ORD Honda Racing survived gruelling Toyota 1000 Desert Race
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media)
17 June 2008
Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, 14 & 15 June 2008 – 4th Round of the SA National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad Championships
Off-road race information:
Bike route: 950 kilometres (Day 1: 440km; Day 2: 510km)
Quad route: 850 kilometres (Day 1: 410km; Day 2: 440km)
Terrain: Thick sand, fast sections, rocky
Weather: Very dry and dusty
It was Team ORD Honda Racing’s first attempt as a team to the 2008 Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, the fourth round of the SA National Off-road Motorcycle Championship that took place in warm, dry and dusty conditions in the Gaborone area in Botswana.
And although they were unfortunate and experienced some bad luck, they dug into it and bagged valuable points towards the class championships.
Youngster Jarrod Blackman completed his first Desert Race in fifth place in the very competitive 200cc Class (21st overall). This class was won by Riaan van Niekerk who finished second overall.
Jarrod’s brother, CJ, struggled when the mousse in his Honda’s tyre collapsed during the first day, but he persevered and finished 13th in the Open Class that was won by the race winner, Gray Dick.
Lady Luck had a good chuckle at Wynand Kleynhans and Wade Blaauw who also compete in the Open Class, but let them finish the race in sixth and seventh places respectively.
Kleynhans tackled the race with a severed bout of flu and bronchitis and bagged points when he finished 11th overall. A very fit and focussed Blaauw unfortunately missed a refuel point and ran out of fuel. He managed to finish 12th overall.
Samuel Barnard also flew the flag for the team and was 11th in the Open Class while he was the 19th rider home.
In the national quad category, the thick sand and desert conditions caused havoc and most of the top riders could not complete the event. Juan Coetzee (Honda Race Nation Quad Revolution) had to call it a day after two thirds of race while his team-mate, Gerald Malan, could also not finish the event.
The quad category was won by Enrico da Silva who also won the Pro 450 Class. He was followed by André du Plessis (Open Class winner) and Chris Meyer.
Rider Nr 68 CJ Blackman – ORD Racing Honda
It is the young CJ Blackman’s first national off-road racing season and his first in Team ORD Racing Honda. And although he is young, he is competing in the Open Class for motorcycles with unlimited modifications. After scoring at each of the three rounds of the 2008 championship, he was lying fourth in the Open Class Championship and although he lacks the experience of his team-mates (Kleynhans and Blaauw), he has impressed with his consistency and maturity.
Blackman completed his first desert race in Botswana in 13th place in the Open Class.
Motorcycle competitor Nr 6 – Wynand Kleynhans:“For me, this desert race was quite difficult as I suffered from a flu and bronchitis. The terrain suited the Open Class riders and the competition was stiff, but under the circumstances, I am happy with the sixth place. I was leading the class before this event, but the season is only halfway now and there are four more events. We will be back.”
Jason Armstrong, ORD Racing Honda team principal: “The 2008 Toyota Kalahari Botswana Desert Race was Team ORD Honda Racing’s first attempt as a team. It was a gruelling event and the team achieved mixed results with five of them scoring points. It is important to add points towards the class championships as well as towards the overall standings and the riders did so again in Botswana. The Team has achieved excellent results so far this season and the desert race was a big learning curve for us. We are looking forward to the second half of the season.