NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 2 – JOLIVET
As the dust settled at Legends Adventure Farm, the country’s top offroad riders gathered for the second round of the National Cross Country championship in KZN, Jolivet. The tension was high, the adrenaline was pumping, and the competition was fierce. The riders from the Husqvarna South Africa Racing team faced the tough and technical terrain with bravery and determination, leaving everything on the track.
Leading the pack for the team was Davin Cocker, who overcame his nerves and injury to take on the challenge. Cocker faced a tough time in the OR2 class, but he dug deep and displayed the fighting spirit that defines him as a racer. He commented, “I had a bit of nerves coming into the race because of the crash on Thursday, but I managed to keep my head in the right place and compete for the win.” And he did just that, finishing first in class and proving that he has what it takes to be a champion.
Ryan Pelser, racing in the OR3 class, had a challenging race and was visibly disappointed with his results. He stated, “I didn’t plan to ride like this, and I need to work on myself to get comfortable on the bike.” Despite his disappointment, Pelser remained positive, grateful to finish the race safely, and focused on the next round of the competition.
The Enduro Riders for the team, Travis Teasdale and Heinrich Aust, proved their versatility by competing in the race over the weekend. Travis, in OR1, and Heinrich, in OR3, showed their grit and determination, with both riders finishing in 4th place in their respective classes.
Team manager, Grant Frerichs commented: “Challenging conditions faced us in Jolivet and Davin put on a superb performance clinching his class win and extending his championship points lead. Ryan struggled with the route conditions but fought on to gain valuable championship points in his quest for damage control.”
National Cross Country Championship – Round 2 – Jolivet
The Brother Leader Tread KTM team proved their mettle at the second round of the National Cross Country championship held in KZN. Battling the unforgiving terrain of Jolivet and overcoming various adversities to secure impressive finishes in their respective classes.
Kerim Fitz-Gerald, racing in the Senior class, blazed through the course with his signature style and speed, taking the top spot in his class with ease. “KZN racing is always a struggle for me with the forests and especially the sugar cane,” said Fitzgerald. He mused saying “I think I spent more time doing u-turns today than going forward, but we are leaving safely, still fighting for the overall championship and looking forward for round 3.”
OR1 class rider Bradley Cox pushed himself to the limit and crossed the finish line in second place as well as claiming second overall. “My body felt strong all day, having to push at the end but I’m really happy with my result,” Cox said.
Despite his setbacks, Scott Heygate managed to put in an incredible effort and finished in second place in the OR2 class, contributing valuable points to the team’s overall score. Heygate commented, “Coming into the race, I was still recovering from being sick. I crashed twice with the second one leaving a few bumps and bruises. After the second crash, I went into survival mode and didn’t take too many chances in this one to score as many valuable points as I can.”
Young gun, Matthew Wilson, racing in the OR3 class, showed great drive and speed to come back from a challenging time trial that saw him crash into a fence, putting him a few minutes behind. “I felt good in the time trial, but unfortunately ended up in a fence putting me 5 minutes behind” Wilson said. “As a result, I started the race 55th overall and was able to come back to 18th. Even though the overall result might not be what I was hoping for, I am happy with the drive and speed I showed to come back” he added.
The team’s success was a true team effort, with each member supporting and pushing each other to deliver their best performances. Their unwavering dedication and commitment to the sport were on full display, impressing both fans and competitors alike.
In addition, the Brother Leader Tread KTM Enduro team also made their mark at the race. William Slater competed in the OR1 class and delivered a strong performance, finishing in fifth place. Meanwhile, Dylan Jones showcased his skills in the OR3 class, securing an impressive second-place finish.
Team manager Grant Frerichs commented: “I am proud of the team as a whole. Each rider had his challenges but we came together and got the job done. Championships are never won at one round but they can be lost so to be in the championship fight in all of our classes with healthy riders is important. We look forward to taking the fight to the other riders at the upcoming double header round.”
What Trademore Feeds SA Cross Country Round 2 Report Where Jolivet, KZN When Saturday 15 April 2023 Community South Africa National
Cole, Pentecost star for Honda in Jolivet Cross Country National
Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda Wing Racing came home smiling from a dusty, fast and fire interrupted Jolivet second round Trademore South African Cross Country Championship in KwaZulu Natal on Saturday. In a good day at the office, headline news was Haydn Cole scoring a fine home victory for the red team in OR3, while Michael Pentecost ended third in OR1 and young Murray Smith took the 65cc Junior win.
