This weekend marked the moment that Brett Swanepoel had been waiting for. In an unforgettable season finale, the Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing star reinstated himself as the country’s leading Cross Country racer.
Having spent the past two years relentlessly working his way back from a near career ending injury, the victory comes especially sweet for Swanepoel. After fighting tooth and nail for the top step this season, the OR2 championship came right down to the wire. In what was a nerve-wracking season finale, Swanepoel lined up tied for the points lead with championship rival Jarryd Coetzee. Swanepoel put on the performance of his career to storm to not only the OR2 title, but the National Cross Country Championship overall.
“It is always an unbelievable feeling to win a National Championship. It has taken a lot to get back to this point and I can’t thank my team and the people around me enough for continuing to believe in me throughout this process,” said Swanepoel.
Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham commented, “How incredibly exciting is this! As a team we have gone through so much but continued to put our full support behind Brett, and what he has done in return is absolutely amazing. This double header was tough in every way – from the heat to the long, demanding loops and the opposition that pushed him to the limit. However, Brett on his Husqvarna FX 350 was untouchable right from the time trial and showed every other rider a clean pair of heels. Man, he really deserves all the accolades!”
It was a bitter-sweet weekend for Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing who were dealt a heavy blow in the first round of the double-header. Star rider Kenny Gilbert, who had been leading the OR1 class at the time, suffered from an injury after an unfortunate crash that forced him to retire from the event.
“Bittersweet is an understatement for how we feel. The unfortunate tumble that Kenny took effectively ended his title challenge once again – this OR1 Championship was there for Kenny and with 5kms to go it again disappeared. Having become a close friend to us all, we are gutted for Kenny and his wonderful family,” said Fensham.
A silver lining is seen for Husqvarna in young gun Davin Cocker. The team decided to assist with his efforts this year and were blown away by his performance. Fensham enthused: “Wow, did he show us that not only is he a humble young man, but that he has serious talent and speed beyond his years. He put up quite a fight in the hotly contested OR3 Class where he finished second overall.”
“As a team we would like to thank PEPSON PLASTICS for their incredible support as our title sponsor over the last years as well as our partners at Michelin, Motorex and Twin Air. With the season wrapped up I can only say that for 2021 – watch this space!”
Published by: Fred Fensham – Husqvarna Motorcycles
What SA National Motocross Final Round 4 & 5 Preview
Where Bloemfontein, Free State
When 24-25 October 2020
Community South Africa National
Motocross titles to be settled in the Free State
The 2020 Cannabis Energy South African National Motocross Championship comes to a head with another double header round 4 and 5 in Bloemfontein on Saturday and Sunday, 24 and 25 October. With most classes looking to go right down to the wire, it promises to be a stunning weekend of spectacular motocross racing.
Hopefully this year will not require a motorsport court to decide who is champion, should an act of God intervene with proceedings.
That’s exactly what happened last year, when a Highveld thunderstorm and wild lightning caused the final MX1 race to be red flagged. There was concern as to who, exactly was leading when the race was stopped as it had changed after the dice had passed the finish line on the last lap. So it was up to an MSA court to decide and Maddy Malan was only crowned the 2019 MX1 champion after the 2020 season had commenced.
So, with Bloemfontein just as prone to unpredictable Highveld high spring weather, organisers will be hoping for bright sunshine throughout the weekend! And to make it even more dramatic, Malan’s big rival in that lightning-struck 2019 decision, KTM rider Tristan Purdon leads this year’s premier open class MX1 title charge to the Free State. By a solitary point from Yamaha man David Goosen!
They have a small advantage over reigning champion Malan and Lloyd Vercueil on a Yamaha, with Cameron Durow on a KTM and Yamaha men Jesse Wright and Anthony Reynard all within 25 points in the championship table. So with 100 points on offer over four motos through the weekend in Bloemfontein, it’s definitely all to play for.
It’s a similar state of affairs in 250cc MX2, where Yamaha rider David Goosen has a handy 18-point advantage over the similar machine of Slade Smith. KTM duo Kerim Fitz-Gerald and Tristan Purdon are tied on points in third and Cameron Durow and newly crowned SA OR3 Cross Country champion Bradley Cox’s KTMs and Yamaha rider Anthony Reynard are all well within mathematical striking distance too.
Over-40 men Ian Topliss’ Yamaha and KTM riders, Brett Bircher and over-30 leader Wyatt Avis are all in with a shout of the MX3 title, but Topliss will be the man to beat. And while Kayla Raaff and her Kawasaki appear to be in a relatively close 23-point title lead, she is yet to be beaten this year. Rest assured that Natasha Rugani on her KTM and Husqvarna sisters Jadene and Chayenne de Lima will give it their best shot.
Jonathan Mlimi’ has enjoyed a four-moto clean sweep of 125cc High School wins aboard his KTM and arrives in Bloem with a handy title advantage. It’s close behind him though with Yamaha rider Christian Celliers, Miguel de Waal’s KTM, Yamaha lad Ethan Hoffman and Mark-Anthony Filip’s KTM among many others poised to pounce and ample points on hand to make a shock outcome work.
Bryce Petersen leads the under-15 85cc title chase by a handy 20 points on his KTM. But that’s not yet enough to be safe against the likes of Husqvarna duo Lucas Venter and Wian du Plooy and KTM gang Kyle Townshend, Tyler Tarantino, Seth Young, Thor Johnsob, Tristan Durow and wildcard Kayde van Deventer.
The odds are on Husqvarna kid Liam Botha remaining unbeaten in the under-13 85cc Junior races. Ryan Adler on another Husqvarna and KTM kids Pieter Brink, Timo Maximo Toepfler, Nathan Verster and Tyler Petersen will however do their best to stop him.
Champion Neil van der Vyver will be hoping to continue his dominant form of the last double-header round on his Husqvarna in the under-11 65cc class. He has little option but to, with Jordan van Wyk breathing down his neck on another Husqvarna, KTM kid Trey Cox and Jack Pullen’s Husqvarna all within 20 points and 100 more on the table. That keeps Aiden Henley’s Yamaha and Blade Tilley’s KTM and others in the hunt too.
Last but not least, Trenton Kretzman will be out to continue his formidable recent form aboard his Husqvarna in the baby 50s. He will have to keep it clean though, for the likes of Chase Bekker on another Husqvarna and KTM kids Evan Frost, Brody Bircher and Maxwell Fourie and Rayden Woolls on a Husqvarna ready to pounce.
Perhaps most intriguing of all, is the state of affairs in the MSA National Motocross Manufacturers Championship. Yamaha holds the slenderest of leads over KTM, with Husqvarna holding a watching brief. That and the rest of the title battles will all be resolved in Bloemfontein, where the racing will go on behind closed doors as motorsport continues to adhere to lockdown protocols.
The 2020 SA South African National Motocross Championship is proudly presented and sanctioned by Motorsport South Africa in partnership with Cannabis Energy, TRP Distributors, Prepsol, Bridgestone, Thor, Gaerne, FMF, Pro Taper, 100%, Fly Racing, Ogio, Racestar Graffix and the Sunoco Race Shop.
Issued on behalf of SA Motocross