All-new Cross Country Motorcycle team ready to race

What    2023 Season Preview
Where    Johannesburg
When    Saturday 28 January 2023
Community    South Africa National

Honda returns to South African Cross Country Motorcycle Racing in full force with the announcement of a strong, 14-man Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda team to tackle both the 2023 Trademore South African Nationals, and the GXCC Gauteng regional championship.

Headed by a three-bike Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda CRF 450 RX attack in the premiere 450cc OR1 open class, Honda’s 2023 team comprises the top three riders of the 2022 South African OR1 championship. Big news is that reigning double SA, and double GXCC champion Mike Pentecost has changed colours and will ride a Red Rocket Honda from 2023.

Mike joins Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft regulars Gareth Cole and Hayden Louw on a trio of new 2023 model Honda CRF 450 RXs in what promises to be a formidable attack. All three men have one thing in mind, and that is to repeat that 2022 open class OR1 1-2-3 in pure Honda red this year, with an eye on an overall title as well.

Just as impressive is Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft’s four-man Honda CRF 250 RX OR3 attack. Honda rider Haydn Cole is looking to bounce back from injury in 2023 and he has no less than three new class teammates at his side. Fourth in OR3 in 2023 John Botha and former OR1 lad Tyron Beverley join Honda’s OR3 attack alongside Junior graduate Noah Maartens.

Senior rider Wynand Delport and Gerhard Vorster will fly the Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda flag in the senior class. Master Warrick van Schalkwyk is looking forward to a full season on his new Honda after coming so close to the madala’s title despite missing a round last year.

Last but not least, Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda will be attacking the kid racing classes for the first time in 2023. Third in last year’s championship, Murray Smith and quick Jaden Els will don the red in 85 Senior, while Liam Scheepers is the lad in red in 85 Junior.

“Honda took a small step back into SA Cross Country Motorcycle racing in 2022 and we delivered some great results including second and third in premier OR1,” Franchise Co Sleepover Tork Craft Honda team boss Harry Grobler concluded.

“There’s nothing small about our 2023 attack – we have a bigger and far stronger team to do the business. “The Red Rockets are back in force in South African Cross Country racing, and we will be fighting to win. “Let’s go paint the town red boys!”

The 2023 GXCC Gauteng Cross Country Championship commences with the opening round at Lekoa Lodge at Villiers, just across the Vaal River on Saturday 28 January, before the Trademore South African Cross Country Championship kicks off at Legends in Rhino Park, Pretoria 4 March.

*Honda Racing salutes its partners, Tork Craft Tools, The Franchise Co, Sleepover, CIT Accessories, Motul Oils, Mitas, Leatt Protectives, Pollisport, TNT Nutrition, Galfermoto brakes & Nitro Mousse

Issued on behalf of Honda Cross Country


Charan Moore flying our South African flag high at Dakar 2023

Up close with Charan Moore

In what has been described as the hardest Dakar in recent history, Dakar 2023 has proven to be a stunning success for South Africa across all the various categories and classes.

The rally, which kicked off on 1 January 2023 on the shores of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, saw a total of 455 vehicles across all categories and classes traversing the 14 different stages that covered nearly 8000 km.

Without doubt one of the toughest classes in the Dakar is ‘Original by Motul’ where the riders compete without any technical support or assistance. This makes for an enormous challenge, with riders having to race one of the toughest races in the world while maintaining their own motorcycles without any assistance.  

This year 31-year old Charan Moore, riding for HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING, and familiar to many as the race director of the Roof of Africa, had one goal in mind and that was to win in the Original by Motul class. This despite the fact it was only his second Dakar and he was up against a determined field of very experienced and committed riders.

The fact that he succeeded despite almost impossible weather conditions, was a testament to his dedication, and the skills he has honed on the equally challenging gravel plains of Namibia and in Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains. After a rollercoaster two weeks Charan emerged victorious taking top honours in the Original by Motul category and coming in 28th overall in motorcycles and 12th  in the Rally 2 Class.

Adrian Scholtz, Motorsport South Africa (MSA) Chief Executive Officer, caught up with Moore to find out more about this incredible racer and what really goes into competing in this category where it is not just about one’s riding ability, but also one’s mechanical competence, organisational abilities, and capacity to perform mentally and physically in the face of extreme and cumulative fatigue.