A delighted Jolivet Farm home hero Haydn Cole took full advantage of his local knowledge to ride his Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda XRF 250 RX to a dominant maiden National OR3 victory. “I had an awesome day to grab my first national class win at my home race at Jolivet,” Haydn admitted. “I cannot thank my awesome team Honda and sponsors enough for everything they do and for such an awesome machine. My Red Rocket never missed a beat all day and I had an absolute blast on the bike.”
There was more of a curve ball for Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda’s XRF 450 RX OR1 duo Mike Pentecost and Gareth Cole, who found an army of wildcard top South African enduro champions to contend with in the open class at Jolivet. Undeterred, Pentecost soldiered home third behind hard enduro international Wade Young and his regular Cross Country rival Brad Cox as he held the rest of the one race wonders at bay.
“Round two of the National Cross Country series was fast and dusty at Jolivet and we had a gang of enduro guys to content with,” Mike Pentecost reflected. Nevertheless I had fun on my Honda, made the most of the day as the bike handled beautifully for third overall and in OR1, which was effectively second versus my regular Cross Country rivals. Well done to my teammates, especially Haydn for a brilliant maiden OR3 win and a huge thanks to my team for all their effort and positivity!”
Gareth Cole was mixing it with the front runners early in the race, but his race somewhat changed character on the second lap. “I was going well early on but I had two big crashes and ended up concussing myself and getting a bit of whiplash,” Gareth confessed. “I could not focus properly and had a bit of double vision after that, so I just backed it off to bring it home safely to pick up some valuable points in what was effectively third among the regular Cross Country riders.
Other Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda riders to impress included Senior rider Murray Smith with the 85cc Junior win, Louwrens Mahoney, who ended a close third on his debut in the class. “What an incredible day on my first time out with my new team in a National Cross Country after three years off a bike,” Louwrens admitted. “Now I know what to work on going forward, so thanks to all my sponsors and everyone in the team who made the day so special.” The ever-dependable Wynand Delport ended fifth in Seniors, while John Botha endured a tough weekend, but he brought his CRF 250 RX home to score some valuable OR3 class points.
“Well done to the team on another great performance and especially to Haydn on a splendid maiden OR3 victory and to Murray on his 85cc victory,” Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda team principal Harry Grobler concluded. “We are making positive steps across the board, one step at a time as today’s results so well prove, so onward and upward to the GXCC regional this weekend, and then the double header National at Vryburg in June. We can’t wait!”
*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
What Trademore Feeds SA Cross Country Round 2 Report Where Jolivet, KZN When Saturday 15 April 2023 Community South Africa National
Enduro legend Wade Young takes a National Cross Country win
It was a case of veni, vidi, vici as South African international hard enduro legend Wade Young and his factory Sherco came, saw, and conquered a fast and dusty second round of the Trademore South African Cross Country Championship at Jolivet in KwaZulu Natal on Saturday. Not even a runaway bush fire halting the race, could prevent Young from taking a minute and 36 second victory over the best of the Cross Country regulars Bradley Cox on a KTM, and Honda rider Michael Pentecost.
Another enduro wildcard Travis Teasdale was fourth for Husqvarna ahead of 350cc OR2 winning teammate Davin Cocker, and perhaps the story of the day, OR3 winner, local lad Haydn Cole on a Honda. Seniors’ winner Kerim Fitz-Gerald was sixth for KTM, from another enduro interloper, William Slater, teammate and second OR2 man home Scott Heygate, and High School winner Luke Walker in a fine tenth on his KTM.
There was drama when a bush fire en route caused the race to be stopped at the end of the first of five planned laps. The fire was brought under control and albeit reduced to four laps, the re-started. Darkness was approaching as the race finished. with its revised format leading to a sensational finish in the Masters class. When the two halves of the race were merged, Pieter Holl and his Kawasaki emerge victorious by half a second over Greg Nairn’s KTM.
Enduro wildcard Wade Young ultimately dominated overall and OR1 on his factory Sherco. He left second placed Bradley Cox to take the spiritual Cross Country OR1 class win aboard his Brother Leader Tread KTM, ahead of Michael Pentecost’s third placed Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda. Three more wildcards, Travis Teasdale’s Husqvarna, William Slater on a KTM and Brett Swanepoel on his Sherco, who was slowed on the final lap after fighting up front, followed in OR1, ahead of Cross Country regular Gareth Cole on his Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda, and Ian Rall’s similar machine.
