Dust, sweat and gears at first Coastal Moto-X race

The first round of the 2018 Coastal Moto-X Championships held at the newly erected Swakopmund dirt track last Saturday saw 59 entries brave the scorching heat and open throttle for a competitive race in all classes. Riders from Windhoek, Otjiwarongo, Outjo, Okahandja and both coastal towns rocked up for a day's full racing which tested both endurance and skills on what is ranked as Namibia's premiere Moto-X track.

This was the second Moto-X race staged at the track since its inception at the end of last year, and one of three being hosted for the 2018 Swakopmund Championship series.

A growing participation of youth riders put their names to the entry list, and a total of 11 classes were well represented from the 50cc Class through to the 'big guns' as well as the quad bike category and a recently introduced ladies class which was won by rising talent Geena Sadlowski.

Windhoek's Mark Sternagel who is ranked the fastest rider in the country was on top form and sized up the field with ease, even though he raced his own race in the MX1 category.

His delayed start to give the field a gap, still saw him work hard against competitors from the MX2 Class, and was given a good run from upcoming Swakopmund rider Liam Gilchrist who streaked into first place. Rivals Stephan Bartch and Herbert de Klerk pushed hard in the thick of it for second and third respectively in this class.

The MX3 'high school kid' Class was fired up with enthusiasm, with riders dicing on their 125cc machines. Liam Gilchrest pipped his rival Stefan Bartsch to the post, with Herbert De Klerk finishing in third spot.

Nine young entries took part in the 50cc Class which holds the future talent of Moto-X, listing participating riders aged between five to nine years old. Youngster JL Opperman snatched a strong lead against Rhys Cragg and Hauke Aakman-Visher. And in the 65cc Class Lehan Augustein held his lead to win.

Richard Reid was the man to clinch the Veterans category, whilst a lively Clubman Class known as the 'week-end warriors' saw JL Opperman leading ahead of Rhys Cragg and Hauke Aakman-Visher.

The exciting quad bike races were also dominated by JL Opperman who thrilled spectators with high jumps and nifty manoeuvres into tight corners. He held a wide lead in the race to beat Darren Barnard, whilst Maike Borchert flew the flag for the ladies class.

Spokesperson from the Swakop MX Promoters committee, Mike Nederlof said the committee sponsored the day which provided some great racing and a good turnout.

He said that the new 1.7 kilometre Swakopmund Moto-X track cost the organising committee around N$100 000 to rebuild from scratch, spurred on by a huge drive to revive the sport and host more events at the coast.

The new track built to FIM (Federation International Motorcycle) standards is now on spec to host the Africa Moto-X Championships, which has not held an event of this status in Namibia since 2007.

The next Coastal Championship event will be held in September and again the big international two-day event in December, with riders coming in from Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia