The offroad racing season is officially open and the boys in orange made sure they came home with plenty of points for the Brother Leader Tread KTM team following round 1 of the National Cross Country Series. The event was held at the all too familiar Legends Adventure Farm just outside of Pretoria.
It was a big test for the team with three riders coming back from injury and they did not disappoint. Brad Cox who crashed out of the infamous Dakar Rally early this year made amends and walked off with a classy win in the OR1 class as well as securing 3rd overall. “I’m really happy to be back racing considering my start to the season and looking forward to building on this” Cox commented still caked in dust and sweat.
Teammate Scott Heygate also on the mend after a significant knee op said it was a demanding route “I took it one lap at a time and enjoyed being back on the bike” he added. Heygate has his sights set firmly on the rest of the season and expressed his gratitude to the team for supporting him throughout and is looking forward to rake in some solid results. Heygate eventually finished 2nd in the OR2 class bringing more points into the fold for the team.
Matthew Wilson, who had surgery to his shoulder in December, knew he was in for a long day. “I knew my fitness was going to be under fire here but I felt pretty happy with my pace, the third lap the fatigue was starting to become a factor so I pushed up until the fourth lap before calling it,” he said knowing the season is still long and won’t be won or lost in a single race.
Stalwart Kerim Fitz-Gerald has his sights set on the overall victory once more even though he is riding in a new class this season tackling the competitive senior class. “Overall has always been my goal” Fitz-Gerald exclaimed. Fitz-Gerald had a roller coaster of a day suffering a small crash but thankfully I didn’t damage anything on the bike or himself. “There were some moments out on the route, I love the twisty stuff so pushed hard there” he said and added that all in all he had a good day on the bike. “Taking the win in seniors is a good start but I look forward to the rest of the season to try bring home the overall win” he said.
Megan Prinsloo from KTM South Africa said the team is content with two 1st places and a 2nd for a flying start to the season laying an excellent foundation to only improve on as the season progresses.
Podiums all-round in opening Cross Country National
What Trademore SA National Cross Country Motorcycles Round 1 Report Where Legends Farm, Pretoria When Saturday 4 March 2023 Community South Africa National
Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda Racing came home from the season opening Trademore South African National Cross Country season opener at Legends Park with a bag full of trophies and top results on Saturday.
Michael Pentecost led the charge in fifth overall and second in open class OR1, with teammates Gareth Cole and Hayden Louw third and fourth in class, both also in the overall top ten. Wynand Delport and Warrick van Schalkwyk added two more silver medals in the Seniors and Masters classes, all of the teams four OR3 riders were in the 250cc top ten, and its junior riders starred too.
“Wow, that was a tough, hard race so I’m happy to have opened the season with a strong result and a good points haul,” Mike Pentecost explained. “My bike was not set up for this extremely tight and rough terrain, so I kept my cool and rode as fast as I could in the conditions. “My Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda was still tip top throughout, the pitstops were seamless and my team was on point all the way. “Now for Jolivet – bring it on!”
“The track was really rough and demanding and it never quite suited my style, so it was a long day in the saddle and I had to stay focused,” Gareth Cole reflected. “I had a slow start with two silly falls early on, so I had to play catch up. “Still, all things considered, I’m happy to salvage third in class and seventh overall. A good result for the team and for the championship. “I’m also happy to come away ready to race the next one! “
“That was a decent start!” Hayden Louw admitted. “My great team put a huge effort into this first race as always, but my time trial never went as planned. “I started 24th, so I had a lot of work to do. “I pushed where I could and paced myself on the harder bits and in the dust and got into a good rhythm. “I’m chuffed with ninth overall and fourth in class with a long year of racing still ahead of us.”
Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda racing also had a great day with two seconds in the elder classes “It was very rough and the Legends track was demanding,” Wynand Delport reported after a fine second in the Senior category. “My team did great and my equipment was better than par on a tough day. “I need to work on a few little things before we head out to Jolivet in KwaZulu Natal for the next national Cross Country race. “I love racing in KZN!”
Warrick van Schalkwyk doubled up with an epic and close second in Masters. “My shoulder spasmed last week and my chiropractor did what she could,” Warrick explained. “My bike was great, and I led early on, but I had to pick it out of a rut and manage the pain after that. “Then I felt better on the last lap and passed Pieter Holl but I collided with my teammate John Botha in the dust near the end. “I got up and rode home a surprised and sore second.”
Four Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda CRF 250 RF finished in the OR3 class top ten. Haydn Cole came home fifth, Tyron Beverley eighth, Noah Maartens ninth, and John Botha in tenth.
Haydn Cole was happy with a positive start to his season and some decent points in the bag. “That’s a top five finish in the very competitive OR3 class, so all good!” Haydn confirmed. “I struggled a bit early on but got to grips with a very demanding and rough track as the race progressed. “I’m also happy to come away in one piece after a few crashes on the day.”
Tyron Beverley fought back to eighth in OR3 after hitting a rock and breaking a few spokes on his machine’s front wheel early in the race. He was forced to return to the pits to change wheels. “My Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda had amazing pace and felt good, but a bit of bad luck cost me some positions,” Tyron explained. “No matter, there’s plenty racing left in this championship and I’m ready for the next one!”
