|Words by Michelle Smith
Final stop of the TRP Distributors SA MX National Championship was at the prominent Gauteng track called Dirt Bronco. Over 140 competitors descended on the venue, despite severe weather warnings, to claim the last point s in their chase for the Championships. The race day produced another kind of thunderstorm though, as the weather itself played along, but instead as the Championship contenders produced some of the best racing we have seen this whole year.
All eyes were on Q4 Fuel Husqvarna Racing’s Caleb Tennant back from the USA after his participation in the MX of Nations for team South Africa. The thick morning mud of Dirt Bronco did little to deter Tennant in MX2 practice as he set the fastest time. It was Lights by Linea’s Anthony Raynard however that was out of the gates like a bullet and claimed the MX2 Heat 1 holeshot. Tennant’s team mate, Matthew Malan went down in the second turn and had to fight back from the back of the pack which he did quickly, working his way back up to fourth. All eyes were on the battle between Tennant, Raynard and a hard charging David Goosen of Out of Africa Yamaha, when David’s team mate, Tristan Purdon who was waiting to make his move, did so and made quick work of the leaders to get to the front and hold it to the finish. The move which left Tennant in third though was not enough to force the Championship decision to Heat 2 and Tennant sealed the last points necessary to claim the 2018 MX2 Championship.
With many of the MX2 contenders racing in MX1, the action now switched to the first MX1 heat. This time it was Goosen that set the fastest lap in practice but Tennant was only one second off the pace. Heat 1 saw Goosen pull a large lead to try and out run any competition but Tennant hung on until once again Purdon made a mid race charge to pass the two leaders, claiming his second heat win of the day. Goosen took second and Tennant third but with the Championship points between those two so close, it would force the Championship title decision to the MX1 heat 2 race.
The MX2 heat 2 now saw both Tennant and Goosen sit out as they rested for pending battle for the MX1 Championship. This time it was a hard charging Matthew Malan that took the win with a Purdon in second and Joshua Mlimi in third. Purdon took the overall with a 1-2, closely followed by Malan’s 4-1 and solid 2-4 performance by Raynard gave him third for the day.
Without a doubt the MX1 Heat 2 race was what everyone was waiting for. Tennant just needed a solid finish and to make sure he was not too far away from Goosen when he did it and the title would be his. Whilst all eyes were on the two Championship contenders, it was Purdon and Zimbabwe favourite Jayden Ashwell that were thrown in the mix that could be key in how the raced played out. Ashwell put in a brilliant ride and took the win with Purdon in second and Goosen in third. Western Cape’s Tennant did what was needed though and his solid fourth did the job and he claimed his second SA Championship for the day.
For the day though it was all about Out of Africa Yamaha’s Tristan Purdon who took another win with a 1-2. Goosen took second with a 2-3 and Ashwell claimed third with a 7-1.
In the other classes, it was Jack Pullen who took the win for the day in 50cc. The Championship was taken by fourth place finisher Andrea Mynhardt from the Western Cape. In 65cc, the days win belonged to local Barend Du Toit but Andrea’s older brother Lucca Mynhardt claimed the 2018 Championship.
In the 85cc classes, the Junior win went to Emmanuel Bako and the Championship red plate holder for the season Troy Muraour walked away with his well earned Championship. In Pro Mini it was Blake Young that had the day in the bag and Red Bull KTM’s Jonathan Mlimi took the Championship after a great performance the whole season.
In the High School Class, KZN rider Cameron Durow took the win but the Western Cape’s Justin Sangster put in another consistent performance and his fourth for the day clinched him his Championship.
With only a handful of points separating the MX3 Championship contenders it was going to be a nail biter but was the Veteran and multi SA Champion Ian Topliss that walked away with a perfect day and another SA Championship Title. In the Ladies class history was made as Kayla Raaff at the age of fifteen became the youngest lady ever to win an SA Championship. She took both wins on the day as well.