Pentecost, Gilbert take SA Cross Country titles for Kawasaki

What    Kawasaki Cross Country Round 6 Report
Where    Virginia Trails, KZN
When    Saturday 15 October 2022
Community    South Africa National

Kawasaki Racing came home double 2022 Trademore South African Cross Country Motorcycle Champions from the Virginia Trails season finale in KZN on Sunday. Mike Pentecost wrapped up back-to-back open class OR1 titles following his 2001 success, while Kenny Gilbert went unbeaten in the Senior class.

Pentecost needed just a point out of the Virginia Trials race to clinch his second open class OR1 title on the trot aboard his Franchise Co. Tork Craft Kawasaki KX 450 X. But bringing it home is just not Mike’s style! He went out and won the race by almost seven minutes: “I took the overall win and wrapped up the title at my favourite race, Virginia Trails, making me a two time OR1 champion,” a delighted Mike Pentecost confirmed.

“What a race! “My Franchise Co. Tork Craft team was flawless and my Kawasaki KX 450 X did not skip a beat. “It was absolutely on point and I was on rails all day long thanks to Roger Bergstrom and all his efforts in dialling in my bike’s suspension. “Most of all, I salute my team boss Harry Grobler and the whole Franchise Co. Tork Craft Kawasaki team for a job brilliantly done!”

Senior star Kenny Gilbert already clinched the 2022 Senior title at the previous round aboard his Pepson Plastics Scottish Cables Motul Kawasaki KX 450 X. Like Pentecost, that was the last thing to deter Kenny from completing a perfect season as he ultimately won every one of the six 2022 Trademore Cross Country Nationals across South Africa.

“I had so much fun racing my Pepson Plastics KX 450 X to the Senior title this year,” Kenny admitted. “The Trademore SA Cross Country guys delivered an incredible Championship and my team gave me a great bike every time. “Huge thanks to everyone involved for a brilliant season of racing!”

250cc OR3 class rider Taki Bogiages was also a happy man after delivering a championship podium third aboard his Pepson Plastics Scottish Cables Motul Kawasaki KX 250 X. “I am beyond stoked to finish third in the National championship,” Taki admitted.

“With over 6 hours of racing, Saturday really was tough especially early on. “I found some good pace as the race went on and fought back to finish fourth in OR3 to seal that title third. “All that’s left is a massive shoutout to Iain Pepper, the team and our partners for giving us the opportunity to go out and compete on the highest level in South African racing, thank you, one and all!”

Of the other team riders, Franchise Co. Tork Craft lad took Wian Wentzel the 125cc High School title with a measured ride to third on the day. Jaycee Nienaber rode his Pepson Plastics KX 450 X home sixth overall and fourth in OR1 to cement fifth in his class championship. And Tork Craft CIT Kawasaki rider John Botha ended fifth in OR3 to finish up fourth in the 250cc title chase.

In other Kawasaki Cross Country National news, Mathew Hills had his first ever Cross Country race, which proved a baptism of fire, making him a popular  finisher in the OR3 race. Seniors regular Marco Cocci meanwhile switched to a Kawasaki KX 450 X for the first time at Virginia Trails and rode home third in Seniors on the day and clinch second in the Senior National championship.

“Huge congratulations to Mike and Kenny for a brilliant job done in bringing two championships home, and to every one of Kawasaki’s riders, crew, sponsors, supporters and the rest who made it happen,” Tork Craft Kawasaki counterpart Harry Grobler wrapped it up.

“Kawasaki Racing celebrated our second year back with two national championships in 2022, compared to one in our first year in ’21,” Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing with Scottish Cables team chief Iain Pepper concluded. “I like that pattern – let’s double up again in ’23. “Thank you and well done to everyone. “2022 was a vintage year in green!”

Issued on behalf of Kawasaki Cross Country

Photography by:  Michaela Ramseyer

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