Can you start off by telling us more about yourself. Where did your love for the sport come from and when did you start competing?
I grew up around motorsport and pretty much have fuel running through my veins. From a small town in the Free State to a racing family that travelled across the country racing and basically creating our second family. My father ran numerous race teams from the early 80’s to the early 2000’s, and I began my racing career in 2008 at age 16. I have dabbled in all facets of the sport – Cross-Country, Enduro, Motocross, Extreme Enduro and now Rally racing. I love the sport and the freedom it provides.

What appeals to you about the Dakar?
The challenge. It is by far the most intense, emotionally and physically challenging adventure you can experience in motorsport. That, as well as the true cross-country experience – 400km a day exploring vast terrains in incredible countries. It is pure adventure.

How many competitors participated in the Original by Motul class this year?
If I’m not mistaken there were 38 competitors in the class.

When we talk about unassisted what exactly does that mean?
No external assistance at all. The Original by Motul competitors become quite a close-knit family and we are allowed to help each other as much as needed. The limitation comes from receiving any external help from mechanics or family or friends at the event. So, all bike work is completed by yourself or with the support of any original by Motul competitor. You have to setup and take down your own tent and manage your own wheels, spares and tools for the duration of the event. The real authentic Dakar experience.

What kind of support do you get from Motul?
Motul provide all lubrication and oils for the Original by Motul competitors for the duration of the event. So, in our zone there is a Motul stand filled with all the necessary oils and lubricants to service the motorcycles. From the 300V engine oil to chain lube to bike wash and everything in between. Motul also offer an oil analysis at the event to ensure that the motorcycles are running at optimum capacity.

You are no stranger to tough off-road races – how does Dakar compare?
In 2022 I was slightly disappointed about the difficulty of the event. Everyone put Dakar on this pedestal as the hardest event on the planet and I found it quite easily achievable. However, 2023 was a completely different story. By far the hardest race of my life. A combination of longer stages, more difficult stages and intense weather conditions created an incredibly challenging Dakar. But I loved every second of it.

Can you tell us about your training in readiness for the Dakar?
Physically I put a lot of time into strength training for the bigger Rally bike, as well as some good base training on the bicycle to ensure that I would be prepared for the longer stages. Then more specifically we did a lot of roadbook training in Botswana and Namibia to prepare the mental navigational element of Dakar. We tied this mental prep with specific preparations in the dunes in Namibia which was invaluable once we hit the empty quarter in Saudi. The final piece to the puzzle was getting my head screwed on straight to create the right mindset to tackle the hardest offroad event in the world.

We all heard about and saw the extreme weather conditions experienced. What was the hardest aspect of the race for you?
The hardest aspect of the event for me was definitely the elements. What most people don’t see about Dakar is the 3:00am wake up call and 3-hour ride along a tar road at 0-degree temperatures to get to the start of the special. Then racing as fast as possible for around 5 to 7 hours over 300 to 400 km. Then another 3-hour ride in the pouring rain and traffic through some of the busiest cities in Saudi to find the sanctuary of the Bivouac in the dark – wet, cold, tired and now the bike preparations start for the next day. It was intense.

What advice would you give to any South African rider planning to race the Original by Motul class in the Dakar for the first time? Looking back is there anything you would change?
Preparation and mental fortitude are key. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. The more you can have structured, organised and planned, the easier things become. You also need to have your nutrition planned for the entire rally before leaving to Dakar. Have a thorough work schedule that you are comfortable with planned for every stage of Dakar and stick to it. Have all your gear prepared and pre-arranged. If you can get all the small things right then the bigger issues become easier to deal with. This brings me to the mental side. Things change quickly and you have to be prepared to adapt and deal with these changes. I found that having a positive mindset and attitude, remembering the reason for competing at Dakar and the privilege it was to just be on the start line – this gave me the mental edge to deal with anything they could have thrown at us. Get those two elements right and the event will show you a new side of yourself that you never knew possible.  I wouldn’t change a single thing. I loved every second. The good times and the hard times. It made the entire experience more rewarding.

What is your next big challenge?
Finding support for 2024 Dakar. The biggest barrier to entry at Dakar is the cost. But I honestly love this type of racing more than anything I have ever done before in my life, so the goal is to do everything possible to get back in 2024. My next big challenge is definitely finding a partner that shares my vision to compete at this level and shares the same values and ambitions to take on the toughest challenge possible.

