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After a season where there was no Junior National Championship, it was good to see young off-road motorcycle and quad competitors travelling from all the corners of the country to compete in the Rysmierbult National Off-road (21 Feb), the first round of the Raslouw Academy Junior National Championship that took place in the Ventersdorp area in the North-West Province.

This championship is being combined with five rounds of the ‘senior’ TOTPAK National Off-road Championship and caters for motorcycle and quad riders between the ages of seven and 16 years who competes on a separate loop at these events. Riders from as far as Matatiele in the Eastern Cape, Durban and other parts of KwaZulu-Natal as well as Lephalale and the Cape. They raced for two hours and was not only tested by the route, but also by changing weather conditions.

It looks like the ‘local’ riders from the Gauteng areas were more used to the type of racing terrain and in the 65cc Class (for young riders from the age of seven to 12), the Gauteng KTM riders, Hayden Tully and Kyle Branson claimed the first two places ahead of KZN’s strong Team Pa Ma Racing KTM riders Matthew Henderson; Guy Henderson and Joshua Henderson (he experienced some mechanical problems) who are from Matatiele.

Some rain later during the race did not bother the youngsters and in the 85cc Class (here riders between the ages of eight and 13 can compete), another Gauteng rider, Matthew Wilson (KTM) took the win. Max Ledgerwood (Husqvarna) travelled all the way from the Cape to claim his second place while Armand Fourie (KTM), also from GP country, claimed his first national podium result with a third place.

Rysmierbult is close to Potchefstroom and therefore a ‘home’ event for Willie Botes (Yamaha) who was fourth with KZN’s Ethan Bailey (KTM) fifth; Potchefstroom’s Gunther Foit (KTM) was sixth despite bike problems.

Fifteen riders tackled the race in the Senior 85cc Class. This class is open to competitors from 13 to 16 and quite a few familiar faces were recognised at the race – after no junior national off-road racing for a year, one noticed how the ‘kids’ have grown up!

The 2013 Junior National Champion (85cc Class), Kayde Mante (Team Pa Ma Racing KTM) from the South Coast claimed the victory despite a crash and a sprained thumb. He was chased by two ‘local’ racers with Potchefstroom’s Maarten van Jaarsveld (Hydropower Systems & Mining Supplies KTM) finishing second and Ryan Pelser (KTM) from Pretoria third. Pa Ma Racing’s Stefan van Deventer (KTM) was fourth (he also posted the fastest lap time) with Dean Gouws (KTM) rounding off the top five of this extremely competitive class.

Underberg’s Matthew Green (Kargo Racing KTM) was sixth; William Luxford finished sixth while Dylan Ackhurst (Yamaha) was seventh followed by Barend Pretorius (KTM); Troy Sullivan (KTM) from the Cape; Reynhard Taylor (KTM) and Trevor Finlay (KTM).

Best wishes to Liam Krause who injured his finger the day before the race and had to sit this race out!

Only four quads entered in the Junior Quad Class with Koster’s Janco Joubert, who just missed the required age for the High School Class, winning on his Suzuki LTZ400. He was followed by lady rider, Lindie Barnard (Barnard Vervoer Suzuki) with Damian Robert (Sign Wonder Racing Honda) third and another lady, Megan Stander (LTZ400) fourth.

The second round of the Raslouw Academy Junior National Championship will take place on 25 April at Mooi River in KZN where the battles will continue.

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