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YOUNG OFF-ROAD BIKE AND QUAD COMPETITORS IMPRESS IN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
14 Aug 2015

 
Young off-road motorcycle and quad competitors participating in the 2015 Raslouw Academy Junior National Championship, have produced some great racing action during the first four of the five races and the championships will go down to the wire at the final event at Worcester in September.
The fourth round of the 2015 series, the Soutpansberg Juniors, took place on August 1st outside Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province and the riders, all between the ages of seven and 16 years, were challenged by a challenging route in the Bushveld. This did however not keep them from producing the goods during their two hour race.
In the Senior 85cc Class, the Matatiele rider, Stefan van Deventer (Pa Ma Racing KTM) scored a hat trick by winning for the third consecutive time. He kept his lead in this extremely competitive class championship, but will have to race with care as the gap is still not big enough for him to relax at the last event.
He was followed by Pretoria rider, Ryan Pelser (RAD Junior Racing KTM) who has now moved up to the second place in the championship and trails Van Deventer by a mere 11 points. Another Pretoria rider, Barend Pretorius (KTM) has steadily worked his way up in the standings and after scoring his third podium result – he finished third at Louis Trichardt despite losing time and positions when his service crew had to repair a flat tyre – he is now third in the Senior 85cc Class.
The Potchefstroom scholar, Maarten van Jaarsveld (Hydropower Systems & Mining Supplies KTM) was leading the standings in the beginning of the season and was lying second before the Soutpansberg event, but a crash causing a knee injury resulted in him still finishing fourth – Van Jaarsveld finished a mere 0,085 seconds behind Pretorius! – but an operation and recovery time will force him to miss the final race of the season.
Tyron Rothner (KTM) competed in only his second national off-road race and finished fifth – he is from Vereeniging – with Pretoria’s Erik Merry (KTM) sixth; Reynhard Taylor (Hydropower Systems & Mining Supplies KTM) seventh after he lost time having to cut wire from his bike and Liam Krause (Kawasaki) from Johannesburg eighth.
In the Junior 85cc Class for riders between the ages of eight and 13, another Potchefstroom rider, Willie Botes (Barnard Vervoer Racing KTM) claimed his second consecutive victory of the season. The current class leader, Matthew Wilson (KTM) who is a Benoni scholar, took the first two victories this year and a second place at Louis Trichardt resulted in him keeping his lead in this championship class. Like Botes, the Pretoria rider, Heinrich Aust (KTM) also missed a race this year, but a strong third place in the Bushveld ensured him a current fourth place in the standings so far. Armand Fourie (RAD Junior Racing KTM) from Hartbeespoort in the Northwest Province finished fourth, but he is still second behind Wilson in this championship while Lephalale’s HJ Pienaar (KTM) did not have to travel too far to round off the top five at the race.
Günther Foit (RAD Junior Racing KTM) had a disappointed season so far, but did not give up and a sixth place at the Soutpansberg race sees him scoring his first points of the season.
The only junior competitor with a clean record, is Edenvale’s Hayden Tully (KTM) who won the Junior 65cc Class for the fourth time to claim his first National Off-road Championship title with one race to remaining. Tully, who is also competing in the National Motocross Championship, was followed by Kyle Branson (RAD Junior Racing KTM) – he is from Silverton in Pretoria – with Midrand’s Garrick Henley (KTM) claiming his second podium result in so many races. Henley, who is the son of former national off-road champion, Guy Henley, who is also competing in the senior national off-road championship, is also competing in the National Motocross Championship. He only started competing at the previous race at Stella, but another good result will see him finishing the season on a high note.
Banie Barnard Jnr (Barnard Vervoer Racing Husqvarna) broke his arm before the national season started, but after missing the first event, he caught up and a fourth place at Louis Trichardt means he is now third in the Junior 65cc Class Championship, only 11 points ahead of Henley.
All competitors in the Junior National Championship race for two hours on their own separate loop. The 13km loop set at Louis Trichardt proved to be quite a challenge for the Junior 65cc Class riders (all between seven and 12 years of age) on their small 65cc-powered motorcycles, but they showed real determination and perseverance to complete the race successfully.
The Junior Quad Class delivered its share of great racing action with class leader, Lindie Barnard (Barnard Vervoer Racing Suzuki) claiming her second consecutive victory. Lindie is following in her mother, Liezel’s footsteps as Liezel is the defending SA National Ladies Off-road Champion. The Barnards (Banie Junior is Lindie’s younger brother) are from Carletonville.
Gerard Geldenhuys (Abacus DIVISIONS Racing Suzuki) posted his best result so far this season and a second place moved him into the third place in the Junior Quad Class Championship. He was followed by Stella’s Megan Stander (Suzuki) – her brother is also competing in the High School Quad Class in the senior series – who kept her second place behind Lindie in the championship.
Gerard’s younger brother and team-mate, Antwan (Yamaha) kept his fourth place in the championship by finishing fourth. All four members of the Geldenhuys family compete on a national raceday as dad Org and mom Karen are both also racing in the senior series – Org tackles the races in the Master Quad Class while Karen competes with the ladies in the quad category.
Francois Bennett (Honda) from Kempton Park finished fifth at Louis Trichardt while Alberton’s Damian Robert (Signwonder Racing Suzuki) experieced battery problems and had to settle for sixth place. He is however still fifth overall in this class.
The fifth and final round of the Raslouw Academy Junior National Championship will take place on Friday, 25 September, at the Brandvlei Cellars outside Worcester in the Western Cape.
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