Rain washes out Qatar race
The season-opening Qatar MotoGP was postponed on Sunday because of adverse weather. Qatar’s Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha was lashed by heavy rain on Sunday, forcing the postponement of the night-time race to last night. The 125cc race and 250cc Grand Prix were shortened, but the main showpiece was unable to get underway. “For safety reasons it was not possible to race in the night due to the reflection of the lights on the track,” Claude Danis, Road-racing Commission president for the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), said in a statement posted on the FIM’s Web site.
Spectators mob local hero
Local Greg Minnaar was mobbed by spectators after winning the downhill race on Sunday at the World Mountain Bike Cup in Pietermaritzbug, South Africa. He received a reception normally reserved for South African soccer, rugby and cricket stars after pipping Australian Mike Hannah for first place on a forest-lined course near the KwaZulu-Natal city. Competition was fierce, with 28 finalists cracking the four-minute barrier, and Minnaar clocked 3:43.44 after sailing over jumps and pedaling furiously through flatter sections. Hannah was last to race and finished 2.25 seconds slower to settle for second spot ahead of Englishman Steve Peat on a 3km course littered with sharp drop-offs and jumps. Tracy Moseley of England turned 30 in style by winning the women’s downhill race in 4:20.15 after Emmeline Ragot and Sabrina Jonnier of France surrendered the lead. The first world mountain bike event to be staged in Africa attracted 16,000 spectators over a holiday weekend to far exceed organizers’ expectations.
Vaughan suffers setback
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan suffered a setback in his attempts to force his way back into the Ashes reckoning when he made just 12 playing for the MCC against county champions Durham on Sunday. The 34-year-old is determined to claim the No. 3 spot for the coming series against the West Indies and Australia, but with the squad to face the West Indians in the first Test due to be named next weekend, time is running out. Vaughan’s only consolation was that Ian Bell, another No. 3 hopeful, was also out for 12 as the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season ended in a rain-affected draw at Lord’s. Yorkshireman Vaughan was dismissed by former Headingley colleague Mitchell Claydon — an Australian now qualified for England by virtue of his British passport — who believes the former skipper has a role to play in the Ashes.
Bakkies awaits his fate
The decision in the judicial hearing for Northern Bulls lock Bakkies Botha over an incident during a weekend match against the NSW Waratahs will be announced today, SANZAR said. Judicial officer Dennis Wheelahan held over his decision pending further consideration, a statement by the ruling body for Rugby Union in the southern hemisphere said. The Springbok forward was cited and charged with striking in an incident in Saturday’s Super 14 match between the Bulls and the NSW Waratahs at Sydney Football Stadium. Botha appeared before Wheelahan in Sydney on Monday, along with members of the Bulls’ team management and legal representatives, SANZAR said. Evidence tendered at the hearing included video footage supplied by the match broadcasters.