MotoGP completed the latest triple header on the 2020 schedule with a consecutive outing around the undulations and varied corners of the MotorLand Aragón layout. Warmer temperatures greeted the Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel – named after the province – and sunny skies helped riders and teams decipher the best tire choices for the eleventh fixture of the season in the premier class.
Red Bull KTM saw three riders launch from the first four rows of the grid for the 23-lap MotoGP race. Starting from fifteenth spot, Brad Binder’s afternoon was sadly over quickly after a collision with Jack Miller sent both riders tumbling into the gravel.
Brad Binder: “I had quite an ‘OK’ start and as I went up the inside of Turn1 I then changed direction like a regular lap and got bunched up. It was a big mistake on my behalf and I’m so sorry to wipe out Jack’s race. I want to apologize not only to my team but also to his. We’ll have to restart and go again in Valencia.”
More sunshine and warmer temperatures welcomed MotoGP back to MotorLand Aragón and where Free Practice sessions and qualification on Friday and Saturday were less complicated compared to the cold conditions the previous week. Finding the best balance between effective grip and consideration of tire wear for Sunday’s race was the main job for both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing as well as the Red Bull KTM Tech3 crew.
Brad Binder was so close to moving through to Q2 but missed out by three tenths of a second and will start Sunday’s race from 15th.
Moto3 opens raceday on Sunday with the timing of 11.20 followed by MotoGP at 13.00 and then Moto2 at 14.30 CET.
Brad Binder: “It was a lot easier for me to put down consistent laps, which is good for the race tomorrow. I feel like I am lacking a little bit of straight-up one-lap pace and it was difficult today because I was missing a tenth of a second here and there and it is so tight out there at the moment. Any steps we can make for tomorrow will give us a small advantage going into the race. In general, I think we are much better prepared than we were last week.”
The 2020 edition of the National Motocross Championship comes to close in Bloemfontein this weekend with an enticing double-header lying in wait. It has been a tumultuous season thus far with the global Corona pandemic forcing an unexpected break in proceedings. 2020 is a year which will not soon be forgotten and as such Husqvarna Racing’s Maddy Malan and Neil Van der Vyver will be looking to etch their names into the history books as the men who came out on top in this whirlwind Championship.
Entering the season as reigning MX1 Champion, Malan arrives in Bloemfontein 18 points behind leader Tristan Purdon. With 100 points up for grabs over the weekend Malan knows that if he turns in a faultless performance over the course of the double-header, he may yet be able to walk away with bragging rights this season. There is no love lost between Malan and Purdon after Malan won the 2019 Championship following a tiebreaker between the two riders. Fans can therefore look forward to a race which will be laced with the spice of what is becoming a fierce and bitter rivalry.
Teenage sensation Neil Van der Vyver clawed his way back to the front of the 65cc Championship at the last installment of the season after an uncharacteristically slow start to the year. Van der Vyver enters the season finale with a six-point lead over his closest rival. While double-header rounds boast the prospect of a rider significantly bolstering their points tally, they also pose the threat of a complete re-shuffling of the leaderboard should a rider lose his concentration for a second.
Van der Vyver will be taking to the track in Bloemfontein as a hunted man is prepared to ride like one in his quest to be all-conquering once more.
Dalton Venter, 2019 High School Class Champion, has had a tough season stepping into the MX2 Class. With the double-header presenting a prime opportunity to reinstate himself as a force to be reckoned with in his class, the young gun will be looking to finish off the season strong.
Published by: Husqvarna Motorcycles SA – Fred Fensham
In what has been a year like no other Red Bull KTM travel to Bloemfontein looking to stake their claim as the undisputed industry leaders in the South African Motocross landscape. The National Motocross series draws to a close with what promises to be an action-packed double header round in Bloemfontein this weekend. With three championship titles within the team’s grasp, the Orange machine is priming itself for war.
Spearheading the hunt for championship titles is Tristan Purdon. Last year’s finale saw an agonizingly close finish to the 2019 season where Purdon finished as runner-up. The rider is preparing to set the record straight this time around and will line-up in Bloemfontein leading the MX1 Class by a single point. No stranger to a close race to the line, Purdon will look to draw upon the gut-wrenching disappointment he experienced last year to fuel a ruthless attack upon his rivals in his bid for the crown.
Also entering the fray this weekend as the frontrunner in his class is Red Bull KTM team member Jonathan Mlimi. It has been an epic comeback season for the young gun, who has fought his way back to the top step after a lengthy injury in 2019. With his sights set on winning his first High School Championship and a 15-point lead on his competitors, this weekend looks promising for the rising star.
