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ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA READY TO TAP INTO NEW GEARS

Image from 2021 MX National | Round 1 | Captured by Sage Lee Voges for http://www.zcmc.co.za

NATIONAL MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP – BORC

The wait is over…

The penultimate round of the National Motocross Championship is set to take place in Bloemfontein this weekend, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna are getting ready to tap into new gears. With two championship titles still within the team’s reach, the fight for points will be fiercer than ever.

The highly anticipated event will be hosted by BORC, a track that offers high speeds and big jumps that are bound to get every rider’s adrenaline pumping. Fresh off an international racing experience is leading rider David Goosen. Having recently competed in the Motocross of Nations, one of the world’s most prestigious motocross events, Goosen has gained invaluable experience. While the rider was unfortunately kept from progressing to the main event due to an inconclusive Covid result, he rates the event as one his top racing experiences.

He commented, “MXON must have been the best experience I’ve ever had. The highs and the lows created an unforgettable journey for me and gave me invaluable experience. I’m so excited get back behind the gates this weekend and more motivated to race than ever,” said Goosen.

Goosen will have his work cut out for him this weekend as he attempts to close the gap that championship rival Tristan Purdon has opened up in both MX1 and MX2. As he taps into a wealth of racing experience both locally and internationally, the rider is well-aware that the fight for national titles is far from over.

Also entering a bar-to-bar battle for championship points this weekend is Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Neil van der Vyver. After his fair share of setbacks this season, the rider has managed to narrow the gap on leading rider Trey Cox to a mere seven points.

“The Bloemfontein track is one of my favourites! It’s very similar to my home track in Cape Town, so I’ve been spending a lot of time training there to make sure I’m fully prepared,” said Van der Vyver.

When asked about his goals for the weekend, Van der Vyver’s answer is simple – to win every heat he competes in on Saturday. To have the best shot at winning the Pro Mini Championship this season, Van der Vyver is determined to go 1-1 in both heats to make up the points he needs.

With his track record of winning consecutive motos, if anyone can snatch a double heat victory this weekend then it is surely the rising star. As his team prepares for one of the most nail-biting events of the season, Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham commented: “Racing is one of the all-time levellers and this season our team has had it fair share of ups and downs. However, our riders and crews have for not one moment come off the gas. Both David and Neil have given the season everything they have had in the tank and will without doubt do the same this weekend. Bloem is certainly my favourite track and we have had many great results there, so we are on our way back for another highly competitive day.”

Published by: Fred Fensham

Picture Caption: Star rider David Goosen at the opening round of the championship.

RED BULL KTM EDGES CLOSER TO NATIONAL GLORY

National Motocross Championship – BORC

The penultimate round of the National Cross Motocross Championship will take riders to BORC, a Bloemfontein track renowned for its red sand, high speed and epic jumps. As the end of the season draws near, it’s full steam ahead for Red Bull KTM as they edge closer to claiming the four championship titles within their reach.
 
Taking centre stage is Tristan Purdon, who lines up with the points lead in both the MX1 and MX2 Class. The rider recently returned to South Africa after a trip to Europe to compete in the world’s pinnacle motocross race – the Motocross of Nations.
 
“It’s always an incredible experience to line up with the world’s best and identify places where we fall short. I learnt so much from the experience about what it takes to compete at that level and I’m excited to implement that in my racing locally. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been working on my starts especially,” said Purdon.
 
With a 21-point lead in the MX1 Class and 16-point lead in the MX2 Class, the rider is painstakingly close to snatching both national titles. Purdon is by no means complacent, however, and is more determined than ever as he braces himself for the final two rounds.
 
“Now is not the time to get comfortable. We’re in for a fast track this weekend that isn’t as hardpack as the last round, so I need to be ready for anything. The goal is obviously to win all my heats and extend my points lead going into the final round. If things don’t go according to plan though, I need to minimize the damage and make sure I don’t lose too many points,” added Purdon.
 
Also ready to battle it out for the MX2 Championship is Purdon’s Red Bull KTM teammate, Cameron Durow. The youngster has had an impressive debut season with the orange team and has experienced multiple wins in the highly competitive class. With only 16 points separating him from the top step, Durow will line up on Saturday with more determination than ever.
 
“I’ve done two races in Bloemfontein recently and won both, so I’m feeling really good going into this round. I’ve always really liked racing in Bloem and I’ve done quite well there in the past. The way the track flows suits my style of racing,” said Durow.
 
