The 2022 racing season can only be described as a challenge thus far for Husqvarna Racing. The season has largely been overshadowed by a forced change, notably with a season-ending injury to star MX rider, David Goosen. The adage that change is the only constant, sets the stage for what is set to be a major disruption for the remainder of the season.
This news comes as the team announced on Thursday 5 May that they included two South Africans, namely Josh Mlimi and Michael Docherty, in their rider line-up. Both riders have just returned to home soil after honing their skills on the international stage.
Michael Docherty, based out of Dubai, makes his return to SA racing in MX1 and retains his Rally relationship with SRG Motorsports, and has his sights firmly fixed on Dakar 2023. Docherty has been making a name for himself in the Rally 1 class and will prove to be an exciting prospect to watch for the upcoming Rally season, now having become the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons on the local Motorcross circuit.
Adding some more spice to the mix is that the team will include Docherty in the lineup for the upcoming Cross Country National in Vryburg alongside championship leader Brett Swanepoel!
Both of the riders will have their respective WP suspensions done for them by Justin of Shock Logic so set-up for them as they tackle the rest of the season will be on point!”
Docherty, visibly excited, said: “It’s such a great feeling to be a part of the Husqvarna Racing team, I’ve been a part of Husqvarna in Dubai for more or less two years, so I would say it’s kind of keeping it in the family. Being able to come here and still work with the same brand and group of people and machines makes it a lot easier, but still very exciting. Being part of the National Cross Country team will benefit my rally scene so much, it’s going to be good practice.”
He added that he started racing back in 2001 when he was only 6 years old, and only raced motocross before he moved to America and later Dubai. He commented, “The goal is to race the Andulicia Rally and hopefully in Morocco, building up towards the big picture – Dakar in 2023.”
Docherty’s Dubai team had the following to say, “SRG Motorsports have a great relationship with Michael and we wish him the best of luck for the racing in Bloemfontein next weekend. Thunder Valley was a learning curve for Michael and the team, and generally, it’s been a tough couple of years for the number 19, but since mid-2021 he’s shown us all why he’s considered a top-tier rider. His injury recovery, hard work, commitment, and racing achievements in the UAE over the past 12 months speak for themselves. Thank you very much Husqvarna South Africa for allowing him the opportunity.”
Josh Mlimi hardly needs an introduction and will be using the rest of the season to set himself up for the 2023 season. This puts him in a unique position where there is no undue pressure or immediate expectations, yet no limit to the opportunities on offer or potential for the next season. Mlimi will be lining up in MX2 on his new #411 FC 250.
Mlimi added, “Coming back from the US, I’m looking forward to bringing back some exciting ideas and concepts and showcasing my skills on a competitive level and everything I’ve learned in my time being abroad. Hopefully, I can try to step up the level of South African racing. The number 411 came from my Dad’s racing background, and once I left SA I knew I would leave the 259 open to my brother, Jonathan Mlimi. I thought why not let’s keep it in the family and chose my dad’s racing number.”
He added, “I’m very excited to be a part of the team and look forward to this new partnership with Husqvarna and to build with the brand. There’s nothing like SA motocross, so I’m very eager to be a part of it again. It’s going to be an exciting season.”
Fred Fensham, Brand Manager from Husqvarna Motorcycles South Africa, had the following to say, “What an exciting day with the signing of these two stars to the Husqvarna Racing squad, but it also comes with some unexpected bad news for the team – our young star and defending OR3 champ, Davin Cocker, will be off the #87 for at least the next six months – an old knee injury and new bucket handle meniscus tear has meant that surgery is now the only and correct long term option – one thing we know is Dav will be back and once again establish himself as a top racer in both Cross Country and Motocross – we’re missing that smile already and wish you a full and speedy recovery Champ!”
Published by: Grant Frerichs
Photography by: Sage Lee Voges for ZCMC Media