Will we see you defending your title and competing in next year’s Dakar?
I won’t be defending my Original by Motul title but I will be on the start line of the 2024 Dakar Rally competing for a new crown.  I will be back on that start line proudly representing South Africa, my federation Motorsport South Africa and each and ever supporter of the journey. Hopefully with the backing of some great partners.

Scholtz, concludes, “We applaud Charan and all of the rest of the South African participants and teams who excelled at this year’s Dakar. MSA is so incredibly proud of their outstanding achievements and salutes their enormous dedication, talent and commitment.  This is an incredibly proud moment for South African motor sport.”


Photography by:  Rallyzone


Fun & family as big as winning for Kawasaki Factory team

What    2023 Season Preview
Where    Johannesburg
When    Saturday 28 January 2023
Community    South Africa National

Multiple championship winning Pepson Plastics Factory Kawasaki Racing with Motul, Gilbert Mining, Scottish Cables, Michelin, Acerbis, Renthal, DID and Arai, is limbering up to a fresh season of Cross Country Racing in South Africa. The team has assembled a strong team of riders and machinery across the classes to chase fun and victory in 2023.

The biggest 2023 Kawasaki Cross Country news sees 2022 South African National High School champion Wian Wentzel stepping up to the 250cc OR3 class. The fast and consistent youngster switches to Kawasaki for the 2023 season aboard a lone Pepson Plastics Factory KX 250 X in a move that will have the class regulars looking over their shoulders.

He joins fellow SA champion, Seniors’ man Kenny Gilbert, who continues for a second season aboard a Pepson Plastics Factory KX 450 X alongside circuit car race star Lee Thompson on a KX 250 X. The senior team is rounded off by another man better known for his car racing exploits, team boss Iain Pepper who will be racing in the Masters’ class.

Jaycee Nienaber, who made steady progress through the 2023 season will continue in the premier class OR1 aboard a Pepson Plastics Factory Kawasaki KX 450 X alongside last year’s teammate Wade Den. They will be joined by Kawasaki OR3 graduate Taki Bogiages, who ended fourth in that championship in ‘22 and is looking forward to stepping up to the big class.

Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Factory Racing will also continue in the Junior classes, where Jake Pretorius joins Nathan Sinclair in 85cc Junior. Human brothers Clayton and Dylan race 85cc Juniors, where the team will also support Jayden Boyce in the GXCC races.

“Pepson Plastics Factory Kawasaki Racing is looking forward to another strong season of Cross Country racing with a powerful line-up of riders and bikes,” team principal Iain Pepper concluded. “Although we aim to win and we will not pull any punches, winning is not everything for us. “We also thrive on our strong family orientation and having fun.

“It is also important that we blood the sport through our junior rider program and to help kids progress from privateer to factory riders. “We are also looking forward to continuing that ethos into our third season as Pepson Plastics Factory Kawasaki Racing. “So, here’s to another very good year – let’s do this, go get it guys!”

*Pepson Plastics Factory Kawasaki races with Motul lubricants, Gilbert Mining, Scottish Cables, Reinhardt Transport, Michelin tyres, Acerbis plastics, Renthal handlebars, DID chains and Arai helmets.

Issued on behalf of Kawasaki Cross Country

Photography by:  Action in Motion


2022 marked a, somewhat, frustrating year for the Husqvarna racing team as they were faced with turmoil through out the year as the team was plagued with injuries and even a forced retirement from the sport completely in the form of David Goosen. Nevertheless, the team diversified and conquered. With the help of heroic efforts from fill in riders and the remaining members, there were still fantastic results throughout the season.

To bring stability to the team across the 3 facets of racing, Husqvarna racing has acquired the services of 3 extremely capable riders.

Travis Teasdale is no stranger to the Enduro scene in South Africa and brings with him, years of international experience as he looks to tackle the Enduro and Extreme Enduro series onboard his Husqvarna te300 in 2023. Travis has proven his outright speed and phenomenal endurance time and time again and will look at dominance in the E2 and gold classes.

Published by: Grant Frerichs


31-year-old Charan Moore (bib number 40, riding for HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING) returned to dunes and wadis of Saudi Arabia with one goal in mind: to win the Original by Motul class in what was only his second Dakar Rally.

The fact that he succeeded despite almost impossible weather conditions, was a testament to his dedication, and the skills he has honed on the equally challenging gravel plains of Namibia and in Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains (where he is the Race Director for the Roof of Africa).

