THERE were more victories this season for both Louwrens Mahoney (Brother Broadlink KTM) and Jurie Meyer (Yamaha Support), who were the respective winners of the motorcycle and quad categories of the Bell 300, the fourth round of the 2012 South African National Off-road Championship that took place outside Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Bell 300, structured as a one-day race that included the 60km time-trial, delivered close racing action as well as tales of disappointment and bad luck. Mahoney eventually claimed his fourth overall and OR1 (Open Class) victories this season, while it was Meyer's second overall and Q1 wins after completing a total of 300km on a demanding route in dry and dusty conditions in Zululand.
Mahoney took the lead on the last of the four 60km laps from Kenny Gilbert (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha), who started the race from the front after winning the time-trial, but had to see his possible first national victory this year disappear when the permanent foam tube (mousse) in his rear tyre collapsed, so he couldn't finish the race. Gilbert's team-mate, Marc Torlage, finished second overall (second in OR1) after a race-long battle with Mahoney, while Mahoney's team-mate, Riaan van Niekerk, won OR2 (250cc) and rounded off the overall podium.
Chris Webster (Mick's Motorcycles Yamaha) finished fourth with his time only 12 seconds faster than that of Altus de Wet (Brother Broadlink KTM), who was second in OR2 despite suffering from collapsed mousse as the heat and type of terrain took its toll on motorcycle tyres. Wade Young (Fever Criterion Yamaha) competed in his first national off-road race and won OR4 (Under 21).
In the quad category, André du Plessis (Evolution Racing Suzuki) also started the race from pole position and led until about 30km before the finish, when he hit something that damaged the tyres on his quad. Du Plessis had to settle for second place when Meyer passed him to claim his second victory for this year. Jacques Struwig (Boesman Racing Suzuki) was third and claimed his second podium position of the season. Stefan Swanepoel (Quad Revolution Yamaha) was fourth after losing time due to electrical problems, while Cornel Kannemeyer (Water Rite Racing Suzuki) finished fifth to claim his first points of the season.
The Senior Quad Class was won by local Mtubatuba businessman, Paul Chomse (Yamaha), who was followed by Russell Ferreira (Sandpalm Doors/Diamond Trailers Honda) and Amanda Eardley (EPS Racing Can-Am). Guy Henley (Out of Africa Kawasaki Racing) claimed this class on two wheels ahead of defending champion Wayne Farmer (LCP Racing Gas), who competed again after being injured earlier this season. Gerrit Bezuidenhout (Offroad Cycles KTM) rounded off the podium.
In the Master (motorcycle) Class, defending champion Neil Gailey (Naledi Motors Wesbank KTM) had to play second fiddle to the defending national enduro class champion, Denzil Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha). Graham Ellison (KTM) was third.