After two seasons in the Moto2 World Championship, the former European Moto2 Champion joined forces with the legendary team Ten Kate Racing, Yamaha, for the 2020 World Supersport campaign.
Following a successful test in Spain and Portugal, which saw Odendaal place amongst the fastest from the beginning, the 27-year old South African had a clear objective to kick off the season with a podium at Phillip Island, Australia, during the opening round of the 2020 Championship.
Steven Odendaal: “We were pretty fast in testing and I was really confident going into the race weekend. Unfortunately, it did not start the best for us on Friday. I crashed on oil going into the first corner which ended the day for us. Luckily, I did not suffer any serious injury but the team had to work really late to repair the bike. After such a difficult opening day, my objective was to qualify on one of the first two rows. We qualified 7th and we knew we could fight for the podium in the race. Our struggle continued on Sunday, however, and I had another crash in the warm-up. I tried to stay calm in the race and make sure we finish the first race taking home some valuable points, which we did with a 7th position at the end. I would like to say big thanks to my team for all their hard work this weekend. After the tests, I did expect to come home with a podium here, however, I do realise that this was only my debut race, we are leaving with valuable information ready to come back stronger in Qatar in two-weeks’ time. I am really happy for the opportunity to work with such a great and professional team this year, I believe that we make a really strong package together and we will aim to prove that in Qatar!”
The lights are excitingly hovering on red for KTM’s fourth MotoGP in the immediate wake of the the second and final pre-season test at the Losail International Circuit. Brad Binder was the fastest KTM RC16 rider after three days at the venue that will now open the 2020 campaign in two weeks on March 8th.
For the second day in a row (and of three) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Brad Binder and Pol Espargaro clocked more than 110 laps of the 5.4km layout as afternoon turned to dusk and the crew completed their set-up work towards the first Grand Prix of twenty to come.
Rookie Brad (9th) was the surprise act after more modifications to his works KTM RC16 allowed the determined South African to register an effort that would stand less than half a second from the quickest lap of the day and be three tenths better than teammate Pol Espargaro (14).
Next up is the Grand Prix of Qatar in a fortnight’s time.
Brad Binder: “I was quite surprised to be honest. I felt comfortable and we made some changes today that helped me a lot and sorted many of my issues. I put in a new set of tyres and ‘bam!’ the lap-time came. The bike was good. I felt way more comfortable to get it stopped, turned quicker and also get on the throttle earlier. Once we figured that part out then it was a lot easier to put a fast lap together but it was still quite difficult to do 22 of them, so I have a long way to go! We made some good steps these three days and the team has been awesome. I’m looking forward to continuing at the GP.”
Purdon starts the 2020 motocross season in victory
Tristan Purdon couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2020 season…
The Red Bull KTM motocross star left onlookers in awe as he went 1-1 to snatch MX1 victory at the opening round of the season in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
On a track notorious for its unforgiving sand and demanding weather conditions, Purdon’s performance was particularly impressive. Despite some slow starts by his own high standards, his consistent pace was unmatched as he worked his way up the ranks of what was a highly competitive field.
The victory comes at the perfect time for Purdon, who is still waiting to hear the outcome of the 2019 MX1 Championship. “I’ve been so excited for a fresh start and to put last season behind me, and winning the opening round was the perfect way to do it! I came into 2019 with a lingering wrist injury, so I feel like a different person starting the year with nothing holding me back,” said Purdon.
It was a somewhat disappointing day for Red Bull KTM teammate Kerim Fitz-Gerald, who received a DNF in the first moto of MX1 due to technical issues. In MX2, however, he managed to wrap the day up in sixth overall. As the reigning national MX2 Champion, Fitz-Gerald will look to come back swinging in defense of his 2019 title.
The journey to the start line of Rover Raceway was perhaps tougher than the race itself for Jonathan Mlimi. The rider was sent to the sideline in 2019 after breaking his leg during a practice ride. With a new appreciation of the sport, Mlimi managed to lead a portion of the second heat and finish the day in sixth overall. Having given but a glimpse of his true potential in the High School Class, Mlimi commented: “It gave me a lot of confidence to see that I’m capable of pushing the pace up front. Unfortunately, I’m still dealing with a niggle from the accident and felt it in the second moto especially. I’m going to get that sorted before the next round and come back stronger!”
Published by: Louwrens Mahoney – KTM Motorcycles SA
What SA National Motocross Round 1 Report Where Rover Raceway, Port Elizabeth When Saturday 15 February 2020 Community South Africa National
National season opener stuns PE
The 2020 MSA South African National Motocross Championship powered by Cannabis Energy and TRP Distributors kicked off in quite literal flying style at a scorching hot, sandy and spectacular Rover near Port Elizabeth on Saturday. Highlighted by a thrilling premier class MX1 show, the racing was out of the top drawer all the way down the classes with some dominant performances, while other classes proved a fight to the finish every time as searing temperatures nudged 40 degrees.