Durow also mentions making small steps of improvement both on and off the bike in the last few weeks of training. “With the championship coming right down to the wire, every small improvement will make a difference. I’ve been happy to make some improvements recently, both physically and on my bike,” he explained.  
 
Taking his place behind the gates with a significant points lead is Highschool Class hero Jonathan Mlimi. The rider has gone from strength to strength this season and with two rounds to go has established a lead of more than 30-points on his competitors.
 
Mlimi is feeling as confident as ever after a good week of training and like Durow, really enjoys the Bloemfontein track. “The big jumps are obviously something that excites me, but the track is also really wide and has some nice ruts,” said Mlimi.
 
The rider’s goal has been the same since the start of the season – to win both his heats and make sure he gets good starts. He mentions working on his consistency over the last few weeks to make sure he hits every mark and minimize any mistakes.
 
Rounding out the team with yet another red plate is rising star Trey Cox. Consistency has been his secret to success this season in his fight for the Pro Mini title. Cox has built up a seven point buffer between himself and championship rival Neil van der Vyver.
 
While the gap gives Cox some breathing space, the fight for the championship is far from over. Cox only narrowly missed a win in the last round after a small crash that set him back, and will surely come back swinging as he looks to get back on the top step on Saturday.

Published by:  Louwrens Mahoney

COCKER CROWNED OR3 CHAMPION

NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY SEASON FINALE


The National Cross Championship has ended in victory for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna. Rising talent Davin Cocker, who was recruited by the team at the start of the year, stormed to the OR3 Championship title on Saturday. Also finishing the season with a stellar performance was leading rider Brett Swanepoel, who placed second overall in the prestigious OR1 Class.

The season finale took riders to Virginia Trails, a venue in KwaZulu-Natal with classic cross country terrain. After a solid time trial performance, Cocker lined up near the front of the pack for the main race. He set off with a blistering pace to take the class lead early into the race and held his composure until he crossed the finish line.

Having snatched up the first national title of his promising career, an elated Cocker commented: “This is the first national title I’ve ever won. It really has been the best season I’ve had in my career so far, but it certainly hasn’t been smooth sailing. After some bad luck that cost me a lot of points, I had to fight hard to get back to the top. Having worked so hard for this title, it’s made the win even more rewarding.”

After an unforgettable debut season with the Husqvarna team, he added: “Racing for Husky this year has been a dream come true and it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone putting so much effort into supporting me. It will be very interesting to see what next season has in store and I can’t wait to get stuck into it!”

While a podium finish is something Swanepoel is proud of, it’s no secret that second place wasn’t what he had been hoping for. After a slower time trail than expected, the rider had his work cut out for him as he chased down rival Michael Pentecost in the main race.

“I found it difficult to take risks in the long grass in the first lap and lost about a minute. By the second lap I found a good rhythm and started to make up some time. I put in so much effort but unfortunately had a crash in the last lap and couldn’t narrow the gap. It’s a really tough pill to swallow because I never imagined myself walking away from this event without the championship.”

After the first two rounds of the season, Swanepoel had established a healthy 14-point lead. A bout of bad luck set Swanepoel back, however, and left him fighting to catch up for the rest of the season. As he shakes off the disappointment, he will jump onto his TE 300i and focus on extreme Enduro riding for the rest of the season.

“I have so much to look forward to this year still. There’s the National Extreme season finale coming up, where I have a good chance of winning the championship. Soon after that is the Roof of Africa. – I’m excited to see what I can do there and look forward to ending this year on a high note,” said Swanepoel.

Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham gives a parting shot as the season draws to a close: “What a roller coaster ride this Cross Country season has been. As always, some hard lessons were learned that will certainly be taken into account going forward. My thanks goes to our riders and crew, who together fought back and gave me 100% at all times. Brett carried the number one plate with pride and was a star throughout the season, just missing out on the OR1 title. We do, however, know he will fight even harder in 2022. As for our young gun Davin – we were all excited about this young athlete at the team announcement back in January and look at him now – the OR3 Champion and winner of his first South African title! I feel it’s the start of an amazing career and there is so much more to come. We certainly look forward to 2022, so watch this space!”

Published by: Fred Fensham

Photography by: Sage Lee Voges