After a rollercoaster two weeks which contained everything that makes the Dakar both magical and immensely tough, Charan emerged victorious. His ultimate winning margin of 20:01 belies the challenges he’s faced during the event. The combination of mechanical issues, injury and flu made this Dakar even more difficult. Charan twice built up a substantial lead over his nearest rivals, only to see it whittled away by a determined field of experienced and committed riders in what was previously known as the Malle Moto class.

Competing in the Original by Motul class tests not just riding ability, but also a competitor’s mechanical competence, organisational abilities, and capacity to perform mentally and physically in the face of extreme and cumulative fatigue.

Just like everyone he was up against, Charan was essentially on his own. Other than world-class lubricants and oils supplied by event sponsor Motul, he had no support: he was responsible for carrying out all the maintenance on his  bike, including running repairs made necessary by rocks, sand and overheating. The reward for completing each stage and working on his own bike was a too-short night’s rest in a tent on the floor.

While 2022’s Dakar had been criticised in some quarters for being uncharacteristically easy, this year’s event was anything but. Saudi Arabi is not a country that you would typically associate with heavy rains and flooding, but this year’s Stage 7 was cancelled due to the extreme weather conditions.

By this point, Charan had rebuilt his lead over his friend and sometime riding companion, Dakar veteran Javi Vega, the Spanish rider who pushed him hard all the way. Charan had recovered from his bout of flu, but further challenges were just around the next sand dune.

In the second half of the Dakar, disaster struck. A faulty gearbox necessitated an engine change that cost Charan 5 hours of mechanical hard work – and a 15-minute penalty. Radiator issues for Moore on Stage 11 saw Javi Vega reclaim the lead he had last held after Stage 5, and set the scene for a nail-biting climax.

On the penultimate stage, it was Vega’s turn to suffer, and Moore ended the day with a 17-minute lead. The final stage is typically a procession, but overnight downpours and hail meant that conditions were extremely wet and muddy with many bikes getting stuck. This last hurdle meant that Charan could not be certain of victory until the very end. Charan not only won the Original by Motul category, but came 28th overall in motorcycles and 12th  in the Rally 2 Class, a very impressive performance by anyone’s standards.

“This year’s Dakar has been a real rollercoaster, physically and emotionally. I wanted to build on my 4th place in Original by Motul and 34th placer overall from last year, and I have done it!” commented a delighted Moore at the finish line. “It’s an honour to have won a trophy of this calibre, and I’m proud to say that I’ve left nothing in the tank,” he added.

Charan confirmed that after a well-earned rest, he’ll be heading home to start planning this year’s edition of the “Mother of Hard Enduro” – the Roof of Africa 2023.

“On behalf of the entire Motul family, I’d like to give my warmest congratulations to Charan Moore on his epic achievement in winning the Original by Motul class,” commented Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa. “He showed the determination, passion and dedication that we value so highly as a company, and his feedback will help us further improve our high-performance products. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Charan and to many more successes in the future,” she added.

  • To find out where all our riders and teams have placed go to The Southern African Dakar Group on Facebook and Instagram.
  • You can also follow Charan Moore on Facebook and Instagram for his personal take on his Dakar Adventure.
  • To learn more about Motul’s product range and commitment to motorsports, visit

Motul is a world-class French company with over 169 years of experience in the specialised formulation, production and distribution of high-tech engine lubricants (for two-wheelers, cars and other vehicles) as well as lubricants for industry via its Motul Tech division.  

Since its inception in 1853, Motul has been recognised for the quality of its products, commitment to innovation and involvement in competition, and is also acknowledged as a specialist in synthetic lubricants. In 1971, Motul was the first lubricant manufacturer to pioneer the formulation of a 100% synthetic lubricant, derived from the aeronautical industry and making use of esters technology: 300V lubricant.

Motul partners with many manufacturers and racing teams in order to further their technological product development through experience gained in motorsports. It has served as an official supplier for teams competing in iconic Road racing, Trials, Enduro, Endurance, Superbike, Supercross, Rallycross and World GT1 events, including 24 Hours of Le Mans (cars and motorcycles), 24 Hours of Spa, Le Mans Series, Andros Trophy, the Dakar Rally and the Roof of Africa.

Published by:  Listen Up – Adilia Joubert