Gobabis: capital of the east, cattle country, town of the 20 churches. The town in Namibia's east has many attributes. However, Gobabis is also a stronghold of Moto Cross sport since many decades. It all started with the Becker family, who originally built this beautiful track on soil which is unique not only in Namibia! There were several organisers in the up and down of club life. For some time now, Wikus Engelbrecht has made a name for himself as chairman of the Gobabis Moto Cross Club (GMCC) and under his leadership top-races were held in the past. Unfortunately he again had great problems to find a sponsor for this year's event on the 8th of April. The local Big-5-Hotel acts as sponsor.
Ronnie Adams (NAM, Suzuki)
Two races so far, two different overall winners, namely Adams and Gous! But also two riders with bad luck, namely Wise and Waldschmidt. So there will be at least four riders at the starting gate who are up for the day's victory. There are however also psychological aspects to be taken into account. Adams loves the track in Gobabis but has not won there yet. Gous likes the track in Gobabis but only seldom finished on tops. Wise has his problems with Gobabis, knowing the track all too well through bad crashes, and Ingo Waldschmidt absolutely dislikes the track but is always able to get through it well. This constellation in the Open-Class promises lots of excitement!
Brannigan 'Animal' Wise (NAM, KTM)
Moving on to the track itself: The consistency of the soil on this track is without exagerating the best in the country. Soft sand which nevertheless allows for a good grip. Due to the tracks configuration it is also possible for a 125ccm rider to beat his colleagues on the "big" bikes. We will see how Rudi Brand, Wolfgang Rohe or Shawn Bruwer compete against Frank Klosta or Alexander Howard. Rudi comes from the coast, so he is a real sand-hare, while Shawn Bruwer bit the dust more often on this track. Björn Bierbrauer will unfortunately not be part of the fun – he is already in Germany and rides his first race of the ADAC Junior Cup on the 9th of April.
Ingo Waldschmidt (NAM, Yamaha)
The Gobabis Moto Cross Club expects full participation in the Open-Class. The 50ccm Children's Class will of course also be represented in Gobabis. Here, 7 year old Mathew Nederlof enjoys his role as favourite, who is already pretty fast on the track, despite his young age. His rivals though, Harris Cloete and Michael Barlow are not slower. The writer heard that two participants from Gobabis want to break up this predominancy of the aforementioned three.
In the 65ccm Class Mark Sternagel is the undisputed champion. Pauli Loots opened up the throttle during the previous race on Gallina, so maybe he will be in for a surprise in Gobabis. Eric Garbers may not be forgotten or Elandre van Eck or Tyrone Pieters! Who will land on the podium is still totally open.
Frank Klosta (NAM,Yamaha)
Jaco Loots is the great favourite in the 85ccm Class, but behind him the field is open. Geoff Erasmus can secure himself a place on the rostrum as well as the coastal-boys from Swakopmund, Eckhart Hall, Nikolai Rossi or Gundolf Lang, to name only the favourites – whereby the “coastals” sandriding qualities should not be underestimated.
The Clubmen's Class was very well manned during the 2nd race on Gallina and it goes without saying that the GMCC also expects participants from its own ranks, who in the past were always good for a surprise. Heiko Hennes drives to Gobabis as the favourite but has to reckon with strong resistance from Tony Viljoen . Henry O'Kennedy and Billy Heigan will fight it out for 3rd place unless Mark Ratheiser regains his good form, having demonstrated last year what he is capable of, on this track. This class is one of the spectators' most favourite, so every centimetre is worth fighting for!
The Quad-Classes can claim this as well. There are always extremely tough battles on all positions. In the Quad-B-Class up to 240ccm little Pearce van Wyk is the favourite but Eugene Slippers or Marko Roebke won't hand him the day's victory on a silver platter. Pearce has to count on hard fights for every single point.
In the Quad-A-Class over 241ccm nothing gets past Fanie Steenkamp. Fanie, an old hand at this sport, always coped very well on the sand-track in Gobabis. Clinton Hilfiker, Philip Weakley, Sven Hart, Jan de Haan or Gavin Murgatroyd are all riders with "podium experience", which makes a prognosis impossible.
Shawn Bruwer (NAM, Honda)
Then there is also the Quad-Clubmen's Class. Here the GMCC hopes, that their own junior riders bring up the guts to challenge the "cityboys"! Here we have also a handful of names who are all good for a place on the podium. One has to look out for Ian Johnston, Marius Faul or Colin Hart are dedicated and if Eben Smith rides, he too is expected to do pretty well.
The highlight of the day is the race of the best: The "Big-5-Hotel King of the Dirt" run, which lasts over 20 minutes + one lap. The riders adrenaline level will rise, but also that of the spectators, when the "sand-track knights" do their rounds, jump in sync over the first hill and when the group seperates in the battle for the hidden eastern curves. We will see who leaves the sand track in Gobabis as "King". So don't forget the Big-5-Hotel Moto Cross race on the 8th of April in Gobabis. Food and beverages will be available in the tent at the track.