistent race and kept his second place in the overall championship. Danie Coetzer (Polaris SA Racing Predator) took some time off preparing for matric exams and finished fifth overall.
In the motorcycle category, Darryl Curtis (AGA/LG KTM) followed Dick home to secure his first overall national off-road title. It was an excellent result for the Shimwells Yamaha team when Jade Gutzeit, who started the race in the 15th place 2 min 34sec behind the leader, won the 250cc Class and earned himself the third step on the overall podium. Kriel had to settle for the fourth place overall while another Shimwells Yamaha rider, Gavin Louw, was the 5th rider home and also scored his third 200cc class victory of the season on the 250cc four-stroke Yamaha.
Louw was followed by two more contenders in the 200cc Class, Wynand van der Linde (The Roost KTM) and Riaan van Niekerk (Tyrolit KTM). Van Niekerk finished the event in pain as he crashed into a tree and injured his ribs. The top ten was rounded off by Bernard Johnstone (Ramco/Cell C Suzuki),
Alex Vowles (The Roost KTM) and Louwrens Mahoney (AGA/G KTM) who won the 125cc Class. Mahoney, who raced with a bad bout of flu, had to make changes to the suspension set-up of his KTM after the 55km time-trial and had to struggle initially with dust during the main race as he was the third of three riders who started within three seconds.
Shaun Kirk (Ramco/Cell C Suzuki) scored his first Senior Pro victory of the season and was followed by the Senior Pro Championship leader, Kobie van Breda (The Roost KTM) and Kirk's team-mate, Mark Uglietti.
The competition in the quad category was quite fierce with the riders in the sixth to the 10th positions all finishing within five minutes. Local rider, Wilhelmus Potgieter (Bombardier) was the sixth quad rider home followed by Zane Davidson (Perry Yamaha YFZ450) and the first competitor in the Senior Championship, Hennie Michau (Bombardier). Michau, a farmer from the neighbouring town, Tuinplaas, experienced mechanical problems and had to battle it out with Christo van der Merwe (Yamaha Support Team YFZ450), who led the Senior Class for a big part of the race. Van der Merwe eventually finished 10th overall and second in the Senior Class, just behind the defending champion, Shaun Gunther (Bombardier Speed Quad) who was ninth overall.
Almost all the class championships in both the motorcycle and the quad categories are still up for grabs and the table is prepared for an exciting countdown to the final round of the SA National Off-road Championship, the Vodacom Lesotho Sun Roof of Africa that will take place from 25 to 27 November in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.