ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA READY TO TAP INTO NEW GEARS

Image from 2021 MX National | Round 1 | Captured by Sage Lee Voges for http://www.zcmc.co.za

NATIONAL MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP – BORC

The wait is over…

The penultimate round of the National Motocross Championship is set to take place in Bloemfontein this weekend, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna are getting ready to tap into new gears. With two championship titles still within the team’s reach, the fight for points will be fiercer than ever.

The highly anticipated event will be hosted by BORC, a track that offers high speeds and big jumps that are bound to get every rider’s adrenaline pumping. Fresh off an international racing experience is leading rider David Goosen. Having recently competed in the Motocross of Nations, one of the world’s most prestigious motocross events, Goosen has gained invaluable experience. While the rider was unfortunately kept from progressing to the main event due to an inconclusive Covid result, he rates the event as one his top racing experiences.

He commented, “MXON must have been the best experience I’ve ever had. The highs and the lows created an unforgettable journey for me and gave me invaluable experience. I’m so excited get back behind the gates this weekend and more motivated to race than ever,” said Goosen.

Goosen will have his work cut out for him this weekend as he attempts to close the gap that championship rival Tristan Purdon has opened up in both MX1 and MX2. As he taps into a wealth of racing experience both locally and internationally, the rider is well-aware that the fight for national titles is far from over.

Also entering a bar-to-bar battle for championship points this weekend is Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Neil van der Vyver. After his fair share of setbacks this season, the rider has managed to narrow the gap on leading rider Trey Cox to a mere seven points.

“The Bloemfontein track is one of my favourites! It’s very similar to my home track in Cape Town, so I’ve been spending a lot of time training there to make sure I’m fully prepared,” said Van der Vyver.

When asked about his goals for the weekend, Van der Vyver’s answer is simple – to win every heat he competes in on Saturday. To have the best shot at winning the Pro Mini Championship this season, Van der Vyver is determined to go 1-1 in both heats to make up the points he needs.

With his track record of winning consecutive motos, if anyone can snatch a double heat victory this weekend then it is surely the rising star. As his team prepares for one of the most nail-biting events of the season, Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham commented: “Racing is one of the all-time levellers and this season our team has had it fair share of ups and downs. However, our riders and crews have for not one moment come off the gas. Both David and Neil have given the season everything they have had in the tank and will without doubt do the same this weekend. Bloem is certainly my favourite track and we have had many great results there, so we are on our way back for another highly competitive day.”

Published by: Fred Fensham

Picture Caption: Star rider David Goosen at the opening round of the championship.

RED BULL KTM EDGES CLOSER TO NATIONAL GLORY

National Motocross Championship – BORC

The penultimate round of the National Cross Motocross Championship will take riders to BORC, a Bloemfontein track renowned for its red sand, high speed and epic jumps. As the end of the season draws near, it’s full steam ahead for Red Bull KTM as they edge closer to claiming the four championship titles within their reach.
 
Taking centre stage is Tristan Purdon, who lines up with the points lead in both the MX1 and MX2 Class. The rider recently returned to South Africa after a trip to Europe to compete in the world’s pinnacle motocross race – the Motocross of Nations.
 
“It’s always an incredible experience to line up with the world’s best and identify places where we fall short. I learnt so much from the experience about what it takes to compete at that level and I’m excited to implement that in my racing locally. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been working on my starts especially,” said Purdon.
 
With a 21-point lead in the MX1 Class and 16-point lead in the MX2 Class, the rider is painstakingly close to snatching both national titles. Purdon is by no means complacent, however, and is more determined than ever as he braces himself for the final two rounds.
 
“Now is not the time to get comfortable. We’re in for a fast track this weekend that isn’t as hardpack as the last round, so I need to be ready for anything. The goal is obviously to win all my heats and extend my points lead going into the final round. If things don’t go according to plan though, I need to minimize the damage and make sure I don’t lose too many points,” added Purdon.
 
Also ready to battle it out for the MX2 Championship is Purdon’s Red Bull KTM teammate, Cameron Durow. The youngster has had an impressive debut season with the orange team and has experienced multiple wins in the highly competitive class. With only 16 points separating him from the top step, Durow will line up on Saturday with more determination than ever.
 
“I’ve done two races in Bloemfontein recently and won both, so I’m feeling really good going into this round. I’ve always really liked racing in Bloem and I’ve done quite well there in the past. The way the track flows suits my style of racing,” said Durow.
 
Durow also mentions making small steps of improvement both on and off the bike in the last few weeks of training. “With the championship coming right down to the wire, every small improvement will make a difference. I’ve been happy to make some improvements recently, both physically and on my bike,” he explained.  
 