Rounding out the orange squad is Kerim Fitz-Gerald. The rider is currently tied for third place in the MX2 Class with none other than his own teammate – Tristan Purdon. Not only will Fitz-Gerald need to get ahead of Purdon, but has to make up the 20 point deficit keeping him from the top of the leaderboard. As a multiple national champion, Fitz-Gerald will draw on his past experiences to light the fire and capitalize on every one of the 100 points up for grabs this weekend.
Fully confident that his team has what it takes to storm to motocross glory, KTM South Africa’s Marketing Manager Louwrens Mahoney commented: “This weekend the team goes into the last round of the season hungrier for victory than ever before. All three of our riders stand a chance to walk away with a championship! I have so much confidence in our riders and the team, knowing the hard work that went into the preparation for this last round. All we can do now is have fun and do what we do best!”
Bradley Cox and Charan Moore Crowned 2020 National Cross Country Champions
Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Bradley Cox and Charan Moore have officially been crowned 2020 National Cross Country champions. The riders received top honours in KwaZulu-Natal this weekend as the series ended with an exciting double-header round in Mid-Illovo.
The victory marked a significant milestone for Moore who snatched up the first OR1 national title of his career. Having only been recruited by the team at the start of the 2020 season, the rider has bolstered his status as one of the front runners in this sport.
“I put everything I had into this championship. This KTM family and team made it all the sweeter! Thank you all for helping make this possible,” said an elated Moore.
Brother Leader Tread KTM teammate Bradley Cox stormed to national OR3 glory for the second time in his career. Drawing on the inspiration of his father and racing legend Alfie Cox, the young multi-disciplined talent has been determined to make a name for himself in all facets of South African motorsport.
With his sights set on dreams as big as racing the Dakar Rally in the near future, the victory this weekend was an important steppingstone for Cox.
“It takes a village to make this dream happen – thanks to everyone who has been a part of my circle! Hours and hours of hard work goes into this and to see it payoff is always so rewarding,” commented Cox.
A cherry on the top of what was a phenomenally successful season for the team was a second place from Jarryd Coetzee. The OR2 rider fought tooth and nail to defend his 2019 title and will certainly return to try reclaim the top step next year.
“What a season it’s been! From not knowing if we’d even be able to race again this year, to walking away with the OR1 and OR3 National championship – it is a big blessing for the team!
I am so proud of the riders and the team for all their hard work and dedication throughout this challenging year. It was a demanding weekend of racing, but everyone gave 110 % and it payed off in the end. We will now regroup and start planning for the 2021 season. Thanks so much to all our riders, their family and everyone in the team for all the sacrifices that made this dream come true for everyone,” said KTM South Africa’s Marketing Manager Louwrens Mahoney.
This weekend marked the moment that Brett Swanepoel had been waiting for. In an unforgettable season finale, the Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing star reinstated himself as the country’s leading Cross Country racer.
Having spent the past two years relentlessly working his way back from a near career ending injury, the victory comes especially sweet for Swanepoel. After fighting tooth and nail for the top step this season, the OR2 championship came right down to the wire. In what was a nerve-wracking season finale, Swanepoel lined up tied for the points lead with championship rival Jarryd Coetzee. Swanepoel put on the performance of his career to storm to not only the OR2 title, but the National Cross Country Championship overall.
“It is always an unbelievable feeling to win a National Championship. It has taken a lot to get back to this point and I can’t thank my team and the people around me enough for continuing to believe in me throughout this process,” said Swanepoel.
Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham commented, “How incredibly exciting is this! As a team we have gone through so much but continued to put our full support behind Brett, and what he has done in return is absolutely amazing. This double header was tough in every way – from the heat to the long, demanding loops and the opposition that pushed him to the limit. However, Brett on his Husqvarna FX 350 was untouchable right from the time trial and showed every other rider a clean pair of heels. Man, he really deserves all the accolades!”
It was a bitter-sweet weekend for Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing who were dealt a heavy blow in the first round of the double-header. Star rider Kenny Gilbert, who had been leading the OR1 class at the time, suffered from an injury after an unfortunate crash that forced him to retire from the event.
“Bittersweet is an understatement for how we feel. The unfortunate tumble that Kenny took effectively ended his title challenge once again – this OR1 Championship was there for Kenny and with 5kms to go it again disappeared. Having become a close friend to us all, we are gutted for Kenny and his wonderful family,” said Fensham.
A silver lining is seen for Husqvarna in young gun Davin Cocker. The team decided to assist with his efforts this year and were blown away by his performance. Fensham enthused: “Wow, did he show us that not only is he a humble young man, but that he has serious talent and speed beyond his years. He put up quite a fight in the hotly contested OR3 Class where he finished second overall.”
“As a team we would like to thank PEPSON PLASTICS for their incredible support as our title sponsor over the last years as well as our partners at Michelin, Motorex and Twin Air. With the season wrapped up I can only say that for 2021 – watch this space!”
Published by: Fred Fensham – Husqvarna Motorcycles
What SA National Motocross Final Round 4 & 5 Preview Where Bloemfontein, Free State When 24-25 October 2020 Community South Africa National
Motocross titles to be settled in the Free State
The 2020 Cannabis Energy South African National Motocross Championship comes to a head with another double header round 4 and 5 in Bloemfontein on Saturday and Sunday, 24 and 25 October. With most classes looking to go right down to the wire, it promises to be a stunning weekend of spectacular motocross racing.
Hopefully this year will not require a motorsport court to decide who is champion, should an act of God intervene with proceedings.
That’s exactly what happened last year, when a Highveld thunderstorm and wild lightning caused the final MX1 race to be red flagged. There was concern as to who, exactly was leading when the race was stopped as it had changed after the dice had passed the finish line on the last lap. So it was up to an MSA court to decide and Maddy Malan was only crowned the 2019 MX1 champion after the 2020 season had commenced.
So, with Bloemfontein just as prone to unpredictable Highveld high spring weather, organisers will be hoping for bright sunshine throughout the weekend! And to make it even more dramatic, Malan’s big rival in that lightning-struck 2019 decision, KTM rider Tristan Purdon leads this year’s premier open class MX1 title charge to the Free State. By a solitary point from Yamaha man David Goosen!
They have a small advantage over reigning champion Malan and Lloyd Vercueil on a Yamaha, with Cameron Durow on a KTM and Yamaha men Jesse Wright and Anthony Reynard all within 25 points in the championship table. So with 100 points on offer over four motos through the weekend in Bloemfontein, it’s definitely all to play for.
It’s a similar state of affairs in 250cc MX2, where Yamaha rider David Goosen has a handy 18-point advantage over the similar machine of Slade Smith. KTM duo Kerim Fitz-Gerald and Tristan Purdon are tied on points in third and Cameron Durow and newly crowned SA OR3 Cross Country champion Bradley Cox’s KTMs and Yamaha rider Anthony Reynard are all well within mathematical striking distance too.
Over-40 men Ian Topliss’ Yamaha and KTM riders, Brett Bircher and over-30 leader Wyatt Avis are all in with a shout of the MX3 title, but Topliss will be the man to beat. And while Kayla Raaff and her Kawasaki appear to be in a relatively close 23-point title lead, she is yet to be beaten this year. Rest assured that Natasha Rugani on her KTM and Husqvarna sisters Jadene and Chayenne de Lima will give it their best shot.
Jonathan Mlimi’ has enjoyed a four-moto clean sweep of 125cc High School wins aboard his KTM and arrives in Bloem with a handy title advantage. It’s close behind him though with Yamaha rider Christian Celliers, Miguel de Waal’s KTM, Yamaha lad Ethan Hoffman and Mark-Anthony Filip’s KTM among many others poised to pounce and ample points on hand to make a shock outcome work.
Bryce Petersen leads the under-15 85cc title chase by a handy 20 points on his KTM. But that’s not yet enough to be safe against the likes of Husqvarna duo Lucas Venter and Wian du Plooy and KTM gang Kyle Townshend, Tyler Tarantino, Seth Young, Thor Johnsob, Tristan Durow and wildcard Kayde van Deventer.
The odds are on Husqvarna kid Liam Botha remaining unbeaten in the under-13 85cc Junior races. Ryan Adler on another Husqvarna and KTM kids Pieter Brink, Timo Maximo Toepfler, Nathan Verster and Tyler Petersen will however do their best to stop him.
Champion Neil van der Vyver will be hoping to continue his dominant form of the last double-header round on his Husqvarna in the under-11 65cc class. He has little option but to, with Jordan van Wyk breathing down his neck on another Husqvarna, KTM kid Trey Cox and Jack Pullen’s Husqvarna all within 20 points and 100 more on the table. That keeps Aiden Henley’s Yamaha and Blade Tilley’s KTM and others in the hunt too.
Last but not least, Trenton Kretzman will be out to continue his formidable recent form aboard his Husqvarna in the baby 50s. He will have to keep it clean though, for the likes of Chase Bekker on another Husqvarna and KTM kids Evan Frost, Brody Bircher and Maxwell Fourie and Rayden Woolls on a Husqvarna ready to pounce.
