Successful Start to 2022 Cross Country Season for Brother Leader Tread KTM
Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Bradley Cox has opened the season with victory. In what was an unforgettable start to the 2022 National Cross Country Championship, the rider stormed to both the Overall and OR1 Class win at Legends MX on Saturday, 26 February.
As the reigning champion, it’s no secret that Cox lined-up for the event with a target on his back. Undaunted by the pressure, he set off with a blistering pace to win the time trial. He commented, “I definitely felt the pressure coming into the race. I know that I have a big target on my back being the defending champion. I also feel the pressure to live up to last year’s performance and be a good role model to the younger guys coming through the ranks. I didn’t let it get to me though, and felt relieved to kick the event off by winning the time trial.”
While he set off for the main race with a slower pace than he’d hoped, it wasn’t long before the rider found his groove and took the lead. “Once I managed to take the lead I didn’t look back. This was my first race on the KTM 450 XC-F and I couldn’t have asked for a better debut on the big bike. It was a tight, rocky track but with the 450 being so versatile, if you know how to ride it then you can make anything work.”
In the highly competitive OR2 Class, Brother Leader Tread KTM unleashed the flying Zambian, Scott Heygate. It was an impressive debut performance for the rising star who managed to finish second in his class and fourth overall – his best national finish in South Africa to date.
Heygate took the OR2 lead in the early stages of the race and inched his way to the front of the pack overall. After a costly mistake on the second lap, however, the rider found himself struggling to get his motorcycle out of a mud hole. He explained, “It took me a while to get out of that situation and I lost a lot of valuable time. Nevertheless, I put my head down and pushed from that point forward until I reached the finish line. I still managed to end the race with my best ever result in South Africa.”
Joining him in the OR2 Class was Red Bull KTM’s Kerim Fitz-Gerald. With years of experience to fall back on, the former South African Motocross champion started the day with his fastest time trial finish yet. Early into the main race, however, a fall on the rocky section of the track left him struggling to get back to the pits without a clutch.
“The day started off really well, but on the second lap I unfortunately had a fall and broke my clutch lever right off. I had around 24km’s to finish without it, which made things really difficult – especially going up some of the climbs. The team managed to fix that for me in the pits and also gave me some solid advice about giving the rest of the race my best shot. I went back out there with the right attitude and knew that whatever the result, I would open myself up to learning as much as I could from this race,” said Fitz-Gerald.
His determination and sense of grit was rewarded with a hard-earned third place finish in his class behind his teammate.
A cherry on top of what was a highly successful day of racing for the orange team was a victory from new recruit Matthew Wilson. The team added the young gun to their cross country roster in the OR3 Class this season.
After a solid time trail, the 17 year old capitalised on his position to push his way to the front of the pack. Despite facing some challenges on the rocky section of the track, the rider pulled off a debut OR3 Class victory and third place overall for the Brother Leader Tread KTM team onboard his KTM 250 XC-F.
“The track was actually more demanding than I thought it would be – it had a little bit of everything. I’m really happy to have gotten the experience and pulled off the win on my debut race for the team!” said Wilson.
Published by: Louwrens Mahoney
Photography by: ZCMC Media