The Toyota Kalahari Botswana Desert Race 1000 took its toll on motorcycle and quad competitors participating in the third round of the SA National Cross Country Championship today and the 490 kilometre race proved to be a tough challenge for some. It was, however, a great day in the saddle for others.
Botswana rider, Ross Branch (Brother Leader Tread KTM) was in total control in the motorcycle category and after winning the 50 kilometre time-trial on Friday, he opened the gap and took the overall and OR1 (Open) victories today. He will start the fourth round of the National Cross Country Championship for Motorcycles and Quads tomorrow in the lead and will aim for another win and a bag of points before taking on the final two rounds of the championship.
The combined results show the defending OR1 champion, Kenny Gilbert (Kargo Racing Husqvarna) finishing in second place with Michael Pentecost (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) in third. Altus de Wet (BCR Arrow Yamaha Racing) was third for the day, but had to settle for the fourth place (only three seconds behind Pentecost) after a slower time-trial with Wynand Delport (Yamaha) rounding off the top five.
Louw Schmidt (Brother Leader Tread KTM) and Jaycee Nienaber (Super Moose KTM) have been battling it out for many years now and after winning the time-trial in OR2 (250cc), Schmidt steamed ahead to take the OR2 win ahead of Nienaber with Deon du Toit (KTM) third and Cameron Becker (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing) fourth after starting way back. Shaun Mostert (KTM) rounded off the top five.
There was some bad luck for the defending OR3 (200cc) champion, Brett Swanepoel (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who started in the lead, but mechanical issues resulted in him not finishing the race. Botswana rider, Dartagnan Lobjoit (Yamaha) took the victory and was followed by Taki Bogiages (KTM) and the 2015 High School champion, Eduan Bester (KTM) with Wilhelm Schönfeldt (BCR Arrow Yamaha Racing) fourth and Dean Lindsay (Sherco Racing SA) fifth. Reghardt van Nieuwenhuizen (Yamaha) was the only other rider to complete the OR3 race on Saturday.
The experienced Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (Brother Leader Tread KTM) took the Senior Class win followed by Wynand Kleynhans (Yamaha) and the enduro racing specialist, Bruce May (Agrisales Peak Yamaha Racing) with Lodewyk Jansen van Vuuren (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing) and Bruce Viljoen (Doorzone Bikers Warehouse Husqvarna) fourth and fifth respectively. The Botswana rider, Lepsy Mosope (Kawasaki) did his home crowd proud by finishing sixth.
It was a tough day for Master Class competitors – all older than 46 – who also had to complete the full race distance. They showed their mettle and Pieter Holl (KTM) took the win ahead of Wayne Farmer (Doorzone Bikers Warehouse Husqvarna) with Justin Broughton (Sherco Racing SA) rounding off the podium. Harry Grobler (Yamaha) was fourth with Robert Streak (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing KTM) bringing up the rear in fifth place.
The current Junior Champion, Stefan van Deventer (Alfie Cox Junior Racing KTM) claimed his first victory in the High School Championship and was followed by the class leader, Adriano Catalano (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) not too far behind. The desert race is a first experience for these young high school competitors. Juan-Pierre de Villiers (KTM) finished third; André Basson (KTM) was fourth with Troy Sullivan (KTM) fifth and the final finisher in this class.
The race distance for competitors in the Ladies Class was 326 kilometres and only Yanke Pieterse (KTM) and Karen Jansen van Vuren (KTM) managed to complete the race in first and second respectively. Stefan’s father, Faan, won the 125cc Class ahead of the scholar Ryan Pelser (KTM) and Janco Pienaar (KTM). No other 125cc competitors could manage to complete the race.
Schalk Kritzinger (Honda) won the Silver Class Challenge (326km) ahead of Hume Schönfeldt (Yamaha) and Riaan Prinsloo (Yamaha), the same order they started the day.