Competitors, sponsors and enthusiasts can expect a new level of excitement when the first rounds of the 2015 TOTPAK National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad Championship and the Raslouw Academy Junior National Championship kick off on 21 February in the Rysmierbult area outside Ventersdorp in the North-West Province.
For the first time in the recent history of national off-road racing for motorcycle and quad competitors as well junior off-road racing, promoters (Dirt Racing Promotions) will run the national series under the auspices of Motorsport SA (MSA). Both series have also not had the backing of sponsors for quite some years and with the sponsorship of TOTPAK (distillers of quality alcohol beverages for more than two decades), as the main sponsor of the ‘senior’ off-road championship and Raslouw Academy (a school in Centurion) as the sponsor of the junior series, the running of national off-road racing has been secured. In the true spirit of off-road racing as a ‘family sport’, both companies are also family businesses for who off-road racing are close to their hearts.
The national off-road series has seen some restructuring and the promoters are confident that this will add to the excitement of the national series that is the pinnacle of off-road racing in South Africa. One of the changes includes a time-trial that will determine the starting order for each event. Each of the seven events of the TOTPAK National Off-road Championship event will be packed with activities as competitors will do the time-trial early on race day followed by the main race just a few hours later.
A race will consist of two or three 60km loops with all the refuelling and servicing happening at the same central service point at the pits. Competitors doing the full race distance (OR1, OR2 and OR3 in the motorcycle category as well as Q1 and Q2 in the quads and all Senior Class competitors) will have to complete five more laps for a total race distance of 360 kilometres. Reliability of motorcycle and quads as well as fitness and an organised crew will play important roles in the outcome of the results at the end of a testing day.
The Raslouw Academy Junior National Championship will cater for youngsters between the ages of seven and 15 years of age with three classes in three motorcycle category (the 65cc Class; 85cc Class and Senior 85cc Class) as well as a Junior Quad Class. Young racers who turned 15 this year, can compete in the High School Class Championships in both the ‘senior’ motorcycle and quad categories while riders can compete in certain classes in the ‘senior’ series from the age of 16.
The Raslouw Junior National Championship will consist of five rounds. These races will take place on the same day and from the same race venue as five of the TOTPAK National Series, but the youngsters will race on a totally separate loop. After their two-hour race, they can rub shoulders and learn from their heroes at these events.
National competitors will entertain spectators in various regions this year while riders will be treated to a variety of terrain to test their racing capabilities. The first rounds of both the junior and senior national off-road series, the Rysmierbult National Off-road, will take place on 21 February in the Ventersdorp area in the North-West Province. This event will also form the first rounds of the Northern Regions Championships for both juniors and seniors.
For the first time in many years, the national championship series will return to Swaziland with the second round of the TOTPAK series that will take place on 21 March from the Usutu Forest Country Club. Swaziland has always been a popular race venue and competitors can look forward to some great racing. Juniors (round 2) and seniors (round 3) will again be joined at the Mooi River event on 25 April in KwaZulu-Natal before both series will take a short mid-season break in May.
On June 6th, both national series will visit Stella Beesfees country where the cattle farming community welcomed the national off-road motorcycle and quad series with open arms for the first time in 2014. While the rest of the country will still be experiencing the last of winter, junior and senior competitors will travel to a new venue on the national calendar – a warm Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province where they will tackle the ‘Bushveld’ race on August 1.
After not racing in the Cape for a few years, the national series will visit the Worcester area in the Fairest Cape for the final two rounds of the TOTPAK series (24 and 26 September) and the fifth and final round of the Raslouw Academy Junior Series (25 September). The race organisers (Western Cape Off-road Club) are running a strong off-road series in the Western Cape and the three national events in the winelands promise to make for great racing to round off the 2015 season.
The events at Rysmierbult, Stella and Louis Trichardt will also form a round of the Northern Regions junior and senior series while there will be three more stand-alone events to complete the Northern Regions Off-road Championships for 2015.