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Lindie_Barnard.jpgOff-road racing for young motorcycle and quad competitors between the ages of seven and 16 years, might not have a long history in South Africa, but the Junior National Championship has had a strong following since being introduced almost a decade ago. After no racing on national level last year, the series was again introduced this year and the second round of the new Raslouw Academy Junior National Championship that took place in the Mooi River area in KwaZulu-Natal, attracted entries from all over the country.

This year, junior competitors have the opportunity to rub shoulders with their heroes as they compete on the same day and at the same venue than the seniors. The juniors have their own 20km route – an off-road route is being set out and marked with orange stickers for the riders – and the motorcycle and quad competitors race separately for two hours.

The youngsters had a taste of how the racing will work this year and put their first points on the scoreboard earlier this year when they tackled the Rysmierbult race in the diamond digging areas of Ventersdorp in February. Various races between February and 21 April kept the youngsters focussed and fit and they were looking forward to the second round of the series while a few new riders participated on national level for the very first time.

In the Junior 65cc Class for motorcycle competitors between the ages of seven and 12 years, Hayden Tully (KTM) claimed his second win with a narrow victory over Kyle Branson (KTM) – less than a minute and a half separated these two Gauteng riders. They were followed by Matatiele’s Noah Maartens (Team Pa Ma Racing KTM) who was relieved not to experience any mechanical problems like he had at the first race.

All the entrants in this class finished the race with Maartens’ team-mates from Matatiele, the Henderson brothers, Joshua and Matthew (KTM) finishing fourth and fifth respectively while Banie Barnard (Barnard Vervoer KTM), who broke his arm just before the first event and could not compete at Rysmierbult, was sixth after his first national racing experience.

Riders in the Junior 85cc Class are between the ages of eight and 13 years and compete with somewhat bigger motorcycles. Here Matthew Wilson (KTM) also claimed his second victory of the season. Ethan Bailey (KTM) made a great comeback after not being able to finish the first race and the Uvongo rider was second. The Mooi River Junior event was an all new experience for Heinrich Aust (KTM). He did well by scoring his first podium result – he was third – and was followed by Armand Fourie (KTM) who has now moved to the second place behind Wilson in the Junior 85cc Class Championship.

Some serious battles continued in the Senior 85cc Class between riders aged 13 to 16 years. Many of these youngsters have been competing in the Junior National Championship from an early age and have now grown up to be the ‘big boys’ in the junior racing.

Matatiele’s Stefan van Deventer (Pa Ma Racing KTM) took his first national victory of the season when he won the Senior 85cc Class after a battle with Maarten van Jaarsveld (Hydropower Systems & Mining Equipment KTM). Van Jaarsveld, who also competes in junior superbike racing, was closely followed by Barend Pretorius (KTM) who scored his first national podium result when he finished third, only 10 seconds behind Van Jaarsveld. Ryan Pelser (KTM) was not too far behind in fourth place while Luke Davis (Kawasaki) rounded off the top five of this class where 12 riders tackled the race.

It was a ‘home’ race for Kamberg’s Matthew Green (Kargo Racing KTM) who finished sixth while William Luxford (Yamaha) was seventh; Dean Gouws (KTM) travelled all the way from Stellenbosch to claim good points with his eighth place; Erik Merry (KTM) was ninth and Dylan Ackhurst (Yamaha) rounded off the top ten. Reynhard Taylor (Hydropower Systems & Mining Equipment KTM) was 11th despite getting somewhat lost while Liam Krause (Kawasaki) finished 12th. Krause showed awesome sportsmanship by spending time to help Fourie who was stuck in some mud

The junior motorcycle race took place between 8:00 and 10:00 and after assisting their sons in the pits, a few of the fathers then tackled their own race at 10:30. It was a bit of a different situation for the young competitors in the Junior Quad Class whose race started at 12:00 while their parents were still racing. Both parents of the Geldenhuys brothers, Antwan and Gerard (Abacus DIVISIONS Racing) were racing – dad Org competes in the Master Quad Class Championship while mom Karen is in the Ladies Quad Class – while Lindie Barnard’s mom (Liezel) is the defending Combined Ladies Class Champion and she was also still racing when the youngs quad riders tackled their race.

Janco Joubert (Suzuki) seems to be unstoppable and he claimed his second victory in the Junior Quad Class. He was followed by Lindie (Barnard Vervoer Suzuki) who finished as the runner-up behind Joubert for the second time. The Geldenhuys brothers did not compete in the national event earlier this year and with no points, they had to start behind those riders who did score at the first race. This did not keep Antwan (Yamaha) from posting his first podium result with a third place.

The girls were flying the flag for the lady competitors with Megan Stander (Suzuki) finishing fourth (she was also fourth at Rysmierbult earlier this year) while newcomer, Francois Bennett (Honda) scored points with a fifth place after his first national race. Gerard (Suzuki) unfortunately lost time when he ended up on the wrong route, but his sixth place means the first points on his scoreboard. 

Damien Robert (Sign Wonder Racing Honda) fell and could not complete the race.

 The 2015 Raslouw Academy Junior National Championship consists of five rounds and the third race, the Stella Beesfees Bush2Bush Juniors will take place at Stella in the Vryburg area on June 6th.

(Background articles: www.dirtracing.co.za – National Races – Raslouw Academy Junior National - link)  

More information and news: www.dirtracing.co.za / Dirt Racing (Facebook) / Follow @DirtRacingSA (Twitter)



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