document : Two Day Desert Race Will Test Off-road Bike and Quad Competitors in Botswana

Two Day Desert Race Will Test Off-road Bike and Quad Competitors in Botswana
information supplied by: ET.Komm 14 June 2013

Motorcycle and quad competitors participating in the 2013 South African National Off-road Championship will have to be prepared for this season’s ultimate test – a two-day race on 20 and 21 June in Botswana. This race called ‘The Mantshwabisi’ will see off-road bike and quad riders return to Botswana after an absence of five years and the event will count as two rounds of the 2013 series.
This ‘double-header’ event will not only mark the halfway point of the 2013 season, but will play an extremely important role in the standings for the second half of the season. The series consists of different types of events and the first two events tested competitors in the sprint format over 180 kilometres. Physical and mental fitness; navigation abilities; preserving the racing bikes and quads for almost 500 kilometres a day together with the fact that this event will be a first experience for most competitors, will add to the challenge.
The first two rounds of the year have produced two different winners in both the motorcycle and quad categories with the defending title holders, Louwrens Mahoney (Brother Broadlink KTM) on two wheels and Jurie ‘Botter’ Meyer (Yamaha Support) on four wheels taking the first victories. Meyer, who still leads the quad category, will compete in the Botswana event for the first time and will go all out to add more victories to his name and keep his lead. Mahoney has unfortunately broken his ankle and will not be able to compete in Botswana this year. This will leave the door open to the overall leader, Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha), who won the second event, to strengthen his lead in OR1 (Open Class) and he will not only aim for more victories, but to add his name to the list of winners in Botswana.
Having a look at the current top 10 in the motorcycle category, it is probably eighth-placed Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (Brother Broadlink KTM) who has the most Botswana kilometres behind his name. He finished this event in 2007 and 2008 and would like to add another good result to this list. Local Botswana resident, Vincent Crosbie (Naledi Motors Wesbank Racing KTM) will hope to have recovered fully from a broken arm to better his 10th place on the overall standings and strengthen his lead in the OR2 (250cc) championship.
The longer distance will suit the Webster brothers competing for Team Micks Motorcycles Yamaha – Chris is currently seventh while Jonathan is 11th. Both would like to move into the overall top five, a familiar place for them as both finished in the top five at the end of the 2012 season.
After two OR3 (200cc) victories, the Durban scholar, Michael Pentecost (Kargo Racing Yamaha) leads this class championship while he has moved into the third place on the overall standings. He stands a good chance to overtake Mahoney who is only one point ahead of him. Like Pentecost, fifth-placed JC de Bruin (Ekerold Yamaha Bushview Bike Park) and sixth-placed Altus de Wet (Husqvarna Racing), will also tackle this event for the first time.
After finishing on the podium at the opening round, Nicholas Pienaar (Team C3 Roost ECS KTM) suffered a thumb injury and could not finish the second event. He will be back in action and would hope for a good result to lift him from ninth place. Mark Garland (Kargo Racing Yamaha) will not be competing due to a shoulder injury.
It will be like returning to ‘Dakar’ for 2013 hero, Riaan van Niekerk (Brother Broadlink KTM) who has achieved numerous good results in Botswana and will aim for some more. He will hope to move up from his 13th place and his knowledge of racing in desert conditions, will come in handy. Behind him Garland’s young team-mate, Timothy Young (19), who is only one point behind him, will be hungry for good results while Francois de Greeff (FD Racing KTM) and Van Niekerk’s team-mate, Jonathan van Wyk share the same amount of points behind Young and they will also be attacking. These youngsters including Estiaan Steenkamp (Husqvarna Racing) who leads the OR4 (Under 21) Class, might not have the experience of racing in Botswana, but they would like to show that they can bring the trophies home.
On four wheels former champion, Brian Baragwanath (BB Motorsport Lonestar PEP Yamaha) fought back after not finishing the opening round and won the next event. He is however eighth on the current standings, but other than Meyer, he has experience of this desert race where it will be Meyer’s first attempt at the Botswana event.
It will also be John Aylward’s first visit to Botswana’s Kalahari Desert. The Yamaha rider currently fills the second spot on the overall standings – five points behind Meyer – after finishing on the podium already twice this year. Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) leads Q2 for riders older than 28 years of age – Oz Osbourne (Yamaha) is 12 points behind in second place – and rounds off the overall podium. He is however the only rider on the current podium with experience of racing in Botswana and although he could not finish the 2007 event, he managed to finish 12th in 2008. This experience will come in handy.
