Hard-earned second and two third places in the day’s three races saw 14-year-old Pietermaritzburg schoolboy Dirco van der Westhuizen retain his overall third place in the High School class of the 2013 WOMZA national motocross championships at Port Elizabeth’s Rover Raceway last weekend.
Riding his Full Throttle Yamaha YZ125 supported by Bridgestone and SupaQuick, the 2011 MX85 champion and 2012 Pro Mini runner-up found the going tough in the soft sand that makes the coastal circuit particularly challenging for the upcountry riders, who are more accustomed to fast, firm dirt surfaces.
Younger and smaller than his main rivals, Van der Westhuizen dug deep to match championship leader Bradley Cox (KTM) and current runner-up Dylan Stokes and did well to keep up with them in the difficult conditions.
Cox, 15, won all three motos with Van der Westhuizen second in race one ahead of Stokes and third in the next two behind Stokes.
After qualifying third behind Cox and Stokes, Van der Westhuizen dropped to fifth at the start of the opening race, but was back in third by the end of the first lap and chasing down Stokes. The youngster pressured his rival, who eventually fell, and held off a sustained challenge from Stokes before the chasing rider crashed again and Van der Westhuizen was able to take an easy second behind Cox.
The start of the second race was a repeat of the first with Van der Westhuizen again fighting back from a poor start to trail Cox and Stokes. As hard as he tried he was unable to make a pass stick as the older rider defended his position well.
“The sand also made it difficult as your choice of line was very important to get the drive out of the corner to make a pass,” explained Van der Westhuizen. With a lap to go the Maritzburger gave it his all but made a mistake and nearly fell, giving his rival a breather to the flag.
“I made my best start of the day in race three and was third behind Bradley and Dylan into the first turn. They pulled a seven-second gap on me, but I managed to close them down and was just half a second behind Dylan at the finish.
“This was our second coastal outing in soft, sandy conditions after the previous round in Melkbos near Cape Town and I was happy to have improved my performance in these conditions,” said Van der Westhuizen. “I’ve been working on my strength and my starts and I’m making good progress. I’m looking forward to the remaining rounds, especially the ones on harder tracks where I will be more competitive.”
The next Womza National is in Richards Bay on June 15 and 16.