What Trademore Feeds SA Cross Country Final Report
Where Bloemfontein, Free State
When Saturday 9 September 2023
Community South Africa National
Honda ends national Cross Country on a championship high
Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda Wing Racing in essence came, saw, and conquered at Saturday’s Bloemfontein Trademore South African Cross Country Motorcycle Championship finale. Not only did Team Red win four classes in the Free State, but it also took a championship and several title podiums, while Honda ended a close second in the coveted 2023 SA Cross Country Manufacturers championship.
“Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda Wing Racing is delighted with an exceptional 2023 National Cross Country Championship result,” team boss Harry Grobler explains. “Not only did Mike Pentecost win Bloemfontein’s finale overall, but Louwrens Mahoney dominated Seniors and Kobus Jonck won the Masters class, while Murray Smith made it a 100% season by winning every 85cc junior race en route to that championship title. Mike, Louwrens and Kobus ended up runners up in class too, and Honda also ended second in the Makers championship.”
Mike Pentecost ultimately emerged the dominant overall winner of a dramatic Bloemfontein race. “What a day!” Mike enthused. “My Franchise Co. Tork Craft team was flawless, my Honda CRF 450 RX never skipped a beat and I was on rails all day to take a fine victory to wrap up my National season. Pity we only just missed out on both the overall and OR1 class championships, but that’s racing! Thanks to my great team for all the effort and most of all, I salute my boss Harry Grobler and the entire Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda team for a job brilliantly done!”
Louwrens Mahoney was in likewise dominant Seniors form to win the Masters class aboard his Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda. “That was a great weekend,” Louwrens admitted. I have worked really hard since I made my racing comeback mid-season, and I’m delighted to now crown that with a first Masters class win for Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda Racing. Thanks to Harry for his belief in me and to the team for the huge effort as always. Man, it’s cool to be back on top!”
Kobus Jonck rode his Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda to his second Masters victory in as many races to wind up runner up in the Masters class. “That was a hard, dusty, and challenging race, but I’m delighted to close my Masters season with a double victory to reward my team for all the incredible effort they put in through the year. Thanks to Harry and the guys for all that, and to Honda Wing for my incredible Red Rocket. What a bike!”
The real team hero was however schoolboy racer Murray Smith, who scored a 100% clean sweep to dominate the 85cc Junior class for Franchise Co Tork Craft Racing. “Wow, what a season,” young Murray smiled. We had a golden National Cross County year and I am so proud to have won five races from five starts. I am grateful to be a part uncle Harry’s incredible team and I thank everyone who helped make this wonderful dream come true!”
The winners were not the only Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda riders to star at the Bloemfontein finale. John Botha enjoyed a strong national debut to bring his the big CRF 450 RX home eighth overall behind Senior teammate Mahoney, and fifth in open class OR1. “What a day, I had a so much fun and I’m really happy with my result. A big thank you to my team and Uncle Harry for all the support and an awesome year of racing!” OR1 teammates Gareth Cole and Hayden Louw came home seventh and eighth in class.
Wynand Delport thoroughly enjoyed his podium run to third in Seniors. “It was hot, it was dusty, it was fast but boy, was it fun!” Wynand grinned after the race. “I had a terrible time trial, but safely picked off riders one by one which made for a great ride. My Franchise Tork Craft Honda CRF 450 RX had zero issues, even when asked for every last ounce of power to haul down those long fast stretches. Thanks to Harry and the team for making sure we could compete at the sharp end of the field.”
Tyron Beverley brought his Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda home sixth in OR3. “The National Final series was a long day in the saddle after a tough time trial, but my Honda CRF 250 RX never skipped a beat all day and allowed me to push hard till the very end and a decent top six result.” Teammates Haydn Cole ended seventh in OR3 and Noah Maartens eleventh. Young Liam Scheepers meanwhile came home seventh in 85cc Juniors.
Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda is duly proud to come home a strong second in the 2023 SA Senior Manufacturer’s championship in the team’s maiden Cross Country racing season. “That wraps up an incredible first season of racing for our Honda team, “Harry Grobler concludes.
“We are proud of the stunning effort that every one of our Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda Wing Racing riders and crew put in throughout the Trademore MSA South African National Cross Country season. Especially at the Bloemfontein finals, where we won no less than four classes overall, while young Murray took his title among a whole lot of second places.
“Off a foundation like this we can only look to the future with great optimism and look forward to starting afresh in the new year. Well done to every last one of you, you have made us most proud!”
*Honda Racing salutes its partners, Tork Craft Tools, The Franchise Co, Sleepover Motels, CIT Accessories, Motul Oils, Mitas, Leatt Protectives, Pollisport, TNT Nutrition, Galfermoto brakes & Nitro Mousse
Issued on behalf of Honda Cross Country
Photography by: Action in Motion