Perhaps most intriguing of all, is the state of affairs in the MSA National Motocross Manufacturers Championship. Yamaha holds the slenderest of leads over KTM, with Husqvarna holding a watching brief. That and the rest of the title battles will all be resolved in Bloemfontein, where the racing will go on behind closed doors as motorsport continues to adhere to lockdown protocols.
The 2020 SA South African National Motocross Championship is proudly presented and sanctioned by Motorsport South Africa in partnership with Cannabis Energy, TRP Distributors, Prepsol, Bridgestone, Thor, Gaerne, FMF, Pro Taper, 100%, Fly Racing, Ogio, Racestar Graffix and the Sunoco Race Shop.
Save the best for last – this is how Steven Odendaal and his team EAB Ten Kate Racing decided to go into the final round of the 2020 World Supersport campaign in Estoril, Portugal. After a promising start on Friday, finishing in fifth position only 3 tenths of a second behind the leader, it was clear that the final double header of the year was going to be action-packed.
Steven Odendaal: (Race 1: 5th, Race 2: 4th): “I had a good feeling on Friday already, we found a good set up and were really close to the front. I qualified in 9th position (3rd row) in Superpole, which is still something we need to work on but I knew we had a good race pace. I had a really good battle for a 4th position in race 1 on Saturday. We kept swapping positions with Viñales, Oncu and Gonzalez which allowed the Top3 to pull a small gap. I finished 5th and moved up to 5th overall in the championship standings ahead of the last race, which was our objective for the weekend. I did think, however, that we needed to find a bit of extra speed for Sunday to fight for the podium. We tried some changes in warm-up and the result was our strongest performance of the year in race 2. We were in the leading group from start to finish and only missed out on a podium by 0.1 seconds. I also finished only a second behind the race winner for the first time in my rookie season in World Supersport. Whilst we did not get onto the podium today despite being so close, it is definitely encouraging to be heading into the winter break after a strong performance and with a 5th position in the overall world championship standings. It also gave me some extra motivation to work hard during the off season to come back and continue this momentum. The objective is to fight for the championship next year and I will do everything I can to achieve this goal. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to the whole team, especially Ferry, Kervin, Kor, Arnold, Remon all my personal sponsors that have been supporting me even in such challenging times with the COVID-19 pandemic, my manager Jorge and my whole family. I am already looking forward to being back on the bike next season. We are yet to announce our plans for 2021 but I will keep everyone updated as soon as I can.”
Brad Binder was the top Red Bull KTM RC16 finisher after 23 challenging laps of the MotorLand Aragón circuit for the Gran Premio Michelin de Aragón. The South African classified 11th just ahead of his teammate Pol Espargaro. KTM celebrated podium presence in both the Moto3™ and Moto2™ categories.
A chilly autumn climate in Aragón greeted the tenth round of 2020 MotoGP. Cold winds and low temperatures forced the Grand Prix schedule to be moved later in the day and to suit the safe operating range of the Michelin tyres. The search for grip and consideration of tire wear were the two pressing issues for the Red Bull KTM contingent for the fourth outing on Spanish asphalt this season.
Pol Espargaro was joined by teammate Brad Binder and the Red Bull KTM Tech3 RC16s of Iker Lecuona and Miguel Oliveira as the quartet circulated on the fringes of the top ten for large stretches of the race. Espargaro was overtaken by Brad in the final phases and the South African won the chase to 11th by only three tenths of a second.
Brad Binder: “A challenging weekend in general. We had some good sessions but also some where it did not really work out for us. The whole team worked really hard and we tried different things but we couldn’t find the solution. Today I rode my best and tried my hardest from lap one until the end. It was easy to fold the front end today and we lacked some feeling there. It was hard to stay calm and not over-attack the corners. We’ve got the whole week to analyze and come back stronger next weekend.”
MotoGP tackled varying weather conditions at Le Mans and the furthest visit north in Europe this season. Free Practice on Friday was wet and damp and Saturday dawned bright and dry but with a chilly wind. The climate required some diligent set-up work for the Red Bull KTM contingent who went into Saturday’s sessions with two of the four riders making Q2 directly.
Brad Binder quickened his speed from the tricky first taste of Le Mans with the MotoGP bike on Friday to improve his race pace in the final sessions of Free Practice. The South African could not make it through Q1 due to a crash and will begin the 27 laps from 17th.
Brad Binder: “Qualifying didn’t go to plan even if FP4 went quite well and FP3 also, where I narrowly missed Q2. We went out in Q1 and I didn’t get a good lap, so we changed tires but then I crashed on my flying lap. We didn’t have the day we were hoping for…but I think our potential is a look higher than how it looks. We’ll get the job done tomorrow.”