The fourth round of the TOTPAK National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad Championships, the Stella Bush2Bush Challenge, took place at Stella this past weekend. Riders from all over South Africa travelled to this small town in the North-West Province to tackle the various class championships.
The Stella Bush2Bush Challenge, the fourth round of the TOTPAK National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad Championship that took place at Stella in the North-West Province on June 6th, lived up to the expectations and produced some great racing action in all the classes despite a chilly start to race day with temperatures dropping below zero degrees Celcius.
About 120 national competitors tackled the 60km time-trial between 7:30 and 8:00 while the sun was still low on the horizon and their hands were numb from being cold. Motorcycle and quad competitors race on separate loops and their times determine the starting order for the second racing section that started at 10:30.
There was some nailbiting racing in the OR1 (Open) Championship in the motorcycle category where only 56 seconds separated the winner, Michael Pentecost (Kargo Racing Yamaha) from Jonathan Webster (Yamaha) with Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) third, only one minute 44 seconds behind Webster. Many riders, including Pentecost, experienced brake problems (Gilbert’s brakes broke during time-trial).
Botswana riders Vincent Crosbie (KTM) and Ross Branch (Brother Leader Tread KTM) were fourth and sixth respectively. Branch started at the back of the pack after experiencing mechanical problems during time-trial while he also lost time when towing in team-mate Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen whose mechanical issues prevented him from starting the race – their team-mate, Louwrens Mahoney, could also not start the main race due to mechanical problems. Wynand Kleynhans (Yamaha) was fifth with Waldi van der Merwe (KTM) sixth.
OR2 (250cc) and OR3 (200cc) victories went to Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Tyron Miller (OR2) and Jarryd Coetzee (OR3). Miller was followed by Jaycee Nienaber (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) who overcame a variety of problems including a collapsed mousse and suspension issues with Miller’s team-mate, Louw Schmidt, rounding off the OR2 podium. Nienaber’s team-mate, Roan Lindsay, was fourth and was followed by former national competitor, Gert van den Berg (KTM) who only had to complete a short travel from Kuruman to Stella.
Local Mafikeng rider, Coetzee, won a tight battle with a sick Brett Swanepoel (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who finished second in his first Kalahari race. Darren Macleod (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) was third with Botswana’s Dartagnan Lobjoit (Yamaha) fourth and Taki Bogiages (Bert Smith All Stars Racing Powered by RAD KTM*) fifth.
With Van Rooyen out of the Senior Class picture, Kobus Jonck (Bert Smith Racing KTM) claimed his first victory of the season. He was followed by Wayne Farmer (Roost KTM EC Security) who was in pain after injuring his knee the previous weekend. Justin Broughton (Kawasaki) rounded off the podium with Bert Smith (Bert Smith Racing KTM) fourth and former champion, Guy Henley (Yamaha) fifth.
In the Master Class, Ian Venter (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing) became the first rider this year to take a second victory in this competitive class. He had to look over his shoulder as Denzil Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) finished just over two minutes behind him after completing his first ever ‘Kalahari’ event. Wade Miller (KTM) was also not too far behind and claimed third place with Martin Lourens (Yamaha) fourth and Leon Gerber (Bert Smith Racing KTM) fifth.
An extremely tight battle raged in the High School Class Championship with Eduan Bester (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly KTM) claiming his second victory of the season. He was followed closely by Dean Lindsay (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) with Erhard Beukes (VANS Racing Division KTM) third after a nasty crash during the timie-trial. Lindsay’s team-mate, Adriano Catalano, was fourth and Tyrone Flanagan (Roost KTM EC Security) rounding off the top five. Swaziland winner Brendon Fourie (Kawaski) experienced engine problems and could not finish the race.
Taye Perry (Barnard Vervoer KTM) finished the 300km race to win the Ladies Class ahead of Sandi Pitchers-Keel (KTM) and Shakira Vawda (KTM) third.
The Silver Class Challenge (300km) was won by Riaan Prinsloo (Yamaha) while Faan van Deventer (Pa Ma Racing Yamaha) won the Warrior Class (180km) after first pitting for his son (Stefan) who won in the Raslouw Academy Junior National Championship** earlier during race day.
KTM won the manufacturers award in the motorcycle category.
In the quad category, defending Q1 Champion, Brian Baragwanath (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) claimed his third victory for the season despite hitting a cow that damaged his quad’s radiator. (The cow was not injured.) Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) was hindered in his chase – he had a flat tyre and electrical problems – and finished second with Karl Rost (Honda) claiming his first podium result by finishing third.
There was some bad luck for André Park (Yamaha) who finished third, but was disqualified for a rule infringement while Hannes Saaijman (Suzuki); Damien Lee (Honda) and Jaco Moller (Extreme ATV Tzaneen Yamaha) all experienced mechanical problems.
Stella’s Ruan Stander (Yamaha) won the High School Class with Keenan Hammon (KTM) second while TJ dos Santos (Suzuki) won the Silver Class Challenge and Carly Botha (Yamaha) took the Warrior Class (180km).
Stuart Freeman (Yamaha) continued his clean sweep in the Senior Class with victory number four while Russell Ferreira claimed second place (he lost time when he lost his Honda’s sprocket). Ted Barbier (Yamaha) was third with Paul dos Santos (Suzuki) fourth after a long day in the saddle due to mechanical difficulties.
It was a ‘close’ race for the Master Class winner, George Twigge (Yamaha) who travelled from Hartswater to Stella to claim his third victory this year. Behind him Roxy dos Santos (Suzuki) won the ‘Battle of the Brothers’ when he beat his brother, Tony, by only a handful of minutes. These riders, all older than 46 years of age, were only separated by a few minutes – Peter Walter (Yamaha) was fourth; Org Geldenhuys (Abacus DIVISIONS Racing Can-Am) finished fifth and George Michaelides (Yamaha) was sixth.
The 2014 Ladies Class winner, Liezel Barnard (Barnard Vervoer Can-Am) raced the 60km time-trial with a flat tyre and lost valuable time. She had to bend the knee before Tzaneen scholar, Wilmari Moller (Extreme ATV Tzaneen Honda) who won their 300km race by just over three minutes. Org’s wife and team-mate, Karen, rounded off the podium with another scholar, Jade Schutte (Yamaha) finishing fourth.
There are now only three rounds of the 2015 TOTPAK National Off-road Championship remaining with the next round taking place on August 1st in the Louis Trichardt area.
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