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National MX News : Namibian MX Championships
15.07.2007 7th WESBANK Motocross Challenge in Swakopmund (NAM) - Preview

"FNB Desert Challenge" in Swakopmund

When all the Namibian Moto Cross riders had prepared their bikes for the soft sand and altitude of the capital of the east - Gobabis that is - out of the blue the info was received that on the same weekend a major soccer competition is to take place in Gobabis. Since no accommodation was available this motorsport-event had to get cancelled.
But the chairman of the Windhoek Moto Cross Club, Paul Loots, did not give up so easily, three phone calls almost at the same time and he came up with the Swakopmund track and a sponsor, namely First National Bank of Namibia. This was a major achievement on such short notice. Chris Hall, Chairman of the Coastal Racing Club confirmed that their track near the salt-pans will be available on 21st of July and be up to standard. Well done guys!
This is the seventh championships race of the season. All leading riders will cling to their positions, while the riders in mid-field will try to improve their points-cushion. Exciting races are thus guaranteed!
In the 50cc Class the leading rider Michael Barlow can remein pretty relaxed. He has a big points-adavantage and the championship title seems to be already his. From Windhoek the siblings Yoshua and Esranel Becker are part of the action and they will fight for every point available. Those who saw young William Smith in Windhoek know that he might be Michael Barlows biggest opponent.
In the 65cc Class Eric Garbers had to accept defeat for the first time in Swakopmund, a second time at Gallina, but it won't keep him from pursuing first place. Tristan Muller from Okahandja and Pauli Loots will chase Eric but Matthew Nederlof on his Yamaha, who recovered from a bad crash in Windhoek could become the spoilsport.
Jaco Loots und Mark Sternagel
Jaco Loots und Mark Sternagel
In the 85cc Class we have a real champion: Mark Sternagel. Marki not only won his category in Windhoek but also rode for the fourth time already on his strong KTM in the 125ccm Class and he finished in an amazing 8th place at the last race at Gallina Motocross Park in the "Wesbank King of the Dirt". There we've got something to look forward to this coming Saturday 21 July! Jaco Loots is likewise pretty fast on his powerfull Suzuki. The coastal guys, Schalk Louw and Niki Rossi expect to have some advantages on the salty sandtrack in Swakopmund as they are used to riding in deep sand. One must not underestimate the home advantage as well! The Swakopmunders will cheer for their young lads!
The Clubmen's Class is growing again. The Coastal Racing Club expects the participation of ex-champs Eckhard Waldschmidt and Stephan Gradtke. Billy Heigan, Iwan Esterhuizen and Marc Ratheiser will also fight for a podium spot. Ex-champ Gino Rossi who hails from Swakopmund could however mess up this little prediction just as easily! The tension will be palpable.
Ross Branch
Ross Branch
The Open-Class and the 125ccm Class start together. It is almost certain that Ross Branch from Botswana, on his fast Kawasaki will compete in Swakopmund. If Rainer Becker shows up at the starting-gate, he should become Branch's biggest rival! Pugnacious Frank Klosta should be one of the favourite riders as well.
Frank Klosta vs. Alexander Howard
Frank Klosta vs. Alexander Howard
Ronnie Adams, the reigning Open-Class champion expects a lot from Swakopmund, he had already beaten everyone there. His bike, a 450 four-stroke Suzuki could be to his advantage in the deep sand at the coast. In Windhoek Arno Engels, on his super fast Honda finally got the hang of it. His 3rd place in the Wesbank King of the Dirt proves that one can reckon with him again. During the last Swakop-Race, on April 6th, Arno also showed some excellent riding and finished 3rd in the King of the Dirt. Alexander Howard, who crashed heavily during the last race in Gobabis, hopes to be back in the saddle again. Same can be said about "Animal" Wise, who was out of action for quite some time, now he is more than eager to show his potential. Other riders wishing to improve their points cushion are Henry O'Kennedy, Heino Windisch, Ian Kotze, Sascha Becker or local-hero Eckhard Hall, to mention but a few.
Arno Engels
Arno Engels
The 4-Wheelers in the various Quad-Classes also love to go to Swakopmund and the organiser expects a big number of participants. In the Clubmen's Class coastal boy Michael Behnke is the favourite, he landed an exceptional 3rd place in the "Quads King of the Dirt" in Windhoek. Wolfgang Rohl, Nokkie Maree or Andre Steinfurth usually ride up front as well.
The interest in the Quads-Ladies-Class has apparently improved. Liezl Davies calls the shots here. The siblings Suleika Bochert, Mandy Huysamen as well as Celene Adams will fight for the remaining spots on the rostrum.
The interest in the Kindergarden-Class, the Mini-Quads-Class is big. Joane Steenkamp or Sune Garbers will show the boys how it's done. Jaques Maree should also land on the podium.
Eugene Slippers is the favourite in the Quads-B-Class up to 240ccm, while Ecki Spoerer and André Maree can fight it out for 2nd place.
Dirk Baard
Dirk Baard
Let's move on to the protagonists, the Quads-A-Class over 240ccm. After the sensationell victory of Dirkie Baard from Walvis Bay during the last race in Windhoek it remains to be seen if he can repeat this feat against his rivals Fanie Steenkamp and Ronnie Adams. His brother Phillippie Baard or Rodney Davies are also keen on a podium spot. These guys will give it all, that's for certain!
So don't forget, make a note: "FNB Desert Challenge" coming Saturday, the 21st of July in Swakopmund. Excellent food and beverages will be available at the Coastal Cement Works-Track.
Author: Bernd Kroemer ... [back]
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