Lewis Hamilton admitted his dream as a child of one day making it into Formula 1 was ‘madness’. In a 2020 interview with Italian magazine Style, Hamilton said he was, however, lucky because his father pushed him not to give up.
These sentiments bring a smile to the face of Adrian Scholtz, CEO of Motorsport South Africa, because they currently have a rookie motorcycle rider under their wing with a very similar story – and hunger to succeed.
Scholtz says Kgopotso Mononyane ‘the second’ (affectionately known as KJ) is a 15-year-old from Mondeor – Johannesburg who eats, sleeps and breathes motorcycle racing.
His father is tragically no longer alive to spur him on and witness the incredible progress KJ is making in the sport, but his mother, Kgomotso, is steadfast at her son’s side to help him fulfil his dreams.
KJ’s dad, Kgopotso Mononyane, who was an anaesthetist, was killed in a helicopter crash in Kwazulu-Natal along with five of his Netcare 911 colleagues on January 21, 2021, en route to transport a critically-ill Covid-19 patient to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.
“KJ wanted to do motorcycle sport from the time he was five years old but his parents thought it was too dangerous. This didn’t stop KJ from expressing an interest in riding and having a dream to make a name for himself on the motorcycle racing circuit. Following his dad’s death, KJ has the full support of his mom in realising this dream,” Scholtz said.
“Motorsport SA couldn’t be prouder of what he has already achieved. This year, MSA secured funding assistance for KJ from the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, which is the global/sanctioning body of motorcycle racing. While this amount represented only a very small portion of the racing budget needed, it was greatly appreciated.” Scholtz says encouraging young riders with talent is a major drive for MSA. “We would love to see more of our young talent starting to compete internationally as well,” he says.
KJ, a Grade Nine learner at Waterstone College, recalls his first “break” came in 2017 (he was 10 years old) when Neil Harran from the South African Motorcycle Racing Academy visited his school’s open day.
“I was so excited to try out the demo stationary practice bike he had at the open day and everyone was very impressed with my test ride. Neil then recommended to my parents that I enrol into his academy. I was ecstatic as I knew this could be the start of great things to come,” KJ said.
And it was. KJ started participating competitively in the short circuit road racing series in 2017 (he was 10 years old) in the NSF100cc Honda Cup and won a championship in 2019.
In 2020, KJ claimed another title in the Clubman’s championship and finished second in the 150 cup – a category he went on to win the next year. He started competing in Italy in June 2021, in the middle of the racing season. To date, he has won multiple circuit motorcycle racing championships.
Scholtz said KJ believes he was ‘born to be a champion’ and is honouring his father’s memory with his commitment to motorcycle racing.
“There is nothing more satisfying and exciting than seeing a young rider cling to their dream, pursue it and, ultimately, live it. It is what champions are made of; resilience and passion to succeed. We are so proud of KJ and proud to be at his side as he goes from strength to strength.”
His mom says dedication and commitment are key to success in the sport but, above all, riders must be professional, self-disciplined and subscribe to the ‘rules of the game’.
“KJ is constantly training in South Africa and competing in short-circuit series races. In addition, he has followed self-tailored training offered by WMS Motorsport in Italy and is also managed by a Swiss sports management company that has worked with Paddock GP and MM Team (KJ’s racing team) as technical engineers,” Kgomotso says.
“His dad believed so much in his potential – so much so that he wanted to see KJ race overseas and signed a contract and submitted it to the team in Italy a day before he died. Signing this contract was the greatest achievement for him and he told me to always believe in our son.
“KJ will not disappoint his father. He views this sport as a career and said he’ll continue in it – even if he doesn’t get paid.”
KJ has the final word on his hopes and dreams.
“I want to work harder to further my motor racing career, with an ultimate goal to reach a level of Redbull MotoGP Rookies Cup in Europe.
“I would love to watch Fabio Quartararo in action one day and spend a day with him learning a few tricks. I am also inspired by our very own MotoGP icons, Brad and Darryn Binder,” he said.
PREPARED ON BEHALF OF MSA BY CATHY FINDLEY PR. MEDIA QUERIES CONTACT JACQUI MOLOI ON 071 764 8233 OR JACQUI@FINDLEYPR.CO.ZA
As the overnight leader in the Gold Class, defending champion Wade Young (Sherco Factory Racing powered by Motul), led from the off today to cross the line in first place and notch up his seventh Roof victory. This was no procession, however, as he was pushed hard the whole way by Mani Lettenbichler (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and for some part of the morning, Travis Teasdale (ASP Rope Mclarens Racing), who finished second and third respectively.
With heavy overnight rain once again necessitating a change of route due to swollen rivers, conditions on the whole were much better than the previous day, with riders able to adopt a more flowing style as the route dried out slightly in the sunshine.
In Wade’s own words, he went out ‘hot’ and tried to ride as smoothly as possible, maintaining his intensity and minimising mistakes so that the riders in pursuit would have to push hard, and take more chances on the unforgiving terrain. By halfway, just after Soldiers Way, he had pulled a 4:30 minute lead but Mani clawed some of that back to just over 2:24 minutes by the finish.
Mani was happy with his result, being only his 2nd Roof, and while he pushed hard in the morning to stay with Wade, he conceded that navigation was a challenge for European riders like him who are not used to the Roof’s race format of pure GPS routes with limited marking. ‘With so many bushes and so many different paths to choose from, reading the terrain around you becomes so important and I’ve definitely learnt a lot for next time.”
