12 February 2013

by Laren van der Westhuizen

With 2012 bringing about changes in the world of motocross for the first time in more than 2 decades, people were excited to see where the changes had lead in 2013. One of the changes in Gauteng is for the administration of the Gauteng regionals to be taken to a professional level, to begin the new idea of MX changing to a professionally run sport in SA. Whilst the road is going to be a long and rocky one, we believe that the first regional this weekend was a good indicator of the direction we headed.

Even though we are in an economic down turn and the sport is considered a luxury sport for the elite, the riders turned up in numbers for the first round. Aided by the fact that the first Womza national is at Dirt Bronco, the fields included riders from all over the country. Dirt Bronco has made a few significant changes to the circuit of late and they have made the track more technical with more options for passing.

The day started with a bit of drama though, as an electrical cable was stolen at the power station and no power meant no water, no fridges, timing or PA system. Thank goodness, Honda SA had sponsored a generator, so we could get practice under way with the timing working. It wasn’t long before Ernie and the DB crew sorted generators for the water and PA system.

50cc senior class was up first and saw holeshots from Vincent Van Rooy and Hayden Tully. Camden McLellan seemed to be the fastest, but after winning heat 1, heat 2 ended in disaster putting him 2nd overall. This handed the win overall to heat 2 winner, Hayden Tully. Vincent Van Rooy was 3rd overall. Jonothan Mlimi had a quiet day in 4th.
The 50cc junior class is new for 2013. Tyler Tarantino was quickest in practice and was able to win heat 1. In heat 2, Tyler was stuck in the pack and only managed 3rd. The win in heat 2 and the overall went to Willem Hough. 3rd was Barendt DuToit who hoeshotted heat 1. Great rides from James Thompson and Lukas Venter who finished 4th and 5th respectively.

The MX2 class was up next. They ran with the MX2B class and 32 riders lined up for heat 1. Danny Lailvaux on the WRR Kawasaki got the holeshot, but when his handlebars dropped down on his tank, he dropped back through the pack. This left the 2 hotshot favourites to battle up front. Kerim Fitzgerald on the RedBull KTM took the lead on lap 1 and was shadowed from then by Richard VD Westhuizen on his Full Throttle Yamaha. The pressure finally told as Kerim made a mistake, handing the win to Richard Van Der Westhuizen. Darryl Fitzgerald finished a commendable 3rd. The youngster Jesse Wright surprised a few with a solid 4th. Caleb Tennant was expected to show some good pace, but an early crash left him out for the rest of the day.

No. 21 Danny Lailvaux - courtesy SLN Photography

In heat 2, Kerim Fitzgerald got the holeshot he was looking for in heat 1. He checked out as quick as possible when he saw Richard buried in the pack. By the time Richard worked his way to 2nd, the gap was too big to close down. He had to settle for 2nd and 2nd overall. Once again, Darryl showed he still has the metal, with a solid 3rd. Jesse Wright was 4th overall and Zane Farquharson was 5th.

The MX2B class was won by Graham Obery with Sebastian Callen in 2nd and Donovan Raubenheimer in 3rd.
Next up was the open support class and we saw a familiar name rise to the top, David VD Westhuizen. He won both heats comfortably and left the tussling to the rest. There was a huge battle for 2nd in both heats, but Brad Pieterse won the battle to finish on the middle step of the podium. Johan Bezuidenhout was 3rd overall.

The 65cc class was up next and was one of the bigger classes. A couple of hotshots from KZN were up, namely Cameron Duro and Wikus Van Sandwyk. They certainly got out in heat 1 good and left the rest chasing. The only Gauteng rider to get up there and challenge them was Dalton Venter, who set the fastest time in heat 1. Unfortunately, every time he went for the pass for the lead, he made a mistake. Time eventually ran out and he had to settle for 2nd. Wikus was 3rd and Christiaan Cilliers was 4th. Special mention must go to Callum Mathews from Swaziland, who finished 6th. In heat 2, Dalton Venter rectified his mistakes and rode to a great win. Cameron Durow didn’t let him go, but had to settle for 2nd. Wikus Van Sandwyk was 3rd again, with a great ride from Calvin Jean-Jacques in 4th.

No. 122 Darrel Fitz-Gerald - courtesy SLN Photography

The 125 class was also one of the biggest. Star talent like Nicholas Adams was in the field. The rest of the field was made of relative youngsters and a few of the challenged the front, like Dirco VD Westhuizen and Jason Visser. Adams would win both heats convincingly, but the battle for 2nd raged on. The experience of Dillon Charalambous came through as he worked hard for a good 2nd. Jason Visser took the last step of the podium in his first 125cc race. Full Throttle entry, Dirco VD Westhuizen was 4th.

The 85cc junior class saw some real talent. Mathew Kruger holeshotted heat 1, but could not hold off Slade Smith and Keegan Hickson-Mahoney who would go on to battle for the lead. Keegan was quickest, but new to the track, a few mistakes crept in and Slade Smith only had to ride smooth to win heat 1. Keegan did enough for 2nd and Mathew Kruger held on to 3rd ahead of a hard charging Ruben Aucamp and Ricky Raaf. In heat 2, Keegan did the job and took the win. Slade Smith was solid in 2nd and Ricky Raaf rode to a great 3rd. Ruben Aucamp held 3rd on the last lap, but a mistake cost him and he settled for 4th place.

The MX1 class was a real spectacle. The top 2 setting lap times some 4 seconds quicker than anybody else. The top 2 were of course Sacha Naude and Richard VD Westhuizen. Richard wore Sacha down in heat 1 to take the win, also setting the fastest lap of the day in the process; 1.54. In heat 2, Sacha managed to deal with the armpump and held Richiard off for a well-deserved win and overall. Richard was 2nd, with RedBull KTM rider Kerim Fitzgerald in 3rd.

No. 717 Richard van der Westhuizen - courtesy SLN Photography

The pro-mini class was interesting to watch. This class is stacked with young riders with at least 2 years in the class still. Marcus Phelps was the man to catch. No one managed to make the pass on Marcus, although Jonothan Mlimi tried in heat 1 and Jason Visser tried in heat 2. Jason ended up 2nd overall with Jonothan in 3rd. Marco DeVrye was a solid 4th on a borrowed bike and a return to MX saw Charl Van Eeden in 5th.

Geoff Den was one of the picks for rider of the day as he went 1 – 1 in the Masters class. He was chased down by Marc Ansley who won the Vets class. The MX4 ladies were also thrown in with the MX3 class and Amy Leigh Sawyer came out on top, with Chaney Botha in 2nd and Bianca Prout-Jones in 3rd. Great class to watch and was exciting to see battles between Niclaas VD Linden, Fanie Meyer and Charlie Stebbing.

No. 86 Amy Chewins & No. 91 Bianca Prout-Jones - courtesy SLN Photography

The day was a raging success and had a massive turnout of spectators, which is a good sign ahead of the MX national in 2 weeks. All of this was only possible because of great willing sponsors and we say thanks to them:
- Full Throttle
- Monster energy
- Intertherm
- Audio touch
- Racestar Graffix
- Honda SA

Thanks also goes to Ernie and Dave and the DB crew, as well as MXSA for the organization of the event.

For pictures from the event contact:
SLN-PHOTOGRAPHY - 082 560 0519
sln-photography@live.co.za . www.sln-photography.com

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