Kalahari Rally 2021: stage 6, a race for your money

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The 2021 Kalahari Rally is coming to an end. Thanks to the folks at WESTx1000 for capturing all of the action and drama along the way.

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Step 6: A race for your money

In an era of uncertainty, it is only a safe bet in South Africa

A misnomer about the final stage is that it is the shortest trial. The kilometers are condensed, the starts are shifted to the end of the morning and the festivities are scheduled much earlier than it seems possible to complete a full special, a liaison and (if all goes well) a shower. Too often a few members of the organ and many riders relax their shoulders after the penultimate stage, feeling that they have come to the end, so what can go wrong in a small loop? This state of mind, the cheerful mood, the lack of urgency, often lead to mistakes. It’s the perfect formula of complacency and vulnerability – guards down, bellies exposed – that gives fate the opportunity to strike with a rusty blade. The best that could happen would be that no one was hurt. But inevitably, one of the main vehicles will slow down their run or lose some focus or feel so secure in their position that they will begin to treat the competition like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Inadvertently leaving the door open for a determined rival to rush in and shut it behind them. Even though it’s only the boys and girls in the back who let their hair down… They’re tired. Maybe they’ve already achieved their goals – usually geared toward completing the last challenge. The end of the race usually reduces the pace from demanding to languid, if only to avoid excessive stress on the machines. usually.

The Kalahari Rally, however, did not receive the memo. Contrary to what is often found in other rally raids of this size and stature, the kind of attitude that takes place in the final has yet to mar the Kalahari. The competitors still standing did not let their guard down in SS6 any more than they had been doing all week. If the only goal now was to reach the Red Bull Arch in the bivouac, then that was enough potion to push them forward. If it was about saving every second of their time and getting a respectable spot on the scoreboard, then today they’ve done their best. And if the Winner’s Circle is within reach, then you’d better get out of the way. In the Auto category, that was certainly the feeling of the Nissan Red-Lined Motorsports, who fought to the end. Relatively new to the sport (i.e. his very first rally raid), pilot Eben Basson channels a fighter jet, doing his best to break through the sound barrier before navigator Gerhard Schutte read aloud. voices the bearings to T033. Their # 304 roared at every peak, the backend rocking the T1 into the next turn erasing anything that dared to venture in its path. The pair did a quick job on the track, desperately trying to win over Terence Marsh and Riaan Greyling in # 308 who, from Stage 5, held the overall title just 00:38:10 minutes ahead of their team counterparts. A daily brawl to match the VK56s. But despite the powerful performance of the # 304, crossing the line first only matters so a lot if a few waypoints are overlooked. Still, they weren’t the only ones making mistakes, eventually placing # 308 third and Buggy # 312 second in the pecking order today, which gave Basson and Schutte the stage victory.

Electricity surged through the cars and remained buggy, the latter – # 312 Century Racing CR5 – lit a fire under their car, moving faster than Dewald Van Breda and Johann du Toit drove it from the first start in Mafikeng . A detail evident by their stellar results. UTVs also sent it until they rolled under the infamous Red Bull Arch. The powerful Angolans made everyone laugh at the bivouac as they limped into a war-torn # 205 which tragically lost a tire in the last section. But Nuno Santos generously counterbalanced their ship – hooked to the passenger side of the SSV – while Joao Lota cradled it at the bivouac. Nevertheless, the duo parked their rental Can Am Maverick X3 in second place in SS6 and overall. Fairly good result considering the last time they tried to participate in this event, they were refused at the border with South Africa. They can certainly see this achievement as a victory in its own right. Having a much simpler approach was the favorite to win, # 204 led by WCT Engineering pirates Geoff Minnitt and Siegfried Rousseau. No one doubted their reign on the side-by-side and sweeping through the ranks by seizing this precious Winner’s Circle. Fearsome adversaries indeed, the utility-mobiles # 202 and # 201 fell to the rear.

It could have played out in so many ways, but it’s always exciting to receive the impending notification of the results. Motorcycles were an exciting bunch to watch with pro-level talent clashing at the top, while the mid-pack and beyond instead struggled to overcome the elements, roadbooks and themselves. A beautiful display of passion, perseverance and humanity within the group made this event so important to see first hand. But a race is a race. And it is just as important to follow the pursuits of the best riders. Only eight minutes separate frontman John Kelly [#2] and South Africa KTM pro Charan Moore. But after being thrown over the handlebars yesterday, Moore suffered several mechanical issues that he desperately tried to remedy before morning – accepting an end-of-conflict penalty. But that wasn’t in the cards, and by dawn it was clear that the # 73 wouldn’t honor the course with its impressive enduro-esque riding skills. We missed all the air he would have taken on the road for the day. What do they say? When one door closes, another opens. And Moore’s departure definitely debunked a few runs for # 874, Gert Van Den Berg, and # 16 Hentie Hannekom, who also took advantage of the loss of their colleague. Van Den Berg even won the special, with Hannekom moving on to the next stage. Kelly finished on the bottom step of the podium, but no tears were shed as he was crowned King of the Kalahari by bike – also receiving the dear free Road to Dakar entry for its 2022 iteration. For the overall standings, the # 874 finished second and top of the food chain, Gary Pretorius [#8] completed the winning trifecta, even after a few difficult passages.

When that moment arrives, the winners are named and the medals are distributed to the graduates, it will be remembered. Because at the Kalahari Rally, what makes the competition so special are the locals. Those who participate and those who are just looking for a good vantage point to watch the heat ensue. Those people who come to compete in a promising new off-road event or just to show their support, applaud your triumphs and lament your failures. Drink beer in your honor and praise the most popular rookies all the way. It is the characters who determine, finally, everything. And if we would bet the success of the Kalahari Rally only on this essential element, taking into account all the tests, the hot days and the cold nights. The endless barrage of dust, rocks and potholes. Without a doubt, a gamer would put every dollar on the table in favor of South Africa’s only response to the world-class rally.