This year’s Roof of Africa podium featured not only the 7-time winner of the Mother of Hard Enduro, but the 2022 FIM Hard Enduro World Champion and 2022 SA Extreme Enduro Champion. With seven Roof wins under his belt, Wade is now just two wins away from equalling the all-time record held by Alfie Cox, whose last victory came in 2001.
“The Maloti Mountain weather presented us with some serious logistical challenges this year – even more so than usual,” commented Charan Moore, Roof Race Director and Founder of Live Lesotho. “We’re therefore especially proud that we were able to deliver another classic edition of the Roof, and that we could provide a rewarding challenge for everyone from the world’s top Enduro riders to the weekend warriors in the Iron Class,” he added.
Once again, it was the riders in the Silver Class who had the longest day in the saddle, and this is where perhaps the greatest upset happened. Overnight leader Austin Stuart (Orange County KTM) saw his 25-minute lead whittled away due to technical difficulties, leaving the way open for a trio of young Durban riders to occupy the podium.
Luke Walker (Motorex Alfie Cox KTM) and 16-year-old prodigy Thomas Scales (Ride KTM Durban) both passed Walker’s teammate Daniel Schröder, with Walker’s winning time being 9h32:27 across the three days of the Roof.
The battle for the Bronze Class honours was hard-fought to the end, with Tate Ströh ultimately emerging victorious on one of just four Yamahas in the finishing field of 200 bikes. His winning margin was just over 22 minutes from Stiaan Potgieter (KTM), and Stefan Tolmay (also KTM) in third.
Meanwhile, riders in the Iron Class completed the full route for Day 2 with the winner being Tom Classen (KTM) who led from start to finish. He was joined on the podium by Pieter Kritzinger in second and Jack Brotherton in third, both also on KTM bikes.
To see the full results of the 2022 Roof of Africa and a gallery of great Enduro racing images, visit the official website: https://roofofafrica.co.ls//
The 35th Fairest Cape Tour attracted a varied, and very interesting, field of rather rare and exclusive machinery. Centralized at Goudini Spa competing crews had to negotiate two days of scenic driving that included the iconic Franschhoek Pass and Bainskloof Pass. Two of the greatest driving routes in South Africa.
Gavin Walton proved that consistency counts by bringing his 1966 BMW R60-2 home first with a minute error of just 88.
Proving that men are better navigators that women Andrew Lewis and Catherine Lewis topped the car entries with a fine second overall position in their 1976 MGB Roadster on an error of 128. The third step of the podium, fortunately, also claimed by a car crew with Andrew and Annelie Murphy on 154 with their 1979 Mercedes Benz 450 SLC. Ronald and Pam Gush in fourth spot with the 1934 Austin 10 on an error of 159, a total they shared with fifth placed Bruce Stuart on the much more modern 1995 BMW Z1000GS.
The top six rounded off by the lovely 1937 Chevrolet Coupé of Harvey and Tess Metcalf on 160. Mike and Glenda Ward an interesting combination in seventh spot as they were aboard a 1985 Suzuki GS750 with an error of 171. Nick and Sandra Middelmann eighth overall in their strikingly beautiful 1963 Porsche 356 on 185.
Adrian Denness ninth aboard his 1954 BSA B33 (there just had to be something with the No 33) on 203 and the top ten completed by lady rider, Bev Jacobs, aboard her 1975 Honda Supersport.
There were beautiful motorcycles and and cars and some even changed identity from entry list to startline (Triumph Spitfire actually looks good as a Daimler) and as always a few did not make it to the start or finish.
Trevor and Sharon Binder needed little introduction aboard the 1942 Harley Sidecar and the parents of Brad and Darryn enjoyed every kilometer enroute to 27th place overall. Watching the 1948 MG TC of Brian and Carol Wallace going up Franschhoek Pass really made one appreciate the guts of those who dared going on events such as the Targa Florio.
Riding the older motorcycles and cars also add another perspective as the only similarities between the three pedals in a Model T and current cars is the fact that there are indeed three pedals! Motorcycles with gears on the wrong side, variable timing and some even with “live” lubrication makes one wonder how the rider finds the time to still navigate on a vibrating schedule (even if it is at 40km/h).
Oh yes, did we mention no speedo or rev counter either. Suspension, well, let us just say they did not believe it was of any value back then. Brakes, never heard of her either? But the dirty grin at the end said it all and the result was something that had to be printed, position not so important.
Do not believe that for a second – there were frail male ego’s at stake here!
Better believe it, they will all be back next year!
The notorious Roof of Africa is back in full force and star rider Brett Swanepoel will be flying the Husqvarna flag high in the Maluti Mountains.
An excited Swanepoel commented on the weather conditions, “Looks like it’s going to be another wet Roof, but the team and I are ready for whatever gets thrown our way. Feeling strong and ready for some tough racing ahead, bring on the week.”
Group manager Grant Frerichs said “This is the smallest team we have ever had at the Roof of Africa but it means there is 100 percent focus on Brett and all the teams attention can be on him to get the best result possible” He went on to say, “Brett has had a phenomenal year on a national level but really bad luck at all the international races he competed in. We are hoping the stars align this time around and he gets the result he deserves.”
We are excited to see how the 2022 Roof of Africa unfolds and wish Brett Swanepoel the best of luck.