Dos Santos has some breathing space (a mere seven points) to fourth-placed Danie Erasmus (Suzuki) who will feel the pressure with the 2012 Junior National Champion, Jaco Moller (Extreme ATV Tzaneen Suzuki) only two points behind him and another former junior champ, Mike Wagner (Team Sabcool KTM) again only a single point behind Moller.
Baragwanath has the same amount of points as Wagner and is followed by Stefan Swanepoel (Quad Revolution Honda) who has also competed in Botswana before. Both Baragwanath and Swanepoel will hope for better luck than what they experienced so far this season as well as in Botswana. It will be especially Baragwanath who would hope to get the monkey off his back – he could not finish this event in 2007 or 2008.
Competitors in the Senior Class championship have to complete the full race distance and compete for the overall laurels. Jacques Struwig (Boesman Racing Suzuki) leads this championship on four wheels and is ninth overall. He will not only tackle the Botswana event for the umpteenth time, but is the only former winner of this event (in 2000) who will be on the start line this year. The battle in the Senior Class will be on between Struwig and another experienced desert race competitor, Paul Chomse (PS Storm Racing Banshee) with only two points the difference between them. Freddie Taljaard (CHM Carriers Suzuki) rounds off the overall top ten.
The battles in the various classes will continue in Botswana and no-one can relax at this stage of the championship as only small amounts of points separate the riders. Each point gained at ‘The Mantshwabisi’ will be extremely important in the fight for the championship titles and competitors who are not fighting for points can upset the applecart. Honour is at stake for André du Plessis (Evolution Racing / BB Trucks Suzuki) who finished second in this event in 2008 and won last year’s non-championship race in Botswana while Danie Senekal (Yamaha) finished fifth in 2008.
In the Senior (motorcycle) Class for riders older than 38 years, Wayne Farmer (LCP Racing Gas Gas) has the most desert racing experience and this will count in his favour. Mechanical problems saw him scoring minimal points at the first round (he won round two) and except for scoring more victories, his aim will be to better his fourth place in the championship. He shares this position with the winner of the opening round, Pieter Holl (Bert Smith Racing KTM Powered by RAD) and they are two points behind Holl’s team-mate, Ian Venter, with Justin Broughton (KTM) leading the championship after two consistent podium results.
The Master Class is ideal for riders older than 46 years – they only do half the race distance each day. Every kilometre will count for the leading four riders who will need to get to the finish and score points as only six points separate them. Martin Poole (Yamaha) leads the standings, three points ahead of Jan Berning (Just Sell Properties KTM) with Graham Ellison (KTM) and Nicholas Kirk (KTM) sharing the same amount of points, three points adrift of Berning.
On four wheels, it will be a first outing for former Master (quad) Class champ, Jurie Meyer (Yamaha Support) who is currently leading the class. Milton Thesen (Thesens Generators Yamaha) won this class in 2008 in Botswana and if he can dwell on his experience, he can better his seventh place in the 2013 championship. Tony dos Santos (Factory Racing Suzuki) is just behind Meyer and will chase him again at ‘The Mantshwabisi’ while the consistent Terence Darlow (Boesman Racing Can-Am), who finished third in this class in 2008 in Botswana, now rounds off the top three.
The battle between the young motorcycle competitors in the Silver Class Challenge (bikes) has been brewing the whole season and will reach boiling point in Botswana. They are young, fit and fearless, but the longer race distance (75% of the full distance) as well as racing for two consecutive days will provide them with a new challenge. Only one point separates the scholars Mauritz Meiring (McGee Yamaha) and MJ Potgieter (KTM) in first and second place while Hein Jnr van Niekerk (Beta Racing Cayenne) is six points behind Potgieter in third place.
Berné Bester (NUTS Racing / Century Civils Suzuki) leads this class on four wheels and is ahead of Liezel Barnard (Barnard Vervoer) who leads the Ladies Class Challenge ahead of Chardri Monk (Thesens Generators KTM) and Adi du Plessis (Evolution Racing Suzuki).
Three ladies will tackle ‘The Mantshwabisi’ in the motorcycle category where the battle between the leader, Toni Jardine (Roost ECS KTM) and Kirsten Landman (Brother Broadlink KTM) in second place will continue – the gap is only two points. Taye Perry (Bert Smith Racing KTM Powered by RAD) will also be in action.
‘The Mantshwabisi’ will also form two rounds of the FIM Southern African Off-road Challenge and is being organised by Meerkat Racing on behalf of The Four Wheel Drive Club of SA.
The action starts at 07h00 on Thursday (20 June) when the leading bikes depart from Kumakwane while the quads will start their race at 08h00. On Friday (21 June) the leading quad will depart at 06h30 while the bikers will be off at 07h30. Visit or Off-road & Enduro SA on Facebook for more information.
For updates and information on Twitter, follow @OffroadBikeQuad and on Facebook.

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