Save the best for last – this is how Steven Odendaal and his team EAB Ten Kate Racing decided to go into the final round of the 2020 World Supersport campaign in Estoril, Portugal. After a promising start on Friday, finishing in fifth position only 3 tenths of a second behind the leader, it was clear that the final double header of the year was going to be action-packed.
Steven Odendaal: (Race 1: 5th, Race 2: 4th): “I had a good feeling on Friday already, we found a good set up and were really close to the front. I qualified in 9th position (3rd row) in Superpole, which is still something we need to work on but I knew we had a good race pace. I had a really good battle for a 4th position in race 1 on Saturday. We kept swapping positions with Viñales, Oncu and Gonzalez which allowed the Top3 to pull a small gap. I finished 5th and moved up to 5th overall in the championship standings ahead of the last race, which was our objective for the weekend. I did think, however, that we needed to find a bit of extra speed for Sunday to fight for the podium. We tried some changes in warm-up and the result was our strongest performance of the year in race 2. We were in the leading group from start to finish and only missed out on a podium by 0.1 seconds. I also finished only a second behind the race winner for the first time in my rookie season in World Supersport. Whilst we did not get onto the podium today despite being so close, it is definitely encouraging to be heading into the winter break after a strong performance and with a 5th position in the overall world championship standings. It also gave me some extra motivation to work hard during the off season to come back and continue this momentum. The objective is to fight for the championship next year and I will do everything I can to achieve this goal. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to the whole team, especially Ferry, Kervin, Kor, Arnold, Remon all my personal sponsors that have been supporting me even in such challenging times with the COVID-19 pandemic, my manager Jorge and my whole family. I am already looking forward to being back on the bike next season. We are yet to announce our plans for 2021 but I will keep everyone updated as soon as I can.”
Brad Binder was the top Red Bull KTM RC16 finisher after 23 challenging laps of the MotorLand Aragón circuit for the Gran Premio Michelin de Aragón. The South African classified 11th just ahead of his teammate Pol Espargaro. KTM celebrated podium presence in both the Moto3™ and Moto2™ categories.
A chilly autumn climate in Aragón greeted the tenth round of 2020 MotoGP. Cold winds and low temperatures forced the Grand Prix schedule to be moved later in the day and to suit the safe operating range of the Michelin tyres. The search for grip and consideration of tire wear were the two pressing issues for the Red Bull KTM contingent for the fourth outing on Spanish asphalt this season.
Pol Espargaro was joined by teammate Brad Binder and the Red Bull KTM Tech3 RC16s of Iker Lecuona and Miguel Oliveira as the quartet circulated on the fringes of the top ten for large stretches of the race. Espargaro was overtaken by Brad in the final phases and the South African won the chase to 11th by only three tenths of a second.
Brad Binder: “A challenging weekend in general. We had some good sessions but also some where it did not really work out for us. The whole team worked really hard and we tried different things but we couldn’t find the solution. Today I rode my best and tried my hardest from lap one until the end. It was easy to fold the front end today and we lacked some feeling there. It was hard to stay calm and not over-attack the corners. We’ve got the whole week to analyze and come back stronger next weekend.”
Husqvarna star Brett dominates home KZN double header
KZN local Brett Swanepoel delivered a stunning double victory to take the 2020 South African Cross Country Motorcycle Championship at the two-round Mid-Illovo finale over the weekend.
Pepson Plastics Husqvarna 250cc OR2 rider Swanepoel took overall victory on Saturday, before repeating the feat on Sunday. He came home a minute and a half clear of KZN compatriot Bradley Cox’s 200cc OR3 Brother Leader Tread KTM on Saturday. Another OR2 lad Davin Cocker was third on his Pepson Husqvarna.
Charan Moore took Moto1 honours on a Brother Leader Tread KTM and Matthew Wilson’s Husqvarna won the High School race. KTM men Wade Blaauw took Seniors and Wayne Farmer was the Masters winner. In Junior interprovincial action, Murray Lloyd won Saturday’s under-13 85cc race from Thomas Scales and Cobus Bester, while Murray Smith took the under-11 65cc win.
Sunday’s finale counted as a separate national championship round. Swanepoel upped the ante to take an even more convincing overall victory to wrap up the championship in imperious style. His OR2 rival Jarryd Coetzee came home second, over two minutes behind. OR3 winner Bradley Cox was third to wrap up that class title, ahead of open class OR1 winner Calvin Hume.
