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Dust, heat and punctures on Bell 300

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IOL mot pic jul11 Mahoney Bell 300

Elza Thiart

Louwrens Mahoney reduced the dust problem by keeping his KTM off the ground as much as possible.

KTM works rider Louwrens Mahoney and Jurie Meyer (Yamaha) continued their domination of the South African Off-Road series with wins in the motorcycle and quad categories respectively of the Bell 300, run at the weekend outside Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal.

This year's Bell 300 was structured as a one-day meeting with a 60km 60km time-trial and the main event on Saturday, and produced close racing action as well as tales of disappointment and bad luck. Mahoney eventually claimed his fourth overall and OR1 (Open Class) victories of 2012 after completing a demanding 300km route in Zululand in dry and dusty conditions.

Mahoney took the lead on the last of the four 60km laps from Yamaha's Kenny Gilbert, who started the race from pole after winning the time-trial, but saw his chances of a first National win this year collapse along with the mousse in his rear tyre.

Gilbert's team mate, Marc Torlage, finished second overall as well as in OR1 after a race-long battle with Mahoney while Mahoney's team mate, Riaan van Niekerk, won the OR2 (250cc) class and rounded off the overall podium.

HEAT AND TERRAIN TOOK THEIR TOLL

Chris Webster (Yamaha) came home fourth, just 12 seconds ahead of Altus de Wet (KTM) who was second in OR2 despite a collapsed mousse, as heat and terrain took their toll on motorcycle tyres.

IOL mot pic jul11 Meyer Bell 300

Dust cloud behind quad winner Jurie Meyer gives an idea of how hot and dry the Bell 300 was.

Elza Thiart

Wade Young (Yamaha) competing in his first national off-road race of 2012, won the OR4 (Under 21) class, finishing 29 seconds behind De Wet, followed by Scott Scheepers (KTM) who also competed on national level for the first time this season. Jonathan Webster (Yamaha) was ill, but managed eighth place,19 seconds faster than Juan 'Bollie' van Rooyen (Kawasaki) who in turn was only 24 seconds ahead of JC de Bruyn (Yamaha).

Guy Henley (Kawasaki) took Senior Class honours ahead of defending champion, Wayne Farmer (Gas Gas), out for the first time after being injured earlier this season, and KTM rider Gerrit Bezuidenhout.

Defending Master Class champion Neil Gailey (KTM) had to play second fiddle to the defending National Enduro Masters champion, Denzil Torlage (Yamaha), while Graham Ellison (KTM) was third.

QUADS

André du Plessis (Suzuki) started from pole position and led until about 30km before the finish when he hit something that damaged both front and rear tyres on one side of his quad.

While he was busy with repairs Meyer overtook him to take his second win of the season, but Du Plessis got going in time to come home second, ahead of Suzuki rider Jacques 'Boesman' Struwig.

Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) was fourth after losing time due to electrical problems while Cornel Kannemeyer (Suzuki) finished fifth to claim his first points of the season.

John Aylward (Yamaha) was sixth with David Hollis (Yamaha) seventh; Hannes Saaijman (Suzuki) finished eighth overall and won Q2 after finishing a just 33 seconds ahead of youngster Jamie Fensham (Can-Am).

Last year's Bell 300 winner, Yamaha star Brian Baragwanath started a long way back after running out of fuel during the time trail and then picked up a puncture during the race proper, which dropped him down to 10th.

Local Mtubatuba businessman, Paul Chomse (Yamaha) won the Senior Quad Class, followed by Russell Ferreira (Honda) and Amanda Eardley (Can-Am).

Eardley also won the Ladies Quad Class and the Q3 Utility Quad Class.

The fifth and penultimate round of the 2012 championship, the Sun City 400, will take place on 3 and 4 August in the North-West Province.

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