What South African Cross Country Moto Round 4 Report Where Lesotho When Saturday 27 July 2019 Community South Africa National
Podiums for Bogiages, Swanepoel
Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing bounced back from disaster in the run-up to the fourth round Live Lesotho South African Cross Country Motorcycle race as Brett Swanepoel rode home third in open class OR1 and Taki Bogiages similarly ended third in 250cc OR2. The team was rocked when OR1 championship Kenny Gilbert leader was ruled out of the race following a testing crash, but substitute Swanepoel delivered the goods, while Bogiages scored his best result of the season too.
“I am delighted with my result today,” Brett Swanepoel beamed. “That one’s for Kenny — to be ruled out like that while leading the championship really is a cruel blow — I know, I have been there so this one is for you mate! “Thanks to Pepson Plastics Husqvarna, not just for a brilliant bike today, but also for entrusting me with Kenny’s weapon — I am honoured to race it.”
Bogiages was similarly buoyed by his result: “I have worked so hard to get back to full strength since my injury late last year and today is starting to show real results,” Taki confirmed. “This is just the start — today was great for my championship too — I’m now in striking distance of third and second is still mathematically plausible, so let’s see — I’m really excited for the rest of the season. “Thanks to the team for a great machine and incredible support as always!”
“It’s been a really tough week for the whole Pepson Plastics Husqvarna team, “Husqvarna Motorcycles South Africa brand manager Fred Fensham concluded. “But Taki and Brett delivered fine results in Lesotho and we can now look ahead to the last few Cross Country rounds. “We also wish Kenny Gilbert a speedy recovery — you will be back champ!”
With only days to the fourth round of the National Cross Country Championship, leading rider Kenny Gilbert has faced a devastating blow. Gilbert sustained a serious injury to his elbow during a training ride last week and has announced his withdrawal from the rest of the season.
Having finished in a painfully close second place for the past three years, the rider was determined to reclaim the prestigious OR1 title that he held from 2013-2015.With a 14-point lead in his class, he seemed unbeatable this season.
Having faced the highs and lows that come with racing, Gilbert has made peace with his situation. “There is absolutely nothing I can do to change the outcome and I’ve made peace with that. I know there’s a long road ahead and my ultimate goal at the moment is just to be able to get back onto my bike – whether that’s to race or not. It’s disappointing, but I’m fighting,” said Gilbert.
Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing’s Brett Swanepoel will now step in to represent the team in the OR1 Class for the rest of the season. At 24-years old, the rider has looked up to Gilbert for years: “Kenny has been someone I’ve looked up to my whole career. He was the first guy I really got to know when I got my first pro ride and we’ve been teammates and friends ever since. It’s going to be weird lining up at a cross country without him,” he said.
Having overcome a lengthy injury of his own with Gilbert’s support, Swanepoel added: “Injuries are tough and unfortunately a part of what we do. I’ve just come back from a serious injury and Kenny and his family actually looked after me while I was going through all my operations. I will do my best to represent him and the team while he’s recovering and I hope to see him back up racing soon.”
Riders will line-up in Lesotho’s Maluti mountains on Saturday, 27 July, for the next stop on the National Cross Country calendar.
The National Cross Country standings have been shaken after the withdrawal of injured championship contender Kenny Gilbert. The fight for the OR1 title is as fierce as ever, however, as Brother Leader Tread KTM teammates Ross Branch and Louwrens Mahoney prepare to go to war.
Mahoney and Branch now share the top step of the leader board ahead of the fourth round of the series that takes place in Lesotho on Saturday.
With his convincing of credentials, Branch will be a favourite for the win this weekend. The rider has held the OR1 title for the past three years and shows no signs of slowing down. He is also more fired-up than ever after recently announcing that he will be returning to the Dakar Rally next year.
Teammate Mahoney will certainly not go down without a fight, however. After stepping up to the OR1 Class this season, Mahoney has been relentless in pursuit of his former national glory. While he has finished each race consistently this season, the rider is yet to snatch victory.
“It’s really good for KTM to have two of their riders going for the championship! Ross is a talented rider with great pace. I have a lot of respect for him as both a competitor and teammate,” said Mahoney.
Playing to his advantage will certainly be his wealth of technical experience. As a three-time winner of the Roof of Africa, Mahoney is no to stranger to Lesotho’s unforgiving terrain.
While the championship is being decided, fans are certainly in for some heated racing over the next few months as the pair of multiple national champions go head-to-head.