Botswana's Branch wins FNB-Trophy
Once more we there was a good Moto Cross event held in Swakopmund. With participants from South Africa, Botswana and Angola, this racing day even had an international touch. The two riders from Botswana were Ross Branch
, who rode for the Sturm-Team in Germany this season, and Carr Lebatha, the "Black Pearl" in southern African MX-sport. To say it up front: Ross Branch rode like a world champion and won the FNB-Trophy with a maximum number of points!
Carr Lebatha (left) and Ross Branch both from Botswana
In the Open Class, which starts together with the 125ers, one could witness the announced duel between Tommi Gous
and Ronnie Adams
. However they didn't fight for the day's victory, since there were other 125ers who could deal much better with the deep sand at the coast.
Branch won the holeshot in the 1. heat, closely followed by Tommi Gous, while Adams was to be found chasing the midfild. In midfield Lebatha gave his best shot, realising that his two-stroke KTM pulled extremly well on this kind of surface. The pack just started the second lap when Lebatha crashed at the mini-jump in front of the finish-table. It looked pretty bad! After a swift treatment by the Paramedics from E-MED, Lebatha hobbled from the scene of the accident; the racing day was over for him.
Overall winner Ross Branch
Far ahead of the pack Ross Branch spooled his lonesome rounds. In the meantime the acting 125cc Champ Frank Klosta was able to get past Gous and expertly stayed in 2nd . Gous had to watch out for Brannigan "Animal" Wise
who wanted to cash him in as well. Then Adams crashed and all chances for a position improvement were gone. In the 2. heat the same game: Branch is up and away, Adams, Gous and Wise fight with all their might and once again young Klosta storms in from behind, leaving the established stars of the Open Class thunderstruck. Then Wise storms past Adams and Gous. The spectators brim over with enthusiasm! Adams is the fourth to cross the finish line ahead off Gous, making the experienced humiliation somewhat bearable.
In the FNB King of the Dirt race Branch is up front and on a winnig streak, doing his little Aerobatics and one can practically see how much fun he has. Adams and Gous are in the pursuer role this time, but Wise comes along in seven-league boots as if he used the break to get some more horse power! He leaves Gous and Adams behind but after a further lap the track commentator announces another "game over" for Wise and his damaged engine. This can't be happening! Meantime Frank Klosta has warmed up, getting past Adams and then past Tommi Gous. When young Alexander Howard
gets ready to do the same thing, the race track sounds like a madhouse. Gous and Adams now give all they've got! This heat alone was worth the entry-fee.
Results FNB King of the Dirt:
- Ross Branch, Botswana, KTM, 20 points
- Frank Klosta, Refrigeration Services-Yamaha, 17
- Tommi Gous, Zenner Novel-Yamaha, 15
- Ronnie Adams, Jägermeister-Suzuki, 13
- Alexander Howard, Seasonaire-Yamaha, 11
- Shawn Bruwer, Jägermeister-Suzuki, 10
- Keith Weaver, USA, Daddy’s-Suzuki, 9
- Jose Texeira, Angola, Jägermeister-Suzuki, 8
- Jessica Ratheiser, Electrolight-KTM, 7
- David Campbell, Südafrika, Suzuki, 6
But also the other classes offered good MX-sport. Mark Sternagel rides totally self-assured with his little 65ccm bike not only in his 65cc Class but also in the 85ccm class. "Just to get fit" was all he had to say to that. "Mr. Maximum" Sternagel lived up to his reputation and won three times in the 65cc category. Eric Garbers
gave everything and landed on 2nd. Place. Matthew Nederlof
had surprising success with a third place in this high-paced class and earned respect. Pauli Loots
had to make way two times for Matthew but in the third and final heat he stayed put on 3rd place.
In the 85cc Class there was the predicted showdown between Jaco Loots
and Geoff Erasmus... but they didn't reckon with Eckhard Hall
! Jaco had some great starts, and was in the lead but had to acknowledge Eckhard Hall's skill and home turf advantage. Eckhard obviously fully recovered from his bad crash in the spring this year. Now we look forward to the coming "battles" on Gallina. However, the highlight came in the form of Mark Sternagel who, as mentioned before, tried his luck with his little bike in the 85cc class and was able to stay ahead of the Swakopmunders Schalk Louw and Niki Rossi
. His 3rd place in the 3rd heat was just remarkable!
Let us move on to the Clubmen's Class. Eckhart Waldschmidt did not compete but another hero from the past stood at the starting gate: Gino Rossi from Swakopmund. Gino's "new" style appears a bit unflexible and slightly rusted, but one could definitely see that this was an ex-champion. Three starts, three victories! This left Tony Viljoen on 2nd rank and Desmond Taylor from Walvisbay on third ahead of Billy Heigan.
The 4-Wheelers offered exciting sport in Swakopmund as well but this time only the Quad-A-Class riders participated. Ronnie Adams is getting really unbeatable. Even if he doesn't grab the holeshot, he always finds a way through. His toughest opponents this weekend were Dirk Baard, and Fanie Steenkamp
as well as the South African Polly van den Berg until he dropped out of the race.
The award ceremony and the party thereafter were said to have taken very long. And all that's left to say is a big Thank You to the main sponsor FNB, Hans Keil for the donation of the trophies, Coastal Cement Works and Rudi Brand who have built this wonderful track and the team around Christian Hall as well as all anonymous activists behind the scenes.