Reigning MX1 and MX2 world champions Stefan Everts and Antonio Cairoli took respective class victories in the Grand Prix of South Africa, at Sun City.
For nine-times world title holder Everts it was very much a case of 'business as usual' as he kept his perfect 2006 record intact by notching up his tenth victory of the season in dominant fashion.
Everts started moto one in third place and needed a circulation to gently ease his way past countryman Steve Ramon and then holeshotter Josh Coppins. With a customary clear track stretching ahead, Everts began to work and pulled out a lead of five seconds over his Honda rival in a matter of minutes. His 18th consecutive moto victory was then a formality and he only had to worry about the backmarkers which was a tough task in itself. Ramon collected third, five second from Coppins.
The second outing was almost a carbon-copy and Everts crossed the line almost five seconds ahead of the New Zealander - who will replace him at Yamaha next season - with Suzuki star Ramon once again third.
The eighth double of 2006 represented Everts' first triumph on African soil and means that his lead in the standings has increased to 136 points. In theory, his tenth world championship could now be won in the fairytale setting at Namur, Belgium during the first week of August. The Yamaha star also now needs just three more GP victories to reach a magical and all-time record total of 100 career wins before retiring at the end of this year.
"I am a bit surprised myself at how I can win so many GPs, and maybe in a few years time I will look back at what I have done so far and realise the achievement," said Stefan. "I have also never won ten in a row, nine was the most; so that is a personal record. I have never won in South Africa before so that also was special. I did not wave to the crowd on the last lap this time! I came here with a positive outlook after two years of bad luck and it really worked out today."
Meanwhile, the 25,300 local fans' best hope of a home win rested with KTM's Tyla Rattray in MX2. The South African gained pole position by winning the first qualification heat on Saturday and the 20 year old then engaged in a juicy first moto duel with team-mate David Philippaerts that saw the pair circulating closely for the lead.
Rattray tried to pull away but Philippaerts studied the lines of his fellow 250 SX-F rider and another confrontation led to one or two fraught moments with the duo almost colliding. Despite a last lap attempt by Rattray, Philippaerts held strong for his sixth moto win of the season with Cairoli taking third.
Another factory KTM rider, Briton Carl Nunn took the hole shot in the second moto while both Philippaerts and Rattray had work to do on the opening laps. The Italian unfortunately saw a fourth GP win go up in smoke when he crashed while trying to overtake Billy Mackenzie and smashed his rear wheel. He could only clock another half a dozen laps before he was unable to continue due to the wheel's condition deteriorating.