Cape Town - South Africa's first multi-stage rally for off-road motorcycles and quads starts today (Friday 25 April) with documentation at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
The Namaqua Africa Rally is a mini-Dakar Rally-type event for off-road motorcycle and quad riders;
Technical inspection will be done from 9am to 1pm on Saturday at Rally headquarters in the Waterfront, with the ceremonial start at 5pm on Saturday afternoon, coinciding with the World Triathlon ITU series.
The more than 80 motorcycle and quad competitors will then travel to Vredendal on the Cape west coast for the Namaqua Wines Super Special from 2pm on Sunday 27 April.
RACING 350km A DAY FOR FIVE DAYS
They will race each day from Monday 28 April to Friday 2 May; the organisers have laid out daily routes averaging about 350km each day. All the racing action will start and finish at Vredendal, with the riders returning to the overnight bivouac - à la 'Dakar' - at the Vredendal Showground after each of the four days' racing.
The rally will end back at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday 3 May - after one last racing section in the Atlantis Dunes - with the podium ramp finish and interviews from 4pm, followed by a dinner and prize-giving ceremony at 7.30pm.
Motorcycle and quad competitors can race in the Competition category in various classes while riders who do not want to race can either enter in the 'Rally Raid' category or the Adventure Tour section.
Rally Raid riders will be covering 350 or more kilometres a day and will even be riding on some of the same sections as the racers, while those in the Adventure Tour will be following the race according to reference points supplied to them each night at the riders' briefing.
A TOUCH OF CLASS(ES)
Class 1 is open to motorcycles up to 250cc, Class 2 to bikes with engines between 251cc and 450cc, and Class 3 is for bikes with engines from 451cc to 1200cc.
There is also a Promotional Category for motorcycles that do not comply with the technical regulations. These riders and their machines will not be eligible for the results, but may be accepted on application.
However, according to convenor George Booker, it's the Lites Class that has attracted the majority of competitors. This non-professional category is open to off-road motorcycles, both two-stroke and four-stroke, with a fuel tank of no more than 15 litres' capacity, fitted with a road-book reader and an ICO countdown meter.
Aftermarket products such as exhausts, steering dampers and suspension upgrades are allowed.
Class Q1.1 caters for quads up to 450cc and Class Q1.2 for unlimited quads.
The entry list includes 2012 and 2013 SA quad champion Jurie Meyer and fellow Polokwane rider and SA off-road champion Brian Baragwanath, runner-up to Meyer in the 2013 title chase.
Baragwanath, Hannes Saaijman and Ted Barbier have created Team Rhide SA (the name Rhide forms a connection with Anti-Rhino Poaching) for the 2015 Dakar Rally and will use this event as practise for the South American marathon. Saaijman is an experienced off-road rider while Barbier competes in the Master Class for riders older than 46 years.
Jacques 'Boesman' Struwig, has been racing for more 15 years non-stop, making him the most experienced entrant, with the Dos Santos brothers - Tony, Roxy and Paul - from Hoedspruit, not far behind.
Among the ladies, 23-year-old Chardri Monk from East London was one of the first entries, followed by the 2013 Ladies Quad Class Challenge winner, Liezel Barnard, famous for riding one of the biggest quads in the series - a 1000cc Can-Am Renegade.
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