Taking his place behind the gates with a significant points lead is Highschool Class hero Jonathan Mlimi. The rider has gone from strength to strength this season and with two rounds to go has established a lead of more than 30-points on his competitors.
 
Mlimi is feeling as confident as ever after a good week of training and like Durow, really enjoys the Bloemfontein track. “The big jumps are obviously something that excites me, but the track is also really wide and has some nice ruts,” said Mlimi.
 
The rider’s goal has been the same since the start of the season – to win both his heats and make sure he gets good starts. He mentions working on his consistency over the last few weeks to make sure he hits every mark and minimize any mistakes.
 
Rounding out the team with yet another red plate is rising star Trey Cox. Consistency has been his secret to success this season in his fight for the Pro Mini title. Cox has built up a seven point buffer between himself and championship rival Neil van der Vyver.
 
While the gap gives Cox some breathing space, the fight for the championship is far from over. Cox only narrowly missed a win in the last round after a small crash that set him back, and will surely come back swinging as he looks to get back on the top step on Saturday.

Published by:  Louwrens Mahoney

COCKER CROWNED OR3 CHAMPION

NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY SEASON FINALE


The National Cross Championship has ended in victory for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna. Rising talent Davin Cocker, who was recruited by the team at the start of the year, stormed to the OR3 Championship title on Saturday. Also finishing the season with a stellar performance was leading rider Brett Swanepoel, who placed second overall in the prestigious OR1 Class.

The season finale took riders to Virginia Trails, a venue in KwaZulu-Natal with classic cross country terrain. After a solid time trial performance, Cocker lined up near the front of the pack for the main race. He set off with a blistering pace to take the class lead early into the race and held his composure until he crossed the finish line.

Having snatched up the first national title of his promising career, an elated Cocker commented: “This is the first national title I’ve ever won. It really has been the best season I’ve had in my career so far, but it certainly hasn’t been smooth sailing. After some bad luck that cost me a lot of points, I had to fight hard to get back to the top. Having worked so hard for this title, it’s made the win even more rewarding.”

After an unforgettable debut season with the Husqvarna team, he added: “Racing for Husky this year has been a dream come true and it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone putting so much effort into supporting me. It will be very interesting to see what next season has in store and I can’t wait to get stuck into it!”

While a podium finish is something Swanepoel is proud of, it’s no secret that second place wasn’t what he had been hoping for. After a slower time trail than expected, the rider had his work cut out for him as he chased down rival Michael Pentecost in the main race.

“I found it difficult to take risks in the long grass in the first lap and lost about a minute. By the second lap I found a good rhythm and started to make up some time. I put in so much effort but unfortunately had a crash in the last lap and couldn’t narrow the gap. It’s a really tough pill to swallow because I never imagined myself walking away from this event without the championship.”

After the first two rounds of the season, Swanepoel had established a healthy 14-point lead. A bout of bad luck set Swanepoel back, however, and left him fighting to catch up for the rest of the season. As he shakes off the disappointment, he will jump onto his TE 300i and focus on extreme Enduro riding for the rest of the season.

“I have so much to look forward to this year still. There’s the National Extreme season finale coming up, where I have a good chance of winning the championship. Soon after that is the Roof of Africa. – I’m excited to see what I can do there and look forward to ending this year on a high note,” said Swanepoel.

Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham gives a parting shot as the season draws to a close: “What a roller coaster ride this Cross Country season has been. As always, some hard lessons were learned that will certainly be taken into account going forward. My thanks goes to our riders and crew, who together fought back and gave me 100% at all times. Brett carried the number one plate with pride and was a star throughout the season, just missing out on the OR1 title. We do, however, know he will fight even harder in 2022. As for our young gun Davin – we were all excited about this young athlete at the team announcement back in January and look at him now – the OR3 Champion and winner of his first South African title! I feel it’s the start of an amazing career and there is so much more to come. We certainly look forward to 2022, so watch this space!”

Published by: Fred Fensham

Photography by: Sage Lee Voges

COX STORMS TO OVERALL CROSS COUNTRY VICTORY

National Cross Country Season Finale

Brother Leader Tread KTM took top honours when leading rider Bradley Cox snatched up the overall National Cross Country Championship on Saturday. Fresh off his National Enduro E1 Championship title, the victory comes especially sweet for the multi-disciplined star.
 
The nail-biting season finale took riders to Virginia Trails in KwaZulu-Natal, where a confident Cox had the home ground advantage. After a consistent performance in the OR2 Class throughout the season, a third place overall was all it took for Cox to claim the title in his class and overall.
 
“It’s been a dream year! I’m so thankful for everyone that has been a part of my success because without their support, this wouldn’t even be possible,” said an elated Cox.
 