KEY NOTES

Ø ES6 210km Special> 14km Liaison | Vanzyls Rus> Skilpadshek | 100% Hard-Pack

Ø The finish went off with a bang, sending the runners up a volcano on fast and fluid tracks. There was some brush on the packed mountain range with a few steep rocky climbs and descents. They buzzed one last time at the Botswana border before returning to Mafikeng for their final results. Navigation is considered a medium with complicated sections along the peaks.

Ø Skilpadshek (Afrikaans for tortoise gate) is a border checkpoint on the South African border with Botswana, located 52 kilometers (32 mi) northwest of Zeerust in the North West Province. The corresponding checkpoint on the Botswana side of the border is called Pioneer Gate. The Trans-Kalahari Corridor runs through Skilpadshek and forms the western end of the N4 road, which continues into Botswana as A2. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skilpadshek]

Ø The Road to Dakar challenge was awarded to the overall Moto winner, # 2 John Kelly from Botswana. As a bonus, the Kalahari Rally generously offered a prize to Philip Botha in Red-Lined Motorsports car # 305 in the form of € 8,000 to be applied towards a registration for the Dakar Rally 2022.

TOP 10 SS6 RESULTS

MOTO 450 / OPEN / IRON MAN

  1. # 874 Gert Van Den Berg (ZAF), KUDUMANE BRAKES RACING, OPEN
  2. # 16 Hentie Hannekom (ZAF), PRIVATEER, OPEN
  3. # 2 John Kelly (BWA), SOLDIER, 450
  4. # 3 Martin Lourens (ZAF), DROOMERS YAMAHA, 450 50+
  5. # 19 Dreyer Van Niekerk (ZAF), MARSHMALLOW POP, 450
  6. # 77 Ruan Burger (ZAF), PENTA MOTOR GROUP, OPEN
  7. # 8 Gary Pretorius (ZAF), BROTHER LEADERTREAD, 450
  8. # 35 Mark Johnston (ZAF), JOHNSTON MOTO, IRON MAN
  9. # 18 Chris Opperman (ZAF), SOLDIER, 450
  10. # 26 Vaughn Roux (ZAF), ROBERTS RACING RALLYE, IRON MAN 50+

SXS

  1. # 202 Théo Erasmus (ZAF); Johan Bekker (ZAF), MARIENDALE RACE
  2. # 205 Joao Lota (PRT); Nuno Santos (AGO), ANGOLA RALLY TEAM
  3. # 204 Geoff Minnitt (ZAF); Seigfried Rousseau (ZAF), ENGINEERING WCT
  4. # 201 Hamish Horrel (ZAF); Carl Oosthuizen (ZAF), NH3 REFRIGERATION

FIA T1 / BUGGY CAR

  1. # 304 Eben Bassoon (ZAF); Gerhard Schutte (ZAF), RED-LINED MOTORSPORT
  2. # 312 Dewald Van Breda (ZAF); Johann Du Toit (ZAF), 213 RACING CREW
  3. # 305 Philippe Botha (ZAF); Roelof Janse Van Vuuren (ZAF), PENTA / RED-LINED MOTORSPORT
  4. # 308 Terence Marsh (ZRA); Riaan Greyling (ZAF), RED-LINED MOTORSPORT

GENERAL RANKING, GENERAL

MOTO 450 / OPEN / IRON MAN

  1. # 2 John Kelly (BWA), SOLDIER, 450
  2. # 874 Gert Van Den Berg (ZAF), KUDUMANE BRAKES RACING, OPEN
  3. # 8 Gary Pretorius (ZAF), BROTHER LEADERTREAD, 450
  4. # 16 Hentie Hannekom (ZAF), PRIVATEER, OPEN
  5. # 77 Ruan Burger (ZAF), PENTA MOTOR GROUP, OPEN
  6. # 35 Mark Johnston (ZAF), JOHNSTON MOTO, IRON MAN
  7. # 19 Dreyer Van Niekerk (ZAF), MARSHMALLOW POP, 450
  8. # 3 Martin Lourens (ZAF), DROOMERS YAMAHA, 450 50+
  9. # 18 Chris Opperman (ZAF), SOLDIER, 450
  10. # 24 Leonard Cremer (ZAF), DROOMERS YAMAHA, OPEN
  11. # 26 Vaughn Roux (ZAF), ROBERTS RACING RALLYE, IRON MAN

SXS

  1. # 204 Geoff Minnitt (ZAF); Seigfried Rousseau (ZAF), ENGINEERING WCT
  2. # 205 Joao Lota (PRT); Nuno Santos (AGO), ANGOLA RALLY TEAM
  3. # 202 Théo Erasmus (ZAF); Johan Bekker (ZAF), MARIENDALE RACE
  4. # 201 Hamish Horrel (ZAF); Carl Oosthuizen (ZAF), NH3 REFRIGERATION

FIA T1 / BUGGY CAR

  1. # 304 Eben Bassoon (ZAF); Gerhard Schutte (ZAF), RED-LINED MOTORSPORT
  2. # 308 Terence Marsh (ZRA); Riaan Greyling (ZAF), RED-LINED MOTORSPORT
  3. # 305 Philippe Botha (ZAF); Roelof Janse Van Vuuren (ZAF), PENTA / RED-LINED MOTORSPORT
  4. # 312 Dewald Van Breda (ZAF); Johann Du Toit (ZAF), 213 RACING CREW


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