Cox Sets Sights on Double National Victory
Brother Leader Tread KTM bounced back into action in Bathurst, KwaZulu-Natal, last weekend as the National Enduro Championship resumed. Expectations for the event were high as the series presented an all-new race venue in the Winterberg terrain. Rated as one of the best Enduro events of all time, the carefully cut virgin trails certainly did not disappoint.
Taking centre stage was multi-disciplined star Bradley Cox, who returned to racing with a victory in the E1 Class. Cox patiently paced himself behind championship rival Heinrich Aust as he waited for the right moment to make his move.
When the opportunity presented itself after a few laps in, the rider slipped into the lead and didn’t look back. As he sets his sights on taking the E1 Championship, Cox is relieved to have extended his points lead before the season finale: “I’m so happy to extend my points lead. I had some bad luck in the first two laps, but I managed to get back out there and make up for the lost time,” said Cox.
With a goal to narrow the gap that the leaders had on her, Brother Leader Tread KTM teammate Kirsten Landman achieved exactly what she’d set out to do. The enduro queen has spent the past year reconditioning her body after an injury. She explained, “My coach often says that if I train hard then I’ll race easy – that’s exactly how I felt this weekend. My goal as a female in this sport is to narrow the gap. Since 2011, this was the first time that the overall leaders didn’t lap me. I’m so proud of the time I made up in comparison to previous races.”
Highly impressed by the Bathurst route, she added, “Honestly, this was the best enduro track I’ve ridden in a long time! It was well-marked, tight, and twisty – it even had some epic technical river sections.”
Rounding out the orange squad was Charan Moore, who like Landman enjoyed every moment he got to race on the Bathurst route. The rider went into the event with the aim to increase his intensity. Pleased with his performance, he commented: “The track couldn’t have gotten any better. The rain beforehand made the conditions perfect! I struggled to find my rhythm initially, but I picked up the pace with every passing lap. I’m happy with the performance and ready to keep building on that intensity for the next one.”
With little time for rest, the team will now focus on preparing for the next round of the National Cross Country Championship. The high-anticipated event takes place in Matatiele, KwaZulu-Natal, on Saturday.
As he attempts to snatch up yet another national title this season, Cox will line up with a target on his back. Not only is he tied for points with Ian Rall in the OR2 Class but is also tied for points overall with Brett Swanepoel.
With a goal to finish the 2022 Dakar Rally, Cox has spent more time in the saddle than ever lately working on his endurance and speed. He commented, “I’m super excited to get back to Cross Country racing. With all the Dakar preparation I’ve been doing, I’m feeling really confident with my speed and riding in general.”
Eager to represent the team again this weekend, Moore has spent the week testing and fine tuning his orange machine. The rider will be well-prepared for the terrain in store having had endless access to similar terrain in his hometown in Ladybrand.
Another Brother Leader Tread KTM rider to look out for this weekend is Jarryd Coetzee. This will be completely new territory for the rider who has never raced in Matat before. Undaunted by the unknown, Coetzee said “The main thing I focus on, even if I’m not entirely sure about the kind of terrain I’ll race in, is feeling comfortable on my bike. I spend countless hours riding and fine-tuning so that by the time race day comes I know everything I need to about my bike and feel completely confident on it.”
Having shaken up his training recently, he added: “I’ve changed up my preparation slightly. I’ve been spending a lot more time on the bike to refine my riding skills and fitness instead of placing too much focus on cross training. When I do train off the bike, I do a lot of stability and balance training – stuff that I know will help me when I’m on the bike.”
Despite being excluded from the previous event due to a route issue, Coetzee is confident that he has the pace to run with the sharp end of the field and is eager to make up some points. The rider mentions making the time trial his top priority this time around with the hope of putting himself in the best possible starting position for the race.
“I’m really looking forward to being out there again – I always perform my best when I’m truly enjoying this sport,” said Coetzee.
Published by: Louwrens Mahoney – KTM Motorcycles
Photography by: Sage Lee Voges