The fifth round of the 2019 TRP South African National Motocross Championship added a significant rumble to Thunder Valley in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal on Saturday 10 August, where most classes saw their title chases tighten up as the season winds down toward an epic culmination.
The action in the two star classes was nothing short of electric as riders fought it out bar-to-bar for most of the weekend, but it was Gauteng rider Tristan Purdon who ultimately powered his Red Bull KTM to a double victory, while Cape lad Lloyd Vercueil (Florstore OnTrend Summit Yamaha) and local hero Matthew Malan (Q4 Fuels Husqvarna) shared out the seconds.
David Goosen (Out Of Africa Monster Energy Yamaha) was fourth each time, while Wesley du Plooy (Husqvarna), Dylan Mostert (Honda) and Marco de Vrye (Husqvarna) fought it out behind. That means Purdon has now closed Malan’s championship advantage down to just three points with Vercueil only ten points further adrift.
It was just as gripping in 250cc MX2 as Gauteng rider Kerim Fitz-Gerald (Red Bull KTM) overcame title rivals, compatriot Joshua Mlimi (Red Bull KTM) and Anthony Raynard (Tinswalo Yamaha) from the Cape in both races to slot between Raynard and Mlimi in another title top three now split by just 10 points. Slade Smith (CIT Husqvarna) ended up fourth from Jesse Wright (Yamaha) and Ricky Raaff (Husqvarna).
In MX3, Tyson Engelbrecht (KTM) did his over-30 title chances no harm at all to beat similarly mounted title rival Johnathan Hubbard each time with Roger Bergstrom (Husqvarna) third. Ian Topliss (Out Of Africa Monster Energy Yamaha) and Brett Bircher (KTM) shared the over-40 wins with Craig Kruger (KTM) third each time, to leave those three riders split by just 15 points, while Rodney Odendaal (Husqvarna) beat Rod Bergstrom (Suzuki) to over-50 honours.
Kayla Raaff (Husqvarna) celebrated Women’s Day in style by remaining unbeaten in Ladies MX in 10 starts so far this season, beating Natasha Rugani (KTM) to both Matitzburg moto wins. Jadene de Lima (KTM) came out of a tight battle with Megan Jonker (Husqvarna) and Tiegan Reed (KTM) to take the third podium slot with Cheyenne De Lima (KTM) sixth.
In schoolboy action, Gauteng rider Dalton Venter (CIT Husqvarna) continued his 125cc High School domination with another double victory in KZN, leading Miguel de Waal (KTM), Arnu Saaiman (KTM), Christiaan Cilliers (Yamaha) and KTM duo Zimbabwean Tristan Grainger and Thabo Verster home in the same order in both races.
Blake Young (KTM) took the opening 85cc Pro Mini race from Leonard du Toit (KTM), Bryce Petersen (Yamaha) Luke Grundy and Lucca Mynhardt (Yamaha), but there was drama for Young in race 2 as he hit trouble to leave du Toit to the win from Petersen, Grundy, Mynhardt, and Hayden Tully (Yamaha). That means that du Toit now leads that title chase by three points from erstwhile leader Young.
Emmanuel Bako (KTM) made no mistakes in 85cc Junior as he stormed to a double win over Seth Young (KTM), Timo Maximo Toepfer (KTM) and Deegan Bloomfield (Husqvarna) each time while Joshua Fletcher (Yamaha) and Pieter Brink (KTM) shared fifth and sixth places. That means that Bako closed Young’s title lead down to 14 points and sits just a point behind second placed Bloomfield in that title chase.
There was a turn-up in the books in 65cc MX as local lads Jordan Van Wyk (Husqvarna) and Trey Cox (KTM) put one over Capetonian championship leader Neil van der Vyver (Q4 Fuels Husqvarna) with Liam Botha (Husqvarna) third each time while KTM pair Thor Johnson and Damon Garrell tied on points in fifth for the day. That saw van Wyk close his title deficit down to van der Vyver 25 points with Cox a further eight adrift.
Cape 50cc baby motocross kids, race 1 winner Jake van Schoor and double second place lad Ethan Williamson ended up on equal points for the day after race 1 winner Brody Bircher (KTM) found trouble in moto 2. Logan Van Vuuren (KTM) was third both times ahead of local lad Evan Frost (KTM) who delivered his best result of the season ahead of Trent Valsecchi (KTM) and Chase Bekker (Husqvarna). That leaves Williamson in a 14-point title advantage over van Schoor.
The 2019 South African National Motocross Championship now heads to its penultimate appointment in the city of Welkom with one or two champions likely to be crowned in the Free State, while others are clearly going all the way down to the line.
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