Red Bull KTM dominated the second round of the National Motocross Championship that took place in Gqeberha this weekend. Claiming his second consecutive double victory of the season, star rider Tristan Purdon snatched the win in both the MX1 and MX2 Class respectively.
The highly anticipated event was hosted by Rover, a track infamous for its unforgiving sand and deep ruts. Fully aware of the physical challenge in store, Purdon mentioned paying extra attention to his fitness levels in the weeks leading up to the race.
He commented: “It was such an awesome feeling to win both classes again. The track got super rough and demanding on the body, but that’s what I’d expected. I felt like the fitness training I’d been doing leading up to this made a really big difference. Our mechanic, Kevin, also setup my KTM 250 SX-F and KTM 450 SX-F perfectly – they couldn’t have felt better.”
With a strong determination to hold onto the red plates throughout the season, Purdon executed a perfect 1-1 in MX1 to take the victory overall. After finishing in a close second in the first moto of MX2, Purdon described feeling particularly fired up to win the second moto. He explained; “When I came that close to winning the first moto, I was even more determined to get out there and win the second moto. I was a little stressed for MX2 – it’s stacked with talent and I usually perform better in MX1. I’m really proud of the results and happy to have extended my points lead in both classes.”
Red Bull KTM teammate Cameron Durow added to the celebrations at the orange camp. As the fastest qualifier, the youngster managed to get up front for a large portion of the first heat in MX2. Durow described making a few small mistakes that cost him the lead, but he managed to finish the moto in a solid third place.
The rider made the decision to switch back to his practise suspension for the second heat and set off with a blistering place to take the holeshot. After a bar-to-bar battle up front with Purdon and Camden Mc Lellan, Durow finished both third in the heat and ultimately third overall.
“This race taught me a lot about the kind of suspension setup I need to perform at my best and gave me good experience racing upfront with Tristan and Camden. I learnt a lot from this weekend and have a good idea of the things I need to work on going forward, but I’m also really happy with the end result,” said Durow. The event proved to be a challenging one for Red Bull KTM’s Jonathan Mlimi. The High School Class hero had an unfortunate crash that kept him from earning any points in the first moto. With a track record of making epic comebacks, however, Mlimi drew on his past experiences to enter the second moto swinging. Undaunted by the challenging start to the day, the rider tapped into new gears as he raced to the secure victory and a top ten finish overall.
A cherry on the top of what was a highly successful day of racing for the team was yet another podium finish from rising Pro Mini star Trey Cox. Despite a slow start in the first moto, Cox remained consistent and finished 3-2 to take third overall. The rider has now secured the points lead in the 85cc Class. He commented, “What I’m happy about most is that for the first time I managed to get the red plate! I’m going to hold onto it for as long as I can.”
Battle drums were beating as South Africa’s top riding talent gathered in Jolivet, KwaZulu-Natal, over the weekend for the start of the National Cross Country Championship. In what would be one of the most competitive races the series has seen, riders faced five demanding loops through Natal’s iconic sugarcane fields and demanding forest trails.
It was a particularly exciting event for Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Bradley Cox, who made his debut in the OR2 Class on his KTM 350 XC-F. As the first rider leading out the time trial, Cox admits to feeling worried that he wouldn’t set a fast enough time. With the fourth fastest time and only three-seconds separating him from second place, however, he soon realized that he was in for a bar-to-bar battle.
“The first lap was absolutely unreal. There was a group of four of us and we were banging bars like a full-on motocross race,” described Cox.
After pushing the pace up front for the first lap, an unfortunate crash on the second lap cost him some time and set him back to fourth place. In his unrelenting quest for victory, Cox came back with a blistering pace and clawed his way up the leaderboard to second place overall and ultimately first place in his class.
“To win my debut race in the OR2 Class was absolutely amazing. The KTM 350 XC-F is the best bike I’ve ever ridden. The track was incredible – the sugar cane roads and forest sections really suited me. It was just a picture-perfect day and all the training I’d put in leading up to this really paid off,” said an elated Cox. Brother Leader Tread KTM teammate Charan Moore had a tough day in the saddle. From as early as 3km’s into the race, Moore described facing several setbacks: “After losing some positions from a corner I had overshot, I got back on the bike and managed to catch up and find a good rhythm. Unfortunately, I faced another setback when some wire got stuck in my rear wheel. After a few minutes I managed to get it out but, in the process, I must have loosened the master link – which I discovered when my chain came off not long after that. I got that fixed too, but let’s just say it was a tough day in the office!” he said.
While the rider is relieved to have finished the challenging event, he is more determined than ever to defend his 2020 OR1 title and will undoubtedly come back swinging in the next round.Rounding out the day on a positive note was Jarryd Coetzee, who made his highly anticipated debut to the OR1 Class. The rider was put through his paces on what he described as “an incredibly demanding track” and only narrowly missed the podium with a fourth place in his class. While the result is not what he had hoped for by his own high standards, Coetzee is pleased to have opened the season with some solid points in the bag.
"Well done to the organisers for putting on such a great event! It was an incredibly demanding track. I'm not 100% happy with the result but I'm happy to have gotten some points in the bag!" said Coetzee.
As the team heads back to the drawing in preparation for the next round of the championship, KTM South Africa’s Louwrens Mahoney shares a parting shot: “Really happy with the way the first round of the Cross Country Championship went for the team. The riders are going into the next round with some solid points to build on and we also know what to work on from here. With the next round being in completely different terrain - going from muddy and technical to rough and sandy - it will be good to see the team back in action!”