Round 4 of the Official MSA Motocross National Championships took place at Thunder Valley in Pietermaritzburg and it can certainly be said the team at Thunder Valley were ready for the action. Registration, scrutineering and timing, greeted all the competitors on Friday afternoon. And it did not go unnoticed that a new track layout and prime track conditions is what had been delivered for round 4…
Having had mud, thunderstorms and rumoured snow in the previous years at Thunder Valley, there is no doubt the riders would be showing up prepped for whatever was possibly in store for them. But this year our national competitors were in for more of a treat than they realised…
The track was prepped and watered to perfection and Friday’s overcast weather played perfectly in favour of keeping the track in top form throughout Saturday’s racing.
Saturday morning’s riders briefing welcomed clear skies, putting a smile on everyone’s faces as this was a clear indication to the ideal day that would host round 4. With beautiful 30-degree weather, the local spectators started rolling in from as early as the practice sessions and everyone looked forward to what turned out to be a memorable day’s racing.
The day’s program was kicked off by the MX 50cc class, who’s racing took place on Thunder Valley’s Junior track. Fair track conditions meant that we were in for some intense racing and the riders did not disappoint. In Heat 1 it was Joshua-Zion Naude who took an early lead with the hole shot, followed closely by Parker Cik. Cik clearly had the top step of the podium in mind and charged to the front of the pack very early on in the race. The no.33 of Riley Geldenhuys was not far behind and made his way up into 2nd position keeping the pressure on throughout the race. Ultimately it was Parker Cik who took the checkers in Heat 1 followed by Riley Geldenhuys, and Joshua-Zion Naude kept things steady for the first heat bringing home a comfortable 3rd. In Heat 2, Parker Cik took an early lead followed by Luan Jordaan, but with Riley Geldenhuys charging through the pack this would again prove to be an action filled heat. In the end it was Riley Geldenhuys who came out on top in Heat 2, giving him the overall, followed by Parker Cik in 2nd and Luan Jordaan in 3rd, who rounded out the overall podium.
Arguably the most passionate classes of the day, the MX 65cc class battled it out lap for lap. It would be Evan Frost out front early on, however Trenton Kretzmann was not far behind, managing to keep the pace and even take over the lead early on in Heat 1. But in the end, it would be Evan Frost who would stamp his mark and take out two wins for the day for the overall win. A hard-fought battle gave Kretzmann 2-2 for 2nd overall. And it would be Aiden Retief clinching the final step of the podium going 3-3 on the day. Finishing up the top 5 would be Cassie Van Zyl in 4th and Rayden Woolls in 5th.
The highly competitive MX 85cc class was action packed and provided a spectacle for the crowd with battles right through the field. A dominant performance from Christian Berrington-Smith taking the top step in both heats for 1st overall. Followed by a close battle between Ashton Martin, Aiden Henley, Blade Tilley and Trail Carter in Heat 1. In the end Ashton Martin and Aiden Henley would come out 2nd and 3rd respectively and for the second race the battles would continue. Ashton Martin would grab another 2nd place; it would be Blade Tilley taking that 3rd spot ahead of Blake Frost in 4th and Aiden Henley in 5th. Deciding the overall podium as Christian Berrington-Smith 1st, Ashton Martin in 2nd and Blade Tilley in 3rd.
As always, the MX High school class delivered nail biting action to the crowd. There was no doubt that Red Bull KTM’s Luke Grundy would be going head-to-head with Husqvarna racing’s Barend Du Toit, with no telling who would come out on top. In Heat 1, it was Du Toit who took the early lead and Grundy hot on his tail. Followed by Blake Young in 3rd place with Jordan Van Wyk close behind, looking to take over that final podium spot. In the end it would be Luke Grundy bringing home the win in Heat 1 followed by Barend Du Toit in 2nd and Jordan Van Wyk in 3rd. Heat 2 would provide just as much action and the same results, giving Grundy the overall for round 4, with Du Toit and Van Wyk rounding out the podium. The top 5 was finished off by Bryce Petersen in 4th and Blake Young grabbing that 5th position for the day.
In the MX Ladies class crowd favourites Leah Heygate and Kayla Raaff came out swinging. Heygate took to the front of the class early on in heat 1, with Raaff on the hunt throughout the race. After a hard charge towards the end of the race from Raaff and a very close dash to the finish line it would be Heygate who snatched the win, leaving Raaff in 2nd place and Cheyenne De Lima taking up a comfortable 3rd place position from start to finish.
Heat 2 would prove to be just as exciting between Heygate and Raaff, bringing the ladies very close together for some heated moves. In the end it would be Kayla Raaff claiming the number 1 spot, giving her the overall win for round 4. Heygate would come home in a close 2nd for the day and De Lima brought home the number 3 position. Zoe Botha and Dakota Grobbelaar both showcased that they had what it takes out there in the rough conditions and brought home 4th and 5th.
The Vets in the MX 3 class definitely showed the crowd they still have what it takes with some impressive lap times and solid racing. It would be Anthony Raynard out front with a sizeable lead in both heats, going 1-1 for 1st Overall at Thunder Valley. Royce Griffin would bring home two well-earned 2nds’, leaving him 2nd overall for the day. Sheldon Watkins and Jonathan Du Plooy would battle it out for the 3rd step of the podium and in the end, it would be Du Plooy victorious in taking 3rd place overall, going 4-3.
The premier class, MX 1, provided a stacked class with battles throughout the field all day. It was hometown favourite Cameron Durow who dominated at Thunder Valley with two wins, grabbing the overall win in the premier class. Heat 1 showed off Stav Orland’s impressive pace, giving the youngster 2nd place behind Durow. And it would be the Yamaha boys, Jesse Wright and Dirco van der Westhuizen putting on a show to the finish for the final podium position in Heat 1, with Wright coming out on top. Heat 2 saw the same result for Durow, with another win, and a complete turnaround for the Husky rider, Joshua Mlimi who burst out of the gates grabbing the hole shot and displaying a very impressive ride, ultimately claiming 2nd place for heat 2 and 2nd place overall for the day. It would be Yamaha’s, Dirco van der Westhuizen who took 3rd in Heat 2, however not enough to beat Orland’s 2nd and 5th, giving Orland 3rd overall for the day.
Another confident ride by Red Bull KTM’s Cameron Durow in the MX 2 class. Durow displayed two identical heats by securing the lead from the word go and going 1-1 for the overall win at Round 4 in his hometown. However, KTM’s success did not end there, Jonathan Mlimi put on an excellent ride with two comfortable 2nd place finishes, giving him a well-earned 2nd overall. It would be the crowd favourite, Mark Carty taking two 3rd place finishes and backing up his success in Cape Town with another overall podium finish. Stav Orland put on another great ride and would finish in 4th overall, followed by Dalton Venter in 5th.
The MX Support class welcomed many local riders to the National event. It would be Luke Walker and Daniel Peckham racing to the top spots, with Walker going 1-1 for 1st overall and Peckham taking 2-2 for 2nd overall. In the 3rd place overall, it would be Steve Baker with a solid ride going 3-3.
KTM South Africa would take home the manufacturer award with excellent results measured across the MX High School, MX 1 and MX 2 classes’ performance.
And with that concluded an excellent day’s racing at Round 4 of the Official MSA Motocross National Championships. Well done to all competitors on their well-deserved achievements. And thank you to all the crew and teams for your efforts that go into an incredible event such as this one! We look forward to Round 5 for another spectacular day’s racing.
We thank our Official MSA Motocross National Championship sponsors:
Published by: Natasha Rugani
Photography by: Brodalka Photography