THE FINAL COUNTDOWN FOR NATIONAL BIKES AND QUADS AT WESTONARIA
SACC Westonaria the championship title decider
The nerves will be shattered at the upcoming SACC Westonaria Race, the sixth and final round of the 2016 SA National Cross Country Championship that takes place on Friday and Saturday, 28 and 29 October from the Kloof Country Club Glenharvie in Gauteng, as the championship titles and final standings for the season will be decided at this event.
The SACC Westonaria Race is the third event this year that will run on the same weekend and at the same venue as the final round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship with thousands of spectators expected to attend the race and cheer for their heroes on bikes, quads and in vehicles.
Only two national championship titles have already been finalised while the Silver Inter Provincial Challenge in the motorcycle category has also been won. This means the battles for all the remaining titles will reach boiling point at SACC Westonaria.
In the motorcycle category, the multiple motocross champion, Ross Branch (Brother Leader Tread KTM) has a foot in the door for his first SA National Cross Country title as he leads the OR1 (Open) Championship albeit by a mere three points. The fact that defending OR1 champion, Kenny Gilbert (Kargo Racing Husqvarna) is breathing down his neck, will add to the pressure. Altus de Wet (Team BCR Arrow Yamaha) is third and within reach of the title if the battle at the front turns sour.
Four consecutive victories for Louw Schmidt (Brother Leader Tread KTM) after a dismal start to the season, put him in the lead of the OR2 (250cc) Championship and he will hope to defend his title successfully. Second placed Cameron Becker (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing) has, however, not given up on the idea of claiming his first national title and will fight until the end. Brendon Fourie (Sherco SA Racing) and former champion, Jaycee Nienaber (Super Moose Racing KTM), who won the opening round, can
all throw a spanner in the works though.
In the OR3 (200cc) Championship, all the pressure will be on the leader, Dartagnan Lobjoit (Yamaha). This pressure will not be from Wilhelm Schönfeldt (Team BCR Arrow Yamaha) who is second in the standings as he is out of action after breaking his leg at a Western Cape regional enduro race. Third placed Eduan Bester (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing) is now closest to Lobjoit and is just eight points behind, but Lobjoit will be under even more pressure from the defending champion, Brett Swanepoel (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who has the same amount of points as Calvin Wiltshire (Droomers Yamaha) and has won three races so far this season.
The High School Championship is also on a knife’s edge as only one point separates the leader, Stefan van Deventer (Alfie Cox Junior KTM Team) from Adriano Catalano (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) and both youngsters will aim for their first title in the senior series. André Basson (Yamaha) is third, but only three points ahead of Troy Sullivan (KTM).
In the Senior Championship, the defending champion, Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (Brother Leader Tread KTM) took the lead from the consistent Wynand Kleynhans (Yamaha) after the fifth round and will go to Westonaria with a lead of only one point. Lodewyk Jansen van Vuuren (KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing) stands a chance to get back on the podium as third placed Bruce May (Agrisales Peak Yamaha Racing) is still recovering from a recent knee operation.
Wayne Farmer (Doorzone Bikers Warehouse Husqvarna) has his eye set on his fifth SA National Championship title as he has been leading the Master Class from the season opener. Second placed Pieter Holl (KTM) has won the last three rounds and will no doubt be aiming for a fourth victory. Both riders have years of racing experience and an exhilarating battle for this title can be expected where the most pressure will be on Farmer.
The new 125cc Class D Challenge has also produced exciting racing and young high school riders competed against veteran and experienced riders who have taken to the challenge of competing with 125cc powered motorcycles. Youngster Ryan Pelser (KTM) leads the class and a third victory will add to his achievements this year while the ‘veteran’ rider, Izak Mans (Droomers Yamaha) will keep his second place, although he will be competing in the Master Class at the season finale. Janco Pienaar (KTM) is third, but Michael Glöckle (D&H Engineering Works Yamaha) is back in action after an injury and will do his best to finish the season with a good result.
Riaan Prinsloo (Yamaha) is the 2016 Silver Inter Provincial Challenge winner and can make it five out of six wins at SACC Westonaria.
The title battle in the Ladies Class will continue between the leader, Riki Mans (Droomers Yamaha) and scholar Karen Jansen van Vuren (KTM), but outside factors, like more competitors in this class, can play a role in the outcome of the final result.
It will also be the last chance for quad competitors in the Open Championship to battle it out for the title as both the Master Quads and High School titles have been won. George Twigge (Yamaha) took his second consecutive Master Quad Championship while Morné Jansen van Vuren (Yamaha) has clinched the title ahead of Keenan Hammon (Yamaha). Behind Twigge, Stef Bester (VANS Racing Division Yamaha) will cling to his second place while Pierre van Heerden (Honda) will hope to keep his third place although he can move up if Lady Luck turns her back on Bester.
Hannes Saaijman (Yamaha) leads the Open Quads from Johan Oosthuizen (VANS Racing Division Yamaha), but he is not home safe yet. With a victory and three more podium results behind his name, it does, however, look like the scale in the title chase might just tip in his favour. André Park (Yamaha) is third and can move to second place if Oosthuizen’s race disintegrates, but the reliability of the racing machines and fitness will play a major role.
The SACC Westonaria Race starts on Friday, 28 October with a 50km time-trial followed by a 300km race on Saturday, 29 October. All the action as well as the Start/Finish and designated service point will be at the Kloof Country Club, Glenharvie with easy accessible spectator points along the route.