OR3 runner-up Cocker was next home from OR2 trio Ian Rall’s Fast KTM, Taki Bogiages on a Pepson Motul Husqvarna and and Gareth Cole. Charan Moore followed next, he was second in class to wrap up the OR1 title. Matthew Wilson once again took High School, as did Wade Blaauw Seniors and Wayne Farmer Masters honours. MCA Husqvarna lad Cobus Bester took the 85cc win from Thomas Scales and Guy Henderson, while Murray Smith took the 65cc double.
So Brett Swanepoel took the overall title from Jarryd Coetzee. Bradley Cox, Charan Moore and Davin Cocker. Swanepoel is OR2 champion, Cox took the OR3 title and Moore is the 2020 SA OR1 champion. Matthew Wilson took the High School title, while Wade Blaauw and Wayne Farmer are the respective 2020 SA Senior and Masters champions.
Brother Leader Tread KTM are preparing for the battle of the season. The National Cross Country season finale takes place as a double-header event in KwaZulu-Natal from 17-18 October. With two riders sharing the points lead in their respective classes and another rider defending the top step by just two points, this weekend promises to be one of the most action-packed races of the season.
Leading the charge in the OR1 Class is the team’s newest recruit Charan Moore. The rider will go head-to-head with championship rival Kenny Gilbert, who shares the top spot of the leaderboard with Moore. As he lines up on the cusp of Cross Country glory, Moore will leave no table unturned in the fight for his first OR1 national title with the orange team. Brother Leader Tread KTM teammate Jarryd Coetzee heads to Natal in a similar situation to Moore. The rider will need to get ahead of fellow competitor Brett Swanepoel, who enters the event with the same amount of points as Coetzee. Having snatched up the OR2 championship in the final race of the 2019 season, Coetzee will draw on his past experience to once again prove that he has what it takes to shine under pressure.
“There has been work, stress, sacrifices and obstacles to overcome – but every racer knows the road and has to walk it. I’m grateful for the opportunity to push my limits and can’t wait to see what we can pull off,” said Coetzee.
Rounding out the team is Bradley Cox, who currently leads the OR3 Championship. As the reigning 2019 champion, Cox has made it clear from the start of the season that he is prepared to fight to any end in defense of the red plate. After being frustratingly beaten to the line at the last round and with just two points separating him and class rival Davin Cocker, Cox is gearing up for the race of the season.
As the highly anticipated event draws near, KTM South Africa’s Marketing Manager Louwrens Mahoney commented: “Excitement is running extra high for the double header this weekend! I am fully confident in our riders and mechanics and all the team members – everyone is prepared and ready for anything! With it being two days of racing it is going to be really tough on everyone – saving the body and the bikes is going to be important for this double header! May the best men win!”
The highly anticipated National Cross Country season finale is about to unfold. The event takes place as a double-header round in Mid-Illovo, KwaZulu-Natal, from 17-18 October.
For Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing, the hunt for national titles has come right down to the wire. The team has two championships on the line with both Kenny Gilbert and Brett Swanepoel sharing the points lead in the OR1 and OR2 Class respectively. As former national champions, the riders will draw on years of experience to fight tooth and nail for the country’s highest level of Cross Country glory.
Gilbert will go head-to-head with OR1 championship rival Charan Moore. The Husqvarna rider has been relentless in his determination to reclaim the top step after a near career-ending injury in 2019. Fresh off a top 20 finish at the Andalucia Rally, Gilbert will line-up this weekend with a renewed sense of confidence.
Teammate Brett Swanepoel is bracing himself for a bar-to-bar battle with Jarryd Coetzee, who shares his points lead in the OR2 Class. Like Gilbert, Swanepoel is out for redemption as he looks to claim his first national title since his return from injury last season. The rider will pull out all the stops this weekend as he looks to reinstate himself as South Africa’s leading OR2 star.
Rounding out the team this weekend is rising Cross Country talent Davin Cocker. All eyes were on the rider at the last round of series when he stormed to victory in the final 100 metres of the race. With a mere two points separating him from the top of the OR3 leaderboard, Cocker will be a force to be reckoned with this weekend.
As one of the most nail-biting events of the season approaches, Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham commented: “I’m not quite sure if my nerves are going hold out over what is going to be an exceptionally long weekend. In the top three categories there are no fewer than five red plates showing riders leading or level in championships! Anthony has done an amazing job of giving the riders the right equipment. I know our riders have put in serious training and will be ready to take on the course rather than the other riders. We can now only wait and see who gets crowned on Sunday afternoon – unlike the film from many years ago this is not just any Sunday!”
Published by: Fred Fensham – Husqvarna Motorcycles SA