Davin Cocker took a second comfortable 350cc OR2 win in two races on his factory Husqvarna, over seven minutes clear of Scott Heygate’s Brother Leader Tread KTM. Kyle Eggar and Charl van Eeden’s similar bikes followed, with Teak Harrower fifth in OR2 on his GasGas, ahead of KTM trio, Juan Niebuhr, lady rider Leah Heygate and Luke McClelland.
A delighted Jolivet home hero Haydn Cole took advantage of his local knowledge to ride his Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda to a dominant maiden National 250cc OR3 victory. Dylan Jones was over five minutes adrift on his KTM at the head of a fraught five-bike struggle for second. He beat Husqvarna pair Cobus Bester and enduro wildcard Heinrich Aust, Erik Merry and Ryan Pelser’s Husqvarna. KTM trio Matthew Wilson, Myles Crookes and Ross Ramseyer, and Callan Broskie on a Husqvarna closed off the quarter-litre top ten.
Kerim Fitz-Gerald made no mistakes on his way to another top ten as he took a second dominant Seniors win on the trot on his Red Bull KTM. 2022 champion Kenny Gilbert was second for Pepson Plastics Scottish Cables Motul Kawasaki, ahead of the returning Louwrens Mahoney’s Franchise Co Tork Craft Honda. Marco Cocci’s Yamaha and Wynand Delport riding another Honda were next home.
It was far closer in Masters. Pieter Holl’s Kawasaki beat Greg Nairn’s KTM by three hundredths of a second after three and a half hours of hard riding! KTM duo Stuart Gregory and Suter Eskil Brad Clarke on a Husqvarna, Brian Bontekoning’s Pepson Plastics Kawasaki and Mielies Le Roux followed.
Tenth overall, Luke Walker rode his KTM to an emphatic 15 minute High School 125cc win over Thomas Scales’ similar machine. Blake Young was third on a Sherco, from KTM rider Brandon Clarke, Daniel Peckham’s Sherco and Nathan Westerdale’s KTM in sixth. Derek Karam’s Yamaha, Michael Struik and Rory Donaldson’s KTMs, and Husqvarna lad Johandre Vermaak closed off the class top ten.
Junior action saw Murray Smith take National 85 cc honours on his Husqvarna from KTM lad Bruno Niebuhr, Jean-Baird Maritz’ Kawasaki, Franco Fourie’s KTM and Nicol Smit on a Husqvarna. GJ Coetzee on a Husqvarna took 65 cc victory from Zach Wichmann’s KTM, Matthew Meyer on a GasGas, Wilco du Polly’s Yamaha and KTM kids Cambeul du Preez and Joshua Fotheringham.
The Trademore South African Cross Country Motorcycle Championship now takes a break until a completely different challenge at the midwinter semidesert Vryburg double header on 16 and 17 June.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing had good reason to view the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas with strong cause for optimism considering the increased competitiveness and continued progression with the current RC16 motorcycle. Brad Binder was among the fastest on track in Texas until he also had to recover from an error and still made the flag in 13th place.
The stifling heat of COTA on Saturday had blown away in a stiff breeze to be replaced by sunshine and colder temperatures for the Grand Prix distances on Sunday. Brad was making progress from the depths of the top ten as the group disputing positions for the top five began to close up and narrow. Unfortunately though he spun out through Turn 15 only a few laps after teammate Miller had departed the race. He was able to pick up the bike and rally to 13th for 3 valuable points.
After three of 21 rounds, Brad is 9th in the championship standings. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will be able to go for trophies again at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for the Gran Premio MotoGP Guru by Gryfyn de España in two weeks.
Brad Binder “The whole weekend here in Austin has been a lot more positive than we might have expected beforehand, based-off our experiences here in the last years. I wasn’t super-happy yesterday but I managed 5th which was fantastic. Today I had high hopes but unfortunately I switched my line going into Turn 1 at the start and it was a big mistake on my part. I ended up getting caught in the chaos on the first lap. I tried my best. I struggled with the front tire up until a few laps before I crashed. At that moment I was confident and was started to push. Then it just snapped away from me on one of the little left-handers. Luckily, I was able to remount and we still got three points. As frustrating as today was we are not walking away empty-handed. For me it was also a lesson, especially from my mistake at the start. At Jerez we will go a hell-of-a-lot better.”