REVIEW : ‘THE MANTSHWABISI’ DAY 2
Round 4 of the 2013 SA National Off-road Motorcycle & Quad Championship
21 June (Botswana)
ROBERTS (BIKES) AND MEYER (QUADS) VICTORS ON SECOND DAY IN BOTSWANA
Friday, 21 June – The second day of ‘The Mantshwabisi’ desert race in Botswana was not just another 450 kilometre race for off-road motorcycle and quad competitors participating in the South African National Championship. It was the second consecutive day riders had to tackle the desert in the Kumakwane area. Riders’ fitness and determination as well as the reliability of their racing equipment played an important part in finishing and scoring valuable points towards the championship.
Day two formed the fourth round of the 2013 series and after riders completed between 250 and 500 kilometres of racing the previous day (Thursday, 20 June), they had to do so again on Friday (21 June). Championship points were calculated after each day and many riders who could not finish on the first day, started again on Friday and made it to the finish. This race also saw two new victors as Ruan Roberts (Yamaha) claimed the overall win on two wheels (he also won OR1 / Open Class) while the defending title holder in the quad category, Jurie Meyer (Yamaha Support) took the victory on four wheels and won the Q1 Class. Results are provisional.
Roberts, who also won the Dakar Challenge and a free entry into the 2014 Dakar Rally, led from early in the race and built up a fairly comfortable lead, but behind him only 27 seconds eventually separated second-placed Altus de Wet (Husqvarna Racing) from Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who banged handle bars for the last 10 kilometres to the finish. It was Gilbert’s second overall podium position after the two days.
On four wheels Meyer won a heated battle with John Aylward (Q1 – Yamaha) who started fresh as he did not finish the previous day’s race due to mechanical issues. Jacques Struwig (Boesman Racing Suzuki), who won this marathon event in 2000, finished third – he won the Senior Class – after he could also not complete the previous day’s racing section of almost 500 kilometres.
Brian Baragwanath (BB Motorsport Lonestar PEP Yamaha), who won the quad category and Q1 the day before, managed a fourth place after losing time due to flat tyres while André du Plessis (Yamaha), who started way back and fought his way to the front to finish second after the first day, again raced consistently to finish fifth. Two more riders in the top 10 finished both races – Rorke Millar (Can-Am SA) was eighth (he finished fourth the previous day) and Freddie Taljaard (CHM Carriers Suzuki) added a ninth place to his seventh the day before. Matthew Barnard (Team Sabcool KTM); Damien Lee (Honda) and Eric Williams (PS Storm Racing Honda) all started fresh as they could not complete the route the previous day and finished sixth; seventh and 10th respectively.
Paul Chomse (PS Storm Racing Banshee) was a mere six seconds behind his team-mate (Williams), but added a second place to his Senior Class victory the previous day – he competed in his 13th Botswana Desert Race with a Yamaha Banshee – while Russell Ferreira, who was second in this class a day earlier, finished third (13th overall) with an ailing Team Diamond Trailers Honda that suffered a broken frame. Justin Robert (Sign Wonder / Form & Fitness Suzuki) won the Q2 class – he was 15th overall – ahead of Oz Osborne (Yamaha) who finished 17th overall.
Danie Erasmus (Q1 – Suzuki) was running between the front runners on the first day until gearbox problems close to the end forced him to retire. His gearbox problems continued the second day, but this time he managed to make it to the finish – he was 12th overall.
There was some bad luck for Dino do Amaral (Factory Racing KTM) who finished third the previous day. He had to retire after a collision with a fellow competitor while Danie Senekal (Yamaha) who was ninth a day earlier, retired early in the race due to mechanical problems.
Mere seconds and only a handful of minutes separated the motorcycle riders just off the podium. Michael Pentecost (Kargo Racing Yamaha) won OR3 (200cc) for the second consecutive day and finished fourth with the OR2 (250cc) class winner, Dillon Inggs (Naledi Motors Wesbank Racing KTM) a little over a minute behind him. Pentecost’s team-mate, Tim Young – he won OR2 the previous day – finished sixth (second in OR2); JC de Bruin (Ekerold Yamaha / Bushview Bike Parts) was seventh (fourth in OR1); Brother Broadlink KTM team-mates, Bollie van Rooyen (fifth in OR1) and Jono van Wyk (third in OR2) were eighth and 10th overall respectively with Charan Moore (Stoneridge Honda) sandwiched between them. Motorcycle competitors had to tackle the longer 480 kilometre loop on the second day and only 22 riders managed to complete the full race distance – all of them also completed the race the previous day making it almost a thousand kilometres in two days. (Quad riders who completed the racing section after both days, also completed close to 1000 kilometres.)
Other class winners include Louw Schmidt (Brother Broadlink KTM) who won the OR4 (Under 21) Class and finished 12th, just behind 11th placed Brandon Youell (Kargo Racing Yamaha) who was second in OR3 – Jaycee Nienaber (Mandhand Shimwells Yamaha was third in OR3).
Pieter Holl (Bert Smith Racing KTM Powered by RAD) was the only Senior Class finisher (he was 14th overall). Hall was second behind Wayne Farmer (LCP Racing Gas Gas) the previous day (Farmer experienced mechanical problems halfway during the second race and could not finish).
Lady Luck turned her back on the overall motorcycle winner of the first day, Nicholas Pienaar (C3 Roost ECS KTM) who experienced fuel problems as well as on Botswana’s Ross Branch (Naledi Motors Wesbank Racing KTM) who finished third the previous day after starting way back. He also experienced mechanical issues while Jono Webster (Micks Motorcycles Yamaha) had to call it a day due to gearbox problems – his brother, Chris, managed 17th place after suffering from cramps on day two (he was fifth after day one).
Leon Gerber (Bert Smith Racing KTM Powered by RAD) won the Master Class on two wheels (he was second the previous day) and was followed by Martin Poole (Yamaha) and Jan Berning (Just Sell Properties KTM).
Jurie Meyer Sr (Yamaha Support) won this class in the quad category on both days and was followed by the Dos Santos brothers, Tony and Roxy both competing under the Factory Racing Suzuki flag.
Berne Bester (NUTS Racing Century Civils Suzuki) added a victory to his second place the previous day in the Silver Quad Class Challenge while Adi du Plessis (BB Trucks Suzuki) was the first lady home on four wheels (she finished second behind Barnard Vervoer’s Liezel Barnard on her Can-Am the previous day).
Hein van Niekerk (Beta Racing Cayenne) rounded his first experience in Botswana off with a victory in the Silver Motorcycle Class Challenge after he could not finish the previous day due to mechanical problems while Taye Perry (Bert Smith Racing KTM Powered by RAD) won the Ladies (motorcycle) Class for the second day in a row. Tony Jardine (Roost ECS KTM) experienced mechanical problems the first day and could not finish, but made up for it by finishing second.