The rider’s racing dreams are only just starting to unfold as the ultimate event of them all loomslarge – the Dakar Rally. Cox has been hard at work as he prepares to step onto the international stage and represent his country in his debut Dakar event.
 
With the help of Dakar legend and father, Alfie Cox, the future looks bright for the rising talent. His recent trip to Morocco to compete in Rallye Du Maroc has put the rider in good stead for the Dakar dunes. With a third place in Rally 2, Cox used the event to showcase his potential to achieve great things in the sport.
 
While the season didn’t unfold as Brother Leader Tread KTM teammate Charan Moore had hoped, the rider describes feeling grateful to share in the team’s successes. Moore had a tough day in the saddle on Saturday after a crash set him back by almost 50 minutes.
 
“It’s been tough year for me with a whole bunch of bad luck. The race started off very tentative in the conditions, but I got into a good flow and worked my way back into the top ten. I had a crash in the dust and the bike slid off a steep mountain ridge, I was so stuck that I spent almost 50 minutes getting back up to the track!” commented Moore.
 
While he was frustrated by the event, he is more determined than ever to come back stronger next year. He said, “It’s been a difficult year for me personally but I’m happy to share in the team’s success and be a part of such a great family. I am so motivated to come back fitter, stronger and ready for 2022. This season taught me resilience and to keep going and push through, even when things don’t go your way!”
 
Like Cox, Moore will represent South Africa as he makes his debut in the Dakar Rally next year. It’s full steam ahead for the rider as he shakes off his disappointment and prepares to race for the greatest title of them all – a finisher’s medal at the prestigious event.

Published by:  Louwrens Mahoney
 

KAWASAKI COMES, SEES & CONQUERS CROSS COUNTRY

Mike Pentecost takes a debut Kawasaki OR1 title with a hat trick of wins


What    South African Cross Country Moto Finals Report
Where    Virginia Trails, KZN
When    Saturday 16 October 2021
Community    South Africa National

The 2021 South African Cross Country Motorcycle Championship may have been Kawasaki’s comeback year, but few would have imagined that the green machines would dominate as they did as the season progressed. It started quietly and without much expectation earlier in the year, but come championship time, not only is Kawasaki hero Mike Pentecost the 2021 OR1 champion, but he also dominated the class to take all three of the final open wins in a row.

Pentecost was also the only double overall Cross Country winner of the year as he led the way on his CiT Franchise Company Kawasaki KX450X in the Virgina Trials finale at Eston KZN. D’Artagnan Lobjoit added to the delight when he made it an OR1 title 1-3 on his Pepson Plastics Motul Kawasaki KX450X, while motocross refugee Wyatt Avis impressed on his Cross Country debut, coming home fourth in Seniors in the tough KZN finale on his KX250X.

“We came, we saw and we conquered,” a delighted Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul team principal Iain Pepper confirmed. “Kawasaki only brought its new KX X range to market this year and we jumped at the opportunity to race the new machines. “I don’t think even I would have expected to be telling you that Mike is the national OR1 title with Dart third in our first season. “Mike has also won every race since he switched to his KX450X to make it a proper dream come true!”

“This was such a stressful week knowing Brett Swanepoel and I were tied on points and having it all to do to win the championship,” newly crowned South African OR1 champion Mike pentecost explained. “So I had sleepless nights and then I pulled number 1 in the time trail start position draw. “That made me even more nervous! “But I had a killer time trial and won, so I was even more stressed knowing I had to open a 56 km loop with long grass and very little else to follow!

“I knew when Brad Cox caught me on the first lap that I had to push, so I just went for it. “But I bogged down on lap 2 and by the time I had the bike out the mud, I had my championship rival Brett all over me. “More stress!. “So I fought back again and opened up the lead, but then I had a massive crash on the third lap and my bike was all twisted up. “Knowing it was a 10 minute DSP stop, I limped back to the pits and the guys did a great job straightening the bike.

“When I got going again, Brett was right back behind me and that stressed me out again! “So I pushed like hell to get away! “Then my exhaust broke and I had no power, a hell of a lot of noise. “I was so worried Brett would catch and pass me after all that, so I pushed like hell, worrying all the way that I’d hurt a valve. “Yet my KX450X made it through and I was still by a minute and a half ahead. “I had won the race and I am OR1 champion!

“It has been an incredible and stressful year — I came back to racing with no funds and was using old parts to keep my own bike going. “By the glory of God however, I was picked up by the CiT Franchise Company team to ride the new Kawasaki KX450X midway through the season. “And now I am champion! “I actually have no words, besides to thank my team for an incredible opportunity. “And for Kawasaki — what a season — I am so proud to be part of it!”

