The Koue Bokkeveld 400, the fifth round of the 2016 SA National Cross Country Championship for Motorcycles and Quads, proved to be a testing event with some interesting results after two days and about 480 kilometres of racing. With only one race remaining in the national series, the championships are now on a knife’s edge and many titles will go down to the wire.
The Koue Bokkeveld received good rains before the event, but dust still played a role on Saturday, 27 August. The terrain was quite rocky with some sandy sections and was described by competitors as “harsh on the body and the bike”.
In the motorcycle category, Brett Swanepoel (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) walked away with the overall laurels as well as his third victory this year in the OR3 (200cc) Class. Cape rider, Calvin Wiltshire (Droomers Yamaha) finished second in OR3 with the championship leader, Dartagnan Lobjoit (Yamaha) third. Wilhelm Schönfeldt (BCR Arrow Yamaha Racing), who is second in the OR3 championship, experienced electrical problems close to the end and had to settle for sixth place with Eduan Bester (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing) fourth and another Cape rider, Devan Marais (Helderberg Yamaha) fifth.
Louw Schmidt (Brother Leader Tread KTM) won an extremely close battle in OR2 (250cc) with only a minute and a half separating him from Cameron Becker (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing). Brendon Fourie (Sherco SA Racing) rounded off the podium with JP le Roux (Husqvarna) fourth and Shaun Mostert (KTM) fifth. Fourie’s team-mate, Kyle Flanagan, led OR3 after the 45km time-trial, but mechanical problems and a crash resulted in him not finishing the race.
There was also lots of action in OR1 (Open Class) where defending champion, Kenny Gilbert (Kargo Racing Husqvarna) claimed his first class win this season. It was, however, almost not going to happen as a tyre problem 20 kilometres from the finish not only resulted in him having to nurse his bike home, but he also crashed. He beat Ross Branch (Brother Leader Tread KTM) by a mere 32 seconds and this nail biting championship will only be settled at the final event. Montagu rider, Altus de Wet (BCR Arrow Yamaha Racing) took the final step on the podium with Juan Liebenberg (Husqvarna) fourth and Gavin Mostert (KTM) fifth.
The close battle between the defending Senior Class champion, Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (Brother Leader Tread KTM) and the class leader, Wynand Kleynhans (Yamaha) continued in the Koue Bokkeveld with the current champ beating Kleynhans by just under two minutes. Bruce May (Agrisales Peak Yamaha) was third followed by Bruce Viljoen (Doorzone Bikers Warehouse Husqvarna) and Capetonian Ockert Swart (KTM).
In the High School Class, Stefan van Deventer (Alfie Cox Junior KTM Racing) claimed his third consecutive victory. Adriano Catalano (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) was second with Maarten van Jaarsveld (Doorzone Bikers Warehouse Husqvarna rounding off the podium ahead of the Cape’s Troy Sullivan (KTM).
There was also a hat-trick for the Master Class winner, Pieter Holl (KTM), but a runner-up result keeps Wayne Farmer (Doorzone Bikers Warehouse Husqvarna) in the championship lead. The Cape’s Martin Lourens (Droomers Yamaha) rounded off the podium after a tough event. He was followed by Paul Bothma (KTM) and Jan Bernining (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing).
There were also victories for Ryan Pelser (KTM) who claimed a third win in the 125cc Class (Cape riders, Izak Mans, racing under the Droomers Yamaha banner and Tehgan Hindmarch on his Yamaha were second and third respectively) and Riaan Prinsloo (Yamaha) who won the Silver Class Challenge. Neither Riki Mans (Droomers Yamaha) nor Karen Jansen van Vuren (KTM) could manage to finish the race.
The SACC KB400 took its toll on the quad competitors and only five riders in the Open Quad Class could manage to receive the chequered flag. Hannes Saaijman (Yamaha) claimed his first victory this year despite suffering from flat tyres with the Cape rider, Jean-Claude Vlok (Yamaha), who opened the track after winning the time-trial on Friday, 26 August, finishing second. Johan Oosthuizen (VANS Racing Division Yamaha) rounded off the podium with Juan-Pierre van Wyk (Suzuki) the only other finisher in this class. Major casualties include André Park (Yamaha) who was second in the championship before the KB400 and Kevin Crouse (Helderberg Yamaha) who started the race from fourth place.
Keenan James Hammon (Yamaha) recovered from an injury and won the High School Class while the points leader, Morné Jansen van Vuren (Yamaha) could not finish a race for the first time this year.
There was also a debut win for Pierre van Heerden (Honda) in the Master Class (quads) with the defending champion, George Twigge (Yamaha) finishing second after having to make up for lost time due to mechanical problems during the time-trial. Stef Bester (VANS Racing Division Yamaha) was third with two more Yamaha riders, Milton Thesen and Motsumi Lekone rounding off the top five.
The final round of the SA National Cross Country Championship will take place on 28 and 29 October in Gauteng.