2019 frontrunner Tristan Purdon opened his season in fine style aboard his Red Bull KTM as he fought off Lloyd Vercueil (Florstore on Trend Yamaha) and David Goosen (Out of Africa Monster Yamaha) to win a thrilling opening open class MX1 race and then went on to do the double over KTM teammate Kerim Fitz-Gerald and Anthony Raynard (Tintswalo Dragon Yamaha) in the second race.
Reigning MX2 champion Fitz-Gerald hit trouble in the first moto, while another favourite, Matthew Malan crashed his factory Husqvarna and struggled on injured to see Vercueil wind up second for the day from Raynard and Yamaha men Jesse Wright and Goosen, KTM riders Cameron Durow, Marco de Vrye, Regan Wasmuth and Johan Vogelesang, and Dylan Mostert, as Fitz-Gerald and Malan languished in 12th and 13th.
David Goosen (Out of Africa Monster Yamaha) got his season off to a perfect start with a double win, over Tristan Purdon (Red Bull KTM) in race 1 and Slade Smith (Summit Yamaha) in the second moto, but the consistent Anthony Raynard (Tintswalo Dragon Yamaha) was third in each race to take second overall ahead of Purdon and Smith for the day. Cameron Durow was best of the rest ahead of fellow KTM riders Kerim Fitz-Gerald, Bradley Cox, and Joshua Mlimi, Yamaha pair Keegan Hickson-Mahony and Ryan Angilley and Seth David van den Abeele (Husqvarna).
MX3 champion Ian Topliss (Motul Yamaha) made no mistakes as he started his over-40 Masters motocross title defence with a double win over over-30 Senior men Tyson Engelbrecht (The Roost KTM), Dwayne Kleynhans (Fast KTM) and Master rider Brett Bircher (Motul KTM). Jonathan Hubbard (KTM), Alec Combrink (Husqvarna), Andre Swart (KTM), Husqvarna men Gerhard Hanekom and Jaco van Zyl and Sheldon Watkins (Yamaha) rounded off the top ten.
Reigning champion Kayla Raaff (SA Bikewise Motul Kawasaki) picked up where she left off with a double Ladies Motocross win over Megan Jonker (Motul Leatt Husquvarna), who shared the seconds and thirds out with Natasha Rugani (KTM). Pegasus Husqvarna sisters Jadene and Cheyenne de Lima were next up from Kylie Kotze and KTM girls Savannah van Vuuren and Kelly Benn.
Ugandan Stav Orland (Orland Brothers KTM) and Ethan Hoffman (Dirt Rider Yamaha) shared the 125cc High School wins, but Orland took the championship leader’s red plate home thanks to his second race second place over Hoffman’s fourth. Liam Gilchrist (RPG Nutritech Husqvarna) took a second and a third en route to third overall ahead of Christiaan Cilliers (Out of Africa Monster Yamaha), KTM trio Mark-Anthony Filip, Jonathan Mlimi and Cuan Conway, Josh de Hutton (Yamaha) and KTM pair Miguel de Waal and Blake Young.
Zimbabwean Daiyaan Manuel (KTM) made 85cc Pro Mini his own over moto 2 second place lad Bryce Petersen (Linex Yamaha), Emmanuel Bako (KTM) and Kyle Townsend, who ended second in the first race on his Cannabis Energy KTM, with fellow KTM kids Luke Grundy and Wesley McGavin next up. Lucas Venter (Husqvarna) was seventh overall ahead of Tyler Tarantino (Motorex KTM), Wian du Plooy (Husqvarna) and reigning SA 85 Junior champion Seth Young (KTM).
Liam Botha (Eco Tanks Husqvarna) stamped authority on the 85cc Junior races with two wins, each time ahead of Alon Orland (Orland Bros. KTM) and Pieter Brink (Orange County KTM). Ryan Adler (Husqvarna) meanwhile fought Timo Maximo Toepfer (Fast Motul KTM) and Joshua Williams (Linex Yamaha) off for fourth ahead of Blake Osner (Husqvarna), Nathan Verster (KTM) and Yamaha duo Louis Mostert and Kodi Goosen.
Jordan van Wyk (CIT Husqvarna) won the second moto to take a surprise overall 65cc primary school motocross win for the day to carry the championship leader’s red plate to round 2in the Cape. Trey Cox (Motul Alfie Cox KTM) was second from Jack Pullen (Husqvarna) after reigning 65cc champion and race 1 winner Neil van der Vyver (Husqvarna SA) hit trouble in the second moto and only ended fourth for the day. Yamaha lighties Aiden Henley and Tyler Petersen, Husqvarna duo Sven Larsen and Christian Berrington Smith, Damien Venter (Yamaha) and Nicol Smit (Husqvarna) rounded off the top ten.
