SOUTH AFRICAN SHOWDOWN IN RUGGED NATAL  

Image from the first round of the National Cross-Country held in Jolivet. Captured by Sage Lee Voges for http://www.zcmc.co.za

NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY SEASON OPENER


South Africa’s top racing talent gathered in Jolivet, KwaZulu-Natal, for the start of the National Cross Country Championship last weekend. All eyes were on Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Brett Swanepoel, who lined up as the reigning 2020 champion in not only the prestigious OR1 Class, but overall.

In what the rider describes as one of the most memorable races of his career, he found himself in a bar-to-bar battle with the likes of Wade Young, Scott Bouverie and Bradley Cox.

He commented, “We had five really tough laps to get through and it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in a race! The track was world-class. It felt like a motocross event with the way we were overtaking each other constantly. I felt so strong on my FX 450, even through the tight forest trails, and managed to get right up front.”

After a slight change in suspension set up on lap three, Swanepoel set off with a blistering pace in an attempt to make up time on the final two laps. With a third place overall and second place in the OR1 Class, Swanepoel couldn’t be happier with the way the season started: “I charged really hard and managed to close the gap and make up the time I had lost. It was the best race I’ve ever had and the whole event was of an international standard,” he said.

Adding to the excitement around the Husqvarna camp was the debut of the team’s newest recruit – the talent-stacked Davin Cocker. Having come painfully close to snatching up the championship last season, a determined Cocker pulled out all the stops in his fight for the seemingly elusive OR3 title. “Starting with time trial, the bike was feeling great! The track was a bit slippery, but really well-marked. I had a clean run and came out second fastest in my class,” said Cocker.

While he admits to finding the main race challenging, Cocker fought tooth and nail to secure his place on the top step of his class. Elated with his debut victory, the rider commented, “It was the perfect debut race for the team. I made a few mistakes throughout the race as the track got tougher and more tiring but, in the end, I managed to pull it together and take the win in OR3 and 6th overall for the day!”

After an incredible season opener, Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham commented: “I am delighted with our start to what looks to be an exciting season of Cross Country racing! Brett really surprised me with his switch up to the FX 450 and showed incredible pace and as always fighting to the very end – a second in the OR1 class is simply incredible. As for our young gun, Davin, what pace he ran at the whole race. For his first official race at a National as part of our Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team he blitz the field in the most stacked OR3 field we have ever had – big congrats. Both riders were just over the moon with the Michelin tyre choice!”

Published by:  Fred Fensham

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