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National MX News : Namibian MX Championships
25.08.2007 8th WESBANK Motocross Challenge in Gobabis (NAM) - Preview

Big-5 Moto Cross Cup in Gobabis

For the second time this year the Namibian Moto Cross riders are going to Gobabis to take part in the 8th Namibian Moto Cross Championships race. It goes without saying that the beautiful sand-track in Gobabis is one of the participants most favoured tracks. The driving force behind the Gobabis Moto Cross Club (GMC) is Wikus Engelbrecht, who will see to it that the track is in top condition, and who also acts as the main sponsor for the race on the 1st of September, with his company Big-5.
The popularity of "Namibia's Xtreme Sport No.1", as it is called by the organisers in this country, did not come out of the blue. The sport made its first appearance some 35 years ago and was similarly popular as in Europe. Then came its decline in the 1980's which was again followed by an increase in popularity in the early 1990's and peaked in the building of the first permanent MX-track, the Gallina Moto Cross Park. Since the late 1990's the spectators interest in this exciting sport increased, but, the number of participants continually shrank over the years. Since 2007 the situation has improved immensely and young talents in the children- and youth-classes, as well as strong riders in the Kings' Class - the Open/125cc Class - offer most exciting racing already since the beginning of the 2007 season.
Ruhan Gous
Ruhan Gous
The race in Gobabis is not only an opportunity to acquire some more points, it is at the same time the final opportunity for the riders to test their stamina before the international championships start. These kick-off in Zambia in the middle of September and end with the Inter-Series on the 3rd and 10th of November in Windhoek.
In the 50cc Kindergarden-Class the champion of the year 2007 will be none other than Michael Barlow. He has dominated this class throughout the season but had to make way for William Smith during the previous race in Swakopmund. Third place will either go to Esranel Becker - the only girl in this category, Jaques Marais or Yoshua Becker.
Eric Garbers is the definite favourite in the 65cc Class. At the beginning of the season he had speculated on making a clean sweep, but he was defeated several times by Tristan Muller. However, Garbers points should suffice to win the championship. Pauli Loots, Joshua Texeira as well as the only girl in the class Lee-Ann Smith, will battle it out for 3rd place.
Arno Engels
Arno Engels
In the 85cc Class Namibia can call an exceptional talent its own: Mark Sternagel! This is a name to remember. Mark not only dominates the 85cc Class on his KTM, his father also lets him ride in the 125cc Class in the Wesbank King of the Dirt. The 11 year old managed to land among the Top 10 every single time - a sensational achievement! Jaco Loots on his 85cc Suzuki is Mark's biggest contender and he has picked up quite some speed during the previous races. Eric Garbers (he rides in the 65cc and 85cc Classes) will fight for the third vacant podium spot with the guys from Swakopmund, Schalk Louw and Nikki Rossi.
The Clubmen's Class has improved enormously. New riders have shown up who are keen on challenging the established riders Marc Ratheiser, Billy Heigan and Iwan Esterhuizen. Among these are also a couple of ex-champions such as "Butzer" Störmer, Eckhard Waldschmidt and Stephan Gradtke. There will be some tough riding.
Henry O'Kennedy (#36) vs Gerhard Simon
Henry O'Kennedy (#36) vs Gerhard Simon
Let us move on to the protagonists of the Namibian MX-sport, the riders in the Kings'Class, the Open/125cc Class. As the name already states, the Open-riders (motorbikes without engine size limitations) are participating here together with the 125cc riders in one class. This class is dominated by a guest rider from Botswana, Ross Branch. Branch rides on a quick Kawasaki and his great riding talent is really impressive, but also the apparent joy he is having whilst riding his bike. His biggest opponent this season was Yamaha-rider Frank Klosta, who however broke his collar bone during the race in Swakopmund. Whether he will participate in Gobabis is still questionable. This could be the chance Arno Engels has been waiting for. His performance has increased from race to race and in Swakopmund he could even shake off the present champion in the Open-Class, Ronnie Adams. Henry O'Kennedy is a young rider who has had adaptation problems in this class, but by now he regularly rides up front.
Brannigan "Animal" Wise, who has represented Namibia in world-championships races, has not recuperated fully from several injuries but nevertheless wants to "test" his wrist prior to the international races. If it holds out, Brannigan will definitely be among the Top 5. Rudi Brandt, who has just recuperated from a hipjoint fracture in 2006, proved during the previous race, that he can be reckoned with once again. Heiner Windisch rides strikingly well in the heats, but he is not as fit as he should be in the "King of the Dirt". Together with Eckhard Hall and Sascha Becker, these are the riders with the biggest chances on a podium spot. More than 20 riders are expected at the starting-gate.
Airborne Ronnie Adams
Airborne Ronnie Adams
The races of the Quads-Classes do not count for the national championships, but they are part of a most exciting supporting programme and very popular among the spectators. Apart from the races in the Quads-Clubmen's Class, the organiser offers races in the Ladies-Quads as well as races in the Quads-B-Class up to 240cc and of course the major attraction, the races in the engine-size free Quads-A-Class. Here we find stars such as ex-champions Ronnie Adams and Fanie Steenkamp, who for the first time this season may get some real competition. There are a couple of riders from the coast who make life hard for the "old ones". During the previous FNB-King of the Quads race in Swakopmund, Dirkie Baard and Michael Behnke presented some spectacular riding. Most exciting races are thus guaranteed.
The Gobabis Moto Cross Club offers food and beverages in the Coca-Cola tent. The tent is situated next to the "devil's table" where the spectators can see the 30 metre jumps up close. So don't forget, the Big-5 Moto Cross event on the 1st of September in Gobabis. The races will start at 11 am.
Author: Bernd Kroemer ... [back]
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