Word by: Laren van der Westhuizen
Every kid loves playing in the sand, but racing at Rover in Port Elizabeth takes it to a whole new level. Round 3 of the Monster Energy TRP MX Nationals moved to the friendly city. Whilst the city might be friendly, the track is one mean challenge.
The 50cc class has produced different winners at every round. This time around, Zimbabwe's Emmanuel Bako won both heats and proved he will be a big factor for the remainder of the season. Wian DuPlooy has become Mr. Consistent and finished second overall ahead of podium newcomer Luke Grundy. Championship favourites, James Thompson and Barend DuToit could only manage fourth and a fifth.
The 65cc class was dominated by KTM rider Camden McLellan. Jono Mlimi was second quickest in practice, but was beaten in both heats by Ike Klaasen. Hayden Tully was fourth and Sebastian Wood fifth.
Camden McLellan qualified fastest in the 85cc class. He couldn't keep it there though as Dalton Venter won both heats ahead of the "sandman" from Cape Town, Justin Sangster. Local man Grant Hutton was third.
In the Pro-mini class, Seth Van Den Abeele was quickest on his home track and managed to win heat 1 comfortably. In heat 2, Seth had 2 crashes and allowed championship leader, Cameron Durow, to take the win and overall. Matthew Kruger was third overall. Slade Smith had a DNF in heat 1, but came back for a third in heat 2.
The 125 class saw all sorts of issues for Dirco VD Westhuizen in practice. After borrowing a bike, he only managed fifht. They managed to fix his bike in time for heat 1 and he won with ease. Charl Van Eerden was able to hold off Joshua Mlimi for second. It went much the same way in heat 2 and Dirco in now the championship leader.
The MX2 class was probably one of the most exciting races of the weekend. With the return of international campaigner, Neville Bradshaw, to SA soil, the racing would be of the highest caliber. Maddy Malan kept his clean sheet in heat 1, with a win over a hard charging Neville Bradshaw. Two of the favourites, Anthony Raynard and Tristan Purdon, crashed out of contention. In heat 2, Tristan Purdon redeemed himself with a solid win, breaking Maddy's win streak. Kerim Fitzgerald had a quiet day back in fourth.
The MX3 class was a great battle to watch between Ian Topliss, Dewald Van Der Berg and hometown favourite Stuart Laing. Dewald was just too strong in the sand and with a win in heat 2, was the overall winner. Ian won heat 1, but a third in heat 2, meant he had to settle for second overall. Stuart Laing was third overall. Craig Kruger finished fourth.
The ladies class saw a new winner in Bo-Dene Scott. She probably has the most sand skills out of the girls there and it showed on the day. Toni Jardine was second and Natasha Rugani rounded out the podium.
The support class was won by Mason Buist. Mason had his best ride of the season to keep out Gerhard Grove and Andre Potgieter.
The MX1 class is where Neville Bradshaw really shined. He won both heats and looked comfortable on the Yamaha. Anthony Raynard was the only rider to keep him in check, but second was the best he could do. Sacha Naude had some bad starts, but rode solid to finish in third in both heats. Kerim Fitzgerald was fourth and Zimbabwe's Jayden Ashwell was a solid fifth.
Round 4 heads to Durban at the ever popular Springfield Dirt mania.