Last but not least, Andrew Wren (Yamaha) took Senior Support honours with a double win over KTM duo Connor Alcock and Denzyl Kennedy and Lario du Toit (Honda) in that order both times.
Chase Bekker enjoyed the perfect start to his baby 50cc Motocross season with two wins to claim the red plate aboard his Summit Racing Florstor on Trend Husqvarna over Trenton Kretzmann (Air Auto Africa Fox Husqvarna) each time, with KTM lads Maxwell Fourie and Aiden Retief sharing out the thirds to go third and fourth overall. Michael Enslin ended fifth for the day over Rayden Woolls (Supernova Husqvarna), Alex Cooper (Husqvarna), Motul Alfie Cox KTM duo Brody Bircher and Evan Frost and Skyler de Kock (iStyle KTM).
The South African National Motocross Championship is proudly presented and sanctioned by Motorsport South Africa in partnership with Cannabis Energy, TRP Distributors, Prepsol, Bridgestone, Thor, Gaerne, FMF, Pro Taper, 100%, Fly Racing, Ogio, Racestar Graffix and the Sunoco Race Shop. The second round of the 2020 championship will be at Cape Town’s Zone 7 on Saturday 28 March.
What South African Motorsport Wrap Where International When 15 – 16 February 2020 Community South Africa, International.
South African racers star home and away
South African motorsportsmen starred once again over the past weekend as extreme enduro wizard Wade Young stormed to an incredible win in France, SA champion Kyle Flanagan excelled in Italy and the SA National Motocross Championship and Rotax Max Cape Karting championships both delivered scintillating racing as both got off to scorching hot starts.
It was a great day for South African riders in Europe on Sunday as KZN hero Wade Young rode his Sherco to win the first rejuvenated Extreme Peyratoise extreme enduro in front of a massive crowd in France. Only five of the 200 riders to start the 200km race made the finish well after dark as multiple SA champion Young added another classic title to his growing list of wins including the Romaniacs and King of the Hill in Romania, Germany’s Wiesel-X and XL Lagares, Poland’s Megawatt, the Sea to Sky in Turkey and several Roof of Africa titles including the youngest ever win at 17 in 2012, among others.
Sticking with enduro, SA champion Kyle Flanagan (KTM) from Paddock in KwaZulu Natal jetted overseas immediately after ending second in last weekend’s season opening Lesotho SA chamionship round to settle in finish fifth in his debut in the 2020 Italian championship-opening Winter Black Hole Enduro on Sunday. Flanagan rode two a couple of sixth places and a third over the three tests on the day.
Closer to home, double wins were the order of the at a sweltering hot 2020 MSA SA National Motocross opener in Port Elizabeth, where Tristan Purdon (Red Bull KTM) beat Lloyd Vercueil (Yamaha) and teammate Kerim Fitz-Gerald to both MX1 wins. David Goosen (Out of Africa Yamaha) took the MX2 wins to beat Anthony Raynard (Yamaha) overall, while MX3 champion Ian Topliss (Motul Yamaha) beat Tyson Engelbrecht (KTM) and champion Kayla Raaff (Bikewise Kawasaki) picked up where she left off with a Ladies win over Megan Jonker (Husquvarna).
The junior classes proved good for up-continent riders as Ugandan Stav Orland (Orland Bros. KTM) and Ethan Hoffman (Dirt Rider Yamaha) shared 125cc High School wins as Orland took the day, while Zimbabwean Daiyaan Manuel (KTM) beat Bryce Petersen (Yamaha) to 85cc Pro Mini and Liam Botha (Eco Tanks Husqvarna) took both 85cc Junior wins over Alon Orland (KTM). Race 2 winner Jordan van Wyk (CIT Husqvarna) took 65cc honours after race 1 winner Neil van der Vyver (Husqvarna SA) hit trouble, while Chase Bekker beat Trenton Kretzmann to a Husqvarna baby 50cc 1-2 and Andrew Wren (Yamaha) won Senior Support.
It was even hotter in Cape Town where the opening 2020 WP Rotax Max Karting championship races where Sebastian Boyd beat Jason Coetzee, Charl Visser and Dino Stermin in dramatic DD2 gearbox class where the top three each wion a race in a day of contact and penalties. Conor Hughes, Roy Gruer and Jason Greyling also shared DD2 Masters wins, while Jason Coetzee took two Senior Max wins to Charl Visser’s one to take the day from consistent Tate Bishop.
In schoolboy action, Kyle Visser beat Troy Dolinschek two to one in under-15 Junior Max, Jason Macbeath edged class rookie Reza Levy two races to one in entertaining under-13 Mini Max, Reese Koorzen fought a feisty Joshua Smit off to triple under-11 Micro Max honours and Kai van Rensburg took won all three races in a baby Bambino class brim full of hopeful karting newcomers.