“Legends went well despite me making a bit of a dodgy start,” Noah Maartens pointed out. “It went better as the race progressed and I was happy with my fitness, while my bike ran like a beast from start to finish. “I’m really keen for the rest of the season, so huge thanks to Uncle Harry Grobler and the Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda team for making it all possible
“My first National of the year turned out to be a super rough day,” John Botha admitted. “I struggled with my setup and I really can’t say much about it, but that’s racing, so onwards and upwards! “Big thanks to my Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda team, Uncle Harry, and my family for all the support. “I will be be back and ready at the next one!”
It was also a good day for Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Racing in the junior classes as Murray Smith took National 85 cc honours with Jaden Els sixth and Liam Scheepers seventh, while Johandre Vermaak came home 13th in the hugely competitive 125cc high school class.
“All in all, that was a rough, tough and difficult season opener,” Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda Racing team boss Harry Grobler wrapped it up. “We scored three second places, a pile more podium positions and top ten finishes and our juniors also scored well. “That’s a great start to our national racing year and well done one and all, it’s just going to get better and better from here!”
*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
Wian Wentzel wins 250cc OR3, Pieter Holl Masters in National Opener
What Trademore SA National Cross Country Motorcycle Round 1 Report Where Legends Farm, Pretoria When Saturday 4 March 2023 Community South Africa National
Pepson Plastics Scottish Cables Motul Factory Kawasaki Racing enjoyed a winning start to its 2023 Trademore South African Cross Country Racing campaign. Wian Wentzel took a the 250cc OR3 victory on his class debut, while teammate Pieter Holl won the Masters’ class.
The team also starred across the board, as Cross Country debutant Ryan Angilley was an impressive fourth in OR3, Jaycee Nienaber a strong fifth in OR1 and Brian Bontekoning seventh in Masters after a promising start. In the Junior classes, Nathan Sinclair was seventh in 85 IPC, while Jake Pretorius had few issues but still almost cracked a National 85 top ten.
2022 SA 125 High School champion Wian Wentzel took a four minute debut 250cc OR3 victory in a splendid sixth overall aboard his little Pepson Plastics Scottish Cables Motul Factory Kawasaki KX 250 X. “What a day!” Wian beamed. “It started with a good qualifying result and I felt comfortable from the get-go.
“The track was very demanding and consisted of various terrains, but I kept it smooth and consistent throughout the day. “My Pepson Plastics Kawasaki handled perfectly and I am very happy to walk away with the win and sixth overall! “Huge thanks to the whole team for the slick pitstops and all the support. “Now let’s keep the momentum rolling!”
“My nerves at the start of a National are difficult to describe, but it was especially exciting to be starting my first National in almost 2 years,” Pieter reflected. “That’s what makes the Nationals different! “So great thanks to Iain and the Pepson Plastics Kawasaki crew for all his experience, and a team that keeps calm and collected, no matter the outcome.
“All in all, it was a great day out racing. “Riding a Japanese bike is always exciting and I also truly appreciate all my rivals, Wian and the GXCC team who made sure everything ran smoothly, and tough, just the way we like It. “It’s also great to see our sport growing in numbers, so let’s hope that we see even more sponsors and teams join in on the fun.”
Former five-time SA motocross champion Ryan Angilley made an impressive Cross Country debut on his Pepson Plastics Kawasaki in fourth in OR3. “This was my first ever cross country race, so I was still really unprepared. “It took a little time to understand how to read the track markings in the time trial, which led to mistakes and over shooting turns, so I ended up 26th!
“I started to get the hang of it by lap 3 and felt strong in the rocks. “That was strange, as I’d never ridden rocks before! “So I pushed there but had a crash which gashed my elbow. “It was sore, so I just rode for the finish and ended fourth in class and 11th overall.” I am really enjoying Cross Country racing and I will definitely be back for more and fighting for wins!”
“The opening Legends Cross Country round was a bit of a mixed bag for us,” Pepson Plastics Kawasaki team principal Iain Pepper concluded. “The guys showed incredible speed and determination, Wian won OR3 and Pieter took the Masters’ victory. “Ryan ended a brilliant fourth in OR3 on his Cross Country debut and Jaycee delivered a strong top-five in OR1.
“Brian was seventh in Masters’, Nathan seventh in the 85cc IPC class after running in second and Jake Pretorius had few issues but still almost cracked a top ten finish. “It’s a pity our High School rider Jayden Boyce retired and we wish our OR1 man Taki Bogiages a quick recovery after his tumble after a great fifth in the time trial.
“We are more than proud of our strong start and Pepson Plastics Scottish Cables Motul Factory Kawasaki Racing is already looking forward to the next race at Jolivet in KZN on 15 April. “Bring it on!”
