New event will test off-road ridersComment on this story
Off-road motorcycle and quad racers haven't had a national race in the Pilanesberg for some years, but that'll change this weekend when they take on the Off Road SA 400.
Race organisers Off Road SA were also the hosts of the successful Sun City 400 national off-road race for four-wheelers this past weekend and many sections of that route will be used for a new race named, unsurprisingly, the Orsa 400, fifth and penultimate round of this year's championship.
There'll be the usual time trial on Friday (3 August) to determine the starting order for the race proper, and riders can expect a demanding race where dust and heat will play a role in the outcome.
The overall leaders of the motorcycle and quad categories, Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) and Jurie Meyer (Yamaha) will feel the pressure but where Mahoney, who has already won four times this season, can be a bit more relaxed with a gap of 31 points to his team mate, Altus de Wet, Meyer will feel the heat as only one point separates him from André du Plessis and his Suzuki in second place, Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha) third, just one point ahead of Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) and four ahead of Jacques Struwig on his Boesman Racing Suzuki.
Mahoney also has a comfortable lead in the two-wheeler Open Class over Yamaha rider Chris Webster, who is third on the overall standings, three points behind De Wet - who could wrap up the OR2 (250cc) championship at this round unless second-placed Timothy Young (Yamaha) pulls something special out of the bag.
Young is 10th overall going to Sun City, behind Juan 'Bollie' van Rooyen (Kawasaki), who's fourth but only one point ahead of Jonathan Webster (Yamaha), Riaan van Niekerk (KTM), Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) - who has a point to prove after leading the recent Bell 300 and than going out just before the finish when the mousse in his rear tyre collapsed.
Gilbert is level on points with Marc Torlage and OR3 championship leader, Michael Creevy (KTM) who's comfortably well ahead of Yamaha team mates Bradley van Aswegen and Tyron Miller in the OR3 title chase.
Senior Class leader Guy Henley (Kawasaki) and defending champion, Wayne Farmer (Gas Gas) have scored two wins apiece this year but Farmer has missed one race due to an injury and has some catching up to do, defending Master Class champion Neil Gailey (KTM) will aim for a fourth victory and to wrap up the title.
John Aylward (Yamaha) will be putting the pressure on Struwig as only four points separate them while seventh-placed Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) will try to stay ahead of Kalahari 400 winner Damien Lee (Honda), who is only one point behind him but has experienced some bad luck recently
The winner of the opening round, Giacomo Antiga (Can-Am) is ninth with Henk Seevinck (Suzuki) rounding off the overall top ten.
Amanda Eardley (Can-Am) led the Senior Quad class after the first two events, but is now second behind the consistent Peter Schenk (Honda) after a mechanical DNF with Russell Ferreira (Honda), who has also won this season, third.
ON THE HUNT FOR A HAT TRICK
Kobus Visser (Can-Am) leads the Masters, albeit with Milton Thesen (Yamaha) within striking distance and third-placed Vicus Breedt (Suzuki), who has won his past two outings, on the hunt for a hat trick.
Can-Am team mates, Visser and Eardley, also lead the Q3 Utility Class and Ladies Quad Class respectively and would like to keep it that way.
The Orsa 400 will start and finish at the Sports and Recreation Club next to the Sun City complex, where the main service point will also be. Spectator view points along the route will be easily accessible.
The time trial will start at 10.30am on Friday; motorcycle riders will start their 300km main race at 8am on Saturday while the quad riders will get away at noon.