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Motorsport: Dakar 2019

Die deelnemers

Deur Neels Rabe


Soos reeds berig, is die 2019 Dakar uitsluitlik in Peru, en bestaan 70% van die roete uit sand.


Daar is 334 voertuie ingeskryf om op 6 Januarie 2019 aan die een-en-veertigste Dakar deel te neem. Die hoofkategorieë is motors, motorfietse, vragmotors, 4-wiel motorfietse en die SxS-klas (die sogenaamde “side-by-side” klas, of “buggies”).


Die SxS-klas is ‘n relatiewe nuwe klas vir klein UTV (“utility task vehicle”) voertuie soos vervaardig deur Can-Am, Polaris, Yamaha ens. Enjin-grootte word beperk tot 1050 cc, en wydte is slegs 1.9m. Hul top snelheid word beperk tot 130 km/h.


Vanuit ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse oogpunt sal die fokus veral op die motors wees, en meer spesifiek op die 2009 wenner, Giniel De Villiers. Giniel het in die afgelope 10 jaar nog net 3 keer nie op die podium geëindig nie. Sy 2009 oorwinning was in ‘n VW. Nadat VW onttrek het aan die einde van 2011, neem hy in die Suid-Afrikaans vervaardigde Toyota “Hilux” deel. Hilux is in aanhalingstekens omdat die Dakar voertuie doelgerig geboude motors is. Meganies is daar absoluut geen ooreenkoms met ‘n gewone Hilux nie. Alhoewel hy en sy navigator sedert 2007, Dirk von Zitzewitz, se paaie amptelik geskei het na die laaste Dakar, was dit van korte duur. Hulle trek 6 Januarie in Lima weer weg as ‘n span. Ons hoop van harte dat Giniel nie net ‘n negende podium-posisie gaan behaal nie, maar dat dit ook sy tweede oorwinning sal wees. Dit sal beteken dat Toyota ook uiteindelik hierdie legendariese wedren wen. Daar is gerugte in die omtrek dat hulle dit oorweeg om na hierdie Dakar amptelik te onttrek.


Die ander motor om dop te hou, is die SVR Red Lined Nissan Navara van Dakar-nuwelinge Shameer Variawa en Zaheer Bodhanya. Shameer het reeds in 2000 op 22-jarige ouderdom sy eerste Suid-Afrikaanse veldrenkampioenskap vir spesiale voertuie gewen, maar hierdie sal sy Dakar vuur-, skuus, sand-doop wees.


In die motorfiets kategorie is dit 5 x SA veldrenkampioen, Pretoria se Kenny Gilbert (Husqvarna), wat hard gaan probeer om in die top 20 te eindig. In die 16 jaar wat Kenny deelneem, het hy reeds 13 keer die baie moeilike Dak van Afrika wedren in Lesotho voltooi. Verdere motivering is die deelname van sy grootste teenstander in die plaaslike kampioenskap, Botswana se Ross Branch (KTM).


In 2018 was dit Donovan Van De Langenberg wat Suid-Afrika in die Malle Moto klas verteenwoordig het. Dis die moeilikste manier om die Dakar te doen. Eerstens ry jy alleen op ‘n motorfiets, dus moet jy self navigeer. Maar net om dinge bietjie interessanter te maak, mag net jyself aan die motorfiets werk. Hierdie keer is dit KZN se Stuart Gregory (KTM) wat homself beskikbaar stel vir 5000 km se pyn.


Nog ‘n Suid-Afrikaner van wie ons waarskynlik weinig sal hoor, is die motorwerktuigkundige Sean Berriman. Hy neem deel in die nommer 520 MAN vragmotor saam met sy twee Duitse spanmaats, bestuurder Mathias Behringer en navigator Stefan Henken. Hulle hoofdoel is nie om ‘n goeie posisie te behaal nie, maar om al die deelnemers te ondersteun wat onder die South Racing vaandel deelneem.


Is hierdie moontlik die laaste Dakar in Suid-Amerika? Tyd sal leer, maar weens die moeilike sand-roete behoort dit steeds ‘n baie interessante twaalf dae te wees. Enige iemand wat al in los sand met veral ‘n motorfiets gery het, sal weet dat dit nie die maklikste manier is om die eerste deel van 2019 te begin nie.

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