*Pepson Plastics Scottish Cables Motul Kawasaki Factory Racing salutes Gilberts Mining & Engineering, the Reinhardt Transport Group, Michelin, Arai, Bikewise , Acerbis and Renthal handlebars for their support
What SA Cross Country Motorcycle Championship ROund 1 Report Where Legends Farm, Pretoria When Saturday 4 March 2023 Community South Africa National
Davin opens SA Cross Country Motorcycle season on top
Factory Husqvarna OR2 rider Davin Cocker made the 2023 Trademore South African Cross Country Championship season opener his own at Legends Park outside Pretoria on Saturday. Cocker took an early lead and managed it throughout, to take the day from KTM trio Kerim Seniors winner Fitz-Gerald in second, OR1 winner Bradley Cox and second in OR2, Scott Heygate.
Michael Pentecost came home fourth overall on his OR1 Franchise Co Honda, ahead of OR3 winner Wian Wentzel’s Pepson Plastics Kawasaki, Honda trio, OR1 man Gareth Cole, Erik Merry’s OR3 machine and OR1 rider Hayden Louw, and Ryan Pelser’s Factory OR3 Husqvarna.
Cox may have taken the time trial from Pentecost, but Cocker led the main race from the outset. Davin set the quickest opening lap by a minute, from where he consolidated his advantage on every lap of the five. The real race was behind. Fitz-Gerald fought Cox off for second, while Heygate and Pentecost battled for fourth. Wentzel meanwhile held a watching brief as he kept Cole at bay in sixth.
Davin Cocker’s Husqvarna was close to nine minutes clear of second OR2 rider, Scott Heygate’s Brother Leader Tread KTM. Ride KTM Durban man Kyle Eggar was third in the 350cc 4-stroke class from KTM trio, lady racer Leah Heygate, who delivered an impressive ride ahead of Matthew Snyman’s 2-stroke 250.
Another Brother Leader Tread KTM lad, Bradley Cox took the open class 450 cc OR1 by almost four minutes from Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda trio Michael Pentecost, Gareth Cole, and Hayden Louw in chase. Kawasaki lad Jaycee Nienaber and Ian Rall’s Honda were next home in the big bore class.
Wian Wentzel took a four minute debut 250cc OR3 victory for Pepson Plastics Scottish Cables Motul Factory Kawasaki. He beat Erik Merry’s Bikers Warehouse Honda and Ryan Pelser’s Factory Husqvarna Motocrosser Ryan Angilley made an impressive Cross Country debut for Kawasaki in fourth from Haydn Cole’s Honda, Branden Swanepoel’s Sherco, Ross Ramseyer’s KTM and Honda trio, Tyron Beverley, Noah Maartens, and John Botha.
Second overall, newly graduated Kerim Fitz-Gerald’s Brother Leader Tread KTM 350 took an utterly dominant 41 minute Seniors win from Wynand Delport on a Franchise Honda 450 and Louwrens Mahoney’s KTM 450. Rob Mulholland’s KTM 450 ended fourth from Club class duo Jandre Bosch on a Husqvarna 250 and KTM 300 man Kobus Jonck.
Pieter Holl’s Pepson Kawasaki KX 450 X took a two and a half minute Masters’ win from Warrick van Schalkwyk’s Franchise Honda 450 and Mielies le Roux’s KTM 450. Wayne Farmer was next on his KTM 300, from Anthonie van der Walt on a Sherco 300 and Francois Swanepoel riding his Husqvarna 500.
Luke Walker took a dominant four and a half minute Highschool win on his ASP Alfie Cox KTM from Ride KTM Durban lad Thomas Scales and Daniel Peckham’s Trademore Sherco. Rory Donaldson’s KTM was fourth in this highly competitive 125cc class, from Brandon Clarke and Blake Young’s KTMs, Yamaha lad Derek Karam, and KTM trio Nathan Westerdale, Andrew de Kock and Alecz Grobbelaar.
It was a good day for Husqvarna in the junior classes. Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft lad Murray Smith took National 85 cc honours ahead of Franco Fourie’s Roost KTM, Corbin Muller’s 444 Husqvarna. Mackenzie Bam and Drikus Van’s KTMs were fourth and fifth from Husqvarna kid Werner Kleinhans.
Willem Botha took his Megs Waterberg Husqvarna to IPC 85 cc honours from Hanju de Kock riding a similar Biker’s Warehouse machine and Behn van Schalkwyk’s Kawasaki. They were followed by KTM trio Katelyn Pretorius, Alexander Dillman and Gabriella Fotheringham.
GJ Coetzee and John-Luke van der Westhuizen made it another Husqvarna 1-2 in National 65 cc from Matthew Meyer‘s GasGas. Joshua Fotheringham’s KTM was next from Wilco Du Plooy’s Yamaha, and Cambeul du Preez’s KTM. And Dylan Bezuidenhout led Query Degenaar to a Kawasaki 1-2 in Junior Club from Ruben Rooza’s Husqvarna, Travis Levey’s Honda and Eben Scholtz on a GasGas.
The 2023 Trademore South African Cross Country Championship heads to Jolivet in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands for its second round on Saturday 15 April.
As the days grew few before the drop of the gates of the famous Motorsport South Africa Motocross Nationals at Phakisa, preparations were underway among riders for what lay ahead. Was this to be the “mudder” of all races, a tough race or just a walk in the park as weather predictions were looming?