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!”
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The Concept Store at World of Yamaha and Bikers Lives Matter got together to start a “Back-to-School” initiative to benefit the youth going back to school after the Covid-19 lockdown.
The students of Zenzeleni Primary School were pleasantly surprised to see their brand-new school uniforms when they started school on Monday morning, 15thFebruary 2021. “We are pleased to have started this initiative alongside Bikers Lives Matter and be able to give back to our youth as their 2021 curriculum begins after such a challenging year last year,” says Ben Robertson - Dealer Principal of The Concept Store at World of Yamaha.