Category Archives: FMN News South Africa


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.

Published by: Husqvarna Media

Photography by:


South African Cross Country legend Louwrens Mahoney – Photography by:

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.

Published by: KTM Media

National Cross Country Champion, Ross Branch – Photography by: