The 2014 SA Off-Road Motorcycle and Quad Series will kick off on Saturday 1 February with a Seeding Event to determine the starting order for the first race of the season, to be run at Bronkhorstspruit for the second consecutive year.
As in 2013, the starting order for each race will be determined by a seeding system based on results. This system has replaced the time-trial on the Friday before the main race and was one of the changes made to the traditional national off-road racing series to make it more affordable.
Off-road motorcycle and quad riders from all round the country will be hosted by the Gauteng Off-Road Club at Bronkhorstspruit, where entrants in the national series for quads will open the 35km loop from 7am on Saturday morning.
This event will also determine the starting order for the opening round of the Northern Regions Championship as well as for the first race of the GOC Club Series - which means entrants in any of these categories championships who don't set a time on Saturday will start behind the qualifiers at the first round of their respective championships.
BEST LAP TIME TO COUNT
The loop will be open for quad riders until 10am; then it will be the turn of the National motorcycle racers from 10.30 until 12.30. Like the quaddies, they should be able to run the loop two or even three times (best lap time to count!) before they have to make way for the Regional and Club two-wheelers, who will have until 5pm to set the best time they can.
More than 300 entries are expected from as far as Cape Town and Montagu, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Bethlehem, Bloemfontein and Ladybrand in the Free State, Musina and Hoedspruit in northern Limpopo and all over KwaZulu-Natal.
Nevertheless, all eyes will be on multiple motorcycle champion Louwrens Mahoney (KTM), who will be in action again after recovering from an ankle injury sustained in the first half of the 2013 season. He'll be up against the overall winner of the 2013 season and the OR1 champion, Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha), runner-up Ruan Roberts (Yamaha) and Altus de Wet (Husqvarna) who finished the season third.
These four, and their experienced rivals will also have to keep an eye on a group of very quick and very hungry teenagers coming up from the junior categories who would love nothing better than to put one over the 'old toppies'.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
Defending Quad title holder Jurie Meyer (Yamaha) will be aiming for a hat trick while former champion Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) would love to change his L2 number to L1, especially as he plans to enter the 2015 Dakar Rally. John Aylward (Yamaha) achieved a number of podium finishes in 2013 but could muster the consistency needed to win titles.
If he wants to better his third overall for the year he will have to start right here, right now.
After the Seeding Event, the 2014 championship will move to Wolmaransstad for the first round of the series on 8 March. They will then have just more than a month to prepare for the second leg, an all-new event at Windsorton in the Kimberley area on 12 April.
Just before the winter kicks in, the third round will take riders to Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal for the Bell 400 on 10 May. Like the Wolmaransstad race, the Kalahari 400 outside Vryburg is back on the calendar after an absence of several years, but this time competitors will have to tackle the route in winter, on 14 June.
Two shorter Sprint Events will round the season off, the first in the Frankfort/Tweeling area on 23 August for the first time, and finally at Rysmierbult outside Ventersdorp in the North-West Province on 27 September.
Spectators are welcome to join in the action and rub shoulders with South Africa's best off-road bike and quad riders. Follow the N4 East from Pretoria and take the Ekandustria/Bronkhorstspruit (West) exit about 14km after the Cullinan Toll plaza. Turn left towards Ekandustria and follow the R513 for about 2.4km to Schietpoort Farm - the circuit and pits will be on the right.