“What a fantastic day and debut national season!” D’Artagnan Lobjoit admitted. “Third in OR1 in a Kawasaki 1-3 is beyond our wildest dreams, but my Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul team made it happen and my KX450X ran like a rocket right through the season and across the country! “We’re not done yet — there are still two GXCC Gauteng races to go so it’s eyes on that prize. “Special thanks to Iain and my incredible team — this was a national year to remember!”

Former international motocross star Wyatt Avis enjoyed a challenging Cross Country debut. “I had an absolute blast!” Wyatt admitted. “The team was awesome and so helpful, although I felt like I could have done better had I not had an issue with my helmet on lap 2. “I really appreciate the opportunity, so big thanks to Iain and the Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul team for making it happen!”

The trying conditions at Eston saw Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul OR1 man Craig Alcock end a lap down and also claimed two of the team’s title protagonists. Neither OR3 lad Kyle Mackenzie and CIT Franchise Co Senior man Deon du Toit made the distance.

“We have had an incredible season,” Iain Pepper added. “A national title in our national debut year is more than we could ever have asked for, so huge props to Mike and Dart and the whole Kawasaki cross Country team. “That was mega! “We are still not finished though — we still have the last two Gauteng GXCC regional rounds to race and we are in a strong position there. “So it’s all eyes on Verena on 30 October. Let’s do this guys!”

“This is just the beginning!” CIT Franchise Company team owner and manager Harry Grobler concluded. “2021 is a great foundation for Kawasaki Racing’s futureWe will be working hard together as two teams with one goal next year. “All our CIT Franchise and Pepson Plastics Motul riders will only be Kawasaki mounted in in every class we take on and we are already counting down to the new 2022 national season.”  


Issued on behalf of Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing

WINGFIELD MOTORS POWER SERIES 8 – SLADE DOES POWERSPORT DOUBLE

Many would argue that racing in the wet distracts from the quality of racing and inevitably sees the number of entries shrink by the time the flag drops.

Fortunately there are those who appreciate the fact that some simply rise to the occasion, sheer ability replaces all benefits gained by deep pockets and the display on track provides a completely new dimension on each category contested.


Just ask veteran driver, constructor and now ace spectator Dave Hawkins opinion from the Turn 3 crows nest! Indeed it was great to see spectators return to Killarney and somehow their presence motivated competitors to deliver quite a show in extremely challenging conditions which ranged from extremely cold and wet to almost bone dry and hot. Some getting all four in a single heat!


Powersport Motorcycles 1x7Lap and 1×8 Lap  
Slade van Niekerk served notice of his intent by placing his Project Sixty60 Kawasaki ER650 firmly on pole position with a time of 1min21:373 (144.534km/h). Jason Linekar 1.76 seconds slower aboard his RST Kawasaki Ninja 650.


Heat one was restricted to seven laps and it was Slade van Niekerk who passed the chequered flag first, 11.209 seconds ahead of Jason Linekar and Rob de Vos claiming third spot on his The Mag Workshop Kawasaki ER650. Lance Jonas fourth on his Samurai Racing Suzuki SV650 with Tristin Pienaar fifth aboard the Powersport 300 class winning KTM RC 390. The top six completed by Nicholas Hutchings aboard HSC Racing KTM RC 390.


Heat two went the full eight laps and this time Slade van Niekerk made it home by a scant 0.168 seconds from an extremely determined Jason Linekar whilst Lance Jonas slotted into a distant third with Adrian Solomon fourth aboard Powersport 300 class winning RST Kawasaki Ninja 300, Gareth Lindemann fifth aboard his GM Contractors Yamaha R3 and Nicholas Hutchings sixth on his HSC Racing KTM RC 390.


Overall Slade van Niekerk claimed first from Jason Linekar with Lance Jonas third and Nicholas Hutchings fourth. Tristin Pienaar fifth and Mitch Robinson sixth.


MC PSP 650 overall order was Slade van Niekerk (Project Sixty60 Kawasaki ER650), Jason Linaker (RST Kawasaki Ninja 650), Lance Jonas Sumarai Racing Suzuki SV650), Rob de Vos (The Mag Workshop Kawasaki ER6) and Edward Rolstone (Kawasaki ER6N).


MC PSP 300 Nicholas Hutchings (HSC Racing KTM RC390) beat Tristin Pienaar KTM RC390), Mitch Robinson (The Mag Workshop Kawasaki Ninja 300), Gareth Lindemann (GM Contractors Yamaha R3), Braddon Hutchings (HSC Racing KTM RC390) and Kyle Hallick (Kawasaki Ninja 300).

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