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OFF-ROAD CHAMPIONS HAD TO WORK HARD FOR NATIONAL TITLES AT FINAL Print E-mail

LouwSchmidt__Photo_by_Daniel_Darrah_GoPhoto_.jpgThe final two rounds of the TOTPAK National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad Championships, the BC 400 that took place from Brandvlei Cellars outside Worcester in the Western Cape, will be remembered as being tough and demanding on riders and their equipment and blistered hands, sore bodies and hammered racing machines were proof that these two races will go down as the hardest of the 2015 season.

With almost all the national championships still to be decided at the BC 400, competitors felt the pressure and the dusty (but scenic), rocky and even sandy routes in the valleys as well as the fact that there were two events over three days (Thursday and Saturday) to complete, added to the excitement.

Each day started with a time-trial of between 50 and 55 kilometres that determined the starting order for the 300 km race.

There were four victories and three national championship titles for Proudly Bidvest Yamaha. In the motorcycle category, a victory and second place secured Kenny Gilbert the OR1 (Open) Championship while Brett Swanepoel claimed the OR3 title by taking his fourth victory on Thursday. Denzil Torlage won the Master Class on both days. In the quad category, Brian Baragwanath could not finish the first day (engine problems) and a second place on Saturday secured him his second consecutive National Q1 title.

In the nail biting OR1 battle in the motorcycle category, the leader, Michael Pentecost (Kargo Racing Yamaha) finished second in the championship – only one point behind Gilbert – despite the fact that he could not finish the second day. Ross Branch (Brother Leader Tread KTM) had problems on the first day, but won on Saturday to claim the third place for the season while his team-mate, Louwrens Mahoney, walked away with a second and third place after a handle bar banging race with Gilbert on Thursday at Worcester.

Team Brother Leader Tread KTM scored five wins and two titles. Louw Schmidt won the OR2 (250cc) title after adding two more victories to his previous three this year while two more victories for Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen secured him his second consecutive Senior Class Championship. Their team-mates, Jarryd Coetzee (he was injured on the first day, but still finished as the runner-up in the OR3 championship) and Tyron Miller (he fell on the second day), had a mixture of results with both claiming a podium at the BC 400.

There were also good results for the D&H Engineering Works Yamaha team. Jaycee Nienaber struggled with suspension problems, but two more finishes saw him finishing as the runner-up in the OR2 championship with his team-mate, Roan Lindsay, finishing the season in third place despite breaking his wrist earlier this year. The Cape rider, David Ellis (Eddy2Race Husqvarna) claimed an OR2 podium (he was third on Saturday) at Worcester while the consistent Shaun Mostert (KTM) finished fourth for the season.

A second and fourth place for Dean Lindsay secured him the runner-up position in the extremely competitive High School Class Championship.

The OR3 title battle between Swanepoel and Coetzee was settled on Thursday, but behind them, more great racing took place. Charan Moore (Yamaha) followed his second place up with a victory on the last day while the Cape riders, Wilhelm Schonfeldt (Helderberg Yamaha) and Devan Marais (Yamaha) impressed their home crowd with exciting racing. They swopped fourth and fifth places during the two days.

Anything could still happen in the Senior Class Championship. *Team Bert Smith All Stars Racing Powered by RAD KTM’s Kobus Jonck claimed two runner-up results with his team-mate, Pieter Holl, as well as Wayne Farmer (Roost KTM / EC Security), who was leading the class, also getting a chance on the podium. Jonck is the runner-up in the championship with the consistent Farmer (the only one to complete all the races) third as he had to drop his worst set of results.

The race took its toll on the Master Class competitors where only three managed to start the second day. Torlage won on both days with Martin Poole (Yamaha) also claiming two podium results, but the title went to Ian Venter (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing) who crashed, but finished seventh on Thursday. Bert Smith Racing’s Leon Gerber as well as the Cape’s Martin Lourens (Yamaha) also finished on the podium at the BC 400.

A Cape youngster, Calvin Wiltshire (Yamaha) surprised the ‘regulars’ in the High School Class by winning both days with another local rider, Shannon Ackerman (Yamaha) also finishing on the podium on Saturday. The defending champion and class leader, Eduan Bester (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing) had mechanical problems on Thursday, but finished fourth and a second place on Saturday secured him the title. Erhardt Beukes (VAN’s Racing Division KTM) also scored a podium result while Lindsay’s team-mate, Adriano Catalano, finished in the top five at both events despite experiencing some mechanical problems.

Ruan Merry (KTM) and Riaan Prinsloo (Yamaha) took a Silver Class Challenge victory each, but the title went to Nicholas Mauerberger (Barnard Vervoer Racing Yamaha) who showed real determination after a crash to finish both days. The Cape’s Leslie Holmes (Husqvarna) finished third after both days.

Mauerberger’s team-mate, Taye Perry (KTM) won the Ladies Class on both days and was followed by motocross racer, Natasha Rugani (Yamaha).

In the quad category, Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) won Q1 on the first day, but a broken axle on Saturday saw his title chase slipping away. He still finished as the runner-up behind Baragwanath. André Park (Yamaha) followed a DNF (Did Not Finish) on Thursday up with his first national victory on Saturday to secure a third place in the championship standings. Both Damien Lee (Honda) and Jaco Moller (Extreme ATV Tzaneen Yamaha) tepped on to the podium on Thursday before they had to call it a day on the last day due to problems.

Cape rider, Joshua Schenk (Yamaha) was the only other Q1 finisher during the two days.

Paul dos Santos (Yamaha) was the only Senior Class rider to finish both days and secured his second place in this championship while Rick van Tonder (Honda) finished his first race for the season on Thursday whe he finished third after a long day in the saddle. The Garies rider, Anton van den Berg (Suzuki) won this class on the first day, but only competed in the Western Cape Regional Championship on Saturday.

There were lots of ‘tactics’ in the Master Class where George Twigge (Yamaha) claimed two more wins and a second consecutive National Master Class title. Local rider, Clive Crouse (Helderberg Yamaha) finished second on both days with Roxy dos Santos (Suzuki) and Peter Walter (Yamaha) both also visiting the podium. Milton Thesen (Thesens Generators Yamaha) and his team-mate, Roger Barnes (at 70 he is the oldest national competitor) both completed both races with Tony dos Santos (Yamaha) and Innes Moolman (Yamaha) completing one race.

The youngsters in the High School Class showed great sportsmanship with Ryno Trichardt (Yamaha) towing in Keenan Hammon (KTM) during the time-trial on the first day. Hammon took the victory on both days and claimed the title with Trichardt finishing second for the season after a runner-up result on Thursday (mechanical problems prevented him from finishing the second day). Ruan Stander (Yamaha) survived various mechanical issues (a broken axle on the first day and starter problems on the second day to mention but a afew), but he persevered to finish both days on the podium. He is third for the year.

In the Ladies Quad Class, the Namibian Julia Moths (Yamaha) won on Thursday, but she could unfortunately not follow that up with another result. Liezel Barnard (Barnard Vervoer Can-Am) followed a second place on Thursday up with a victory while Wilmari Moller (Extreme ATV Tazneen Honda) also finished on the podium twice despite being bruised after crashing on the first day. Unofficial scoring sees Moller and Barnard sharing the same amount of points at the front of the Ladies Quad Class for the season. (The standings in the Combined Ladies Class Championship re not finalised yet.)

The BC 400 concludes a successful 2015 Totpak National Off-road Championship. Motorsport SA (MSA) will update the official points soon and the 2015 South African National Champions will then be crowned.

View the full results on www.dirtracing.co.za.



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