Brother Leader Tread KTM walked away with top honours at the second round of the National Enduro Championship. In an epic battle for Enduro glory, Bradley Cox stormed to his second National E1 Enduro victory of the season and second overall.
The event was hosted by Roodeberg Enduro Farm - a venue in the heart of the Western Cape renowned for its unforgiving terrain and scenic mountain trails. After his blistering start the season, Cox lined-up with a fresh sense of confidence and strong determination to defend his championship lead.
It was once again Cox and championship rival Heinrich Aust that went head-to-head in a battle for the top step in the E1 Class. After a game of cat and mouse for most of the route, Cox describes “digging deep” to overtake his competitor in the final push to the finish line.
“The last time I tried to defend the red plate in an Enduro race I was recovering from a broken ankle, so I was a lot fitter this time around. I had to dig really deep to push for the victory and I couldn’t be happier with how everything came together,” said Cox. Brother Leader Tread KTM teammate Kirsten Landman also experienced a race of redemption this weekend. The rider made her comeback at the start of the season after a lengthy time off due to injury. She described the first round as a “wake-up call” and spent the last few weeks conditioning her body for the second round.
In what was an eye-catching performance, Landman managed to finish 8th in the highly competitive E2 Class and 15thoverall. She commented: “It was a tough day in the saddle, but I couldn’t be happier with the way I finished. I worked hard to condition myself for the physical demands that come with racing at this level, and I could feel that it really paid off today.”A cherry on top of what was a successful day of racing for the team was a solid finish from new Enduro recruit Charan Moore. The multi-disciplined rider suffered an unfortunate crash at the last round of the National Cross-Country Championship and was determined to put consistent laps together at this event. With a respectable fifth place in the E2 Class and eighth place overall, the rider said: “My preparation and setup were a bit off for the conditions, but I’m happy with the improvements and direction we’re moving in. It was an awesome weekend with the entire time!”
Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Nate Thrasher took a commanding first victory in the pro ranks at last night’s opening round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross tripleheader at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Justin Cooper joined him on the podium in second to expand his points lead in the 250SX West Championship. Unfortunately for Jarrett Frye, the challenging conditions made for a tough day, and the rookie did not transfer to the Main Event.Riders only got one practice session in after rain put a halt to qualifying. The weather improved in time for racing, but the track conditions were challenging. Thrasher fought his way back from 16th after a couple of crashes in his heat race but just missed the final transfer spot. In the LCQ, the rookie took over the lead early and never looked back. He lined back up for the Main Event and came out swinging, getting a great start and quickly moving into the lead once again. From there on, Thrasher built a gap on the competition and kept knocking down the laps to bring home his first 250SX win nearly 12 seconds ahead of his teammate.Qualifying second, Cooper lined up for the first heat race of the day. The red-plate holder got a great start but shortly after had a big crash. He rejoined at the back of the field and fought his way back to second and was right on the heels of the race leader but ran out of time. Feeling less than 100%, Cooper had a decent start in the Main Event. Inside the top five, the New Yorker rode a smart race and quickly advanced to third. He gained another position after the runner-up went down with three laps remaining. Cooper’s second-place finish expands his championship lead to four points with four rounds remaining.
Frye also had a challenging heat race. He went down early after another rider crashed ahead of him and had to join his teammate Thrasher in the LCQ. The 20-year-old did not get the start he was hoping for and finished eighth.
The Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing team returns for more action at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday, April 13.
Used solely for its ultra-exclusive special edition models, KTM’s digital sales platform has become a game-changer in fair, first-come-first-served marketing. In this instance, allowing customers to reserve one of only 500 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR units.
Customers were also able to ‘spec’ their KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR with a track-only full-titanium Akrapovic EVO system, with a surprising number of buyers ticking the option.
The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR is based on the wildly successful KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R but takes it further with a 90 percent track focus. Boasting an incredible parts list ranging from exclusive race-bred WP Pro Components suspension, carbon fiber bodywork, and the most complete track-orientated electronics pack ever fitted to a KTM, the ‘RR’ is KTM’s most READY TO RACE street motorcycle ever.
The 2021 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR also boasts a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio, bringing 180 hp and a weight of 180 kg to the fore, not to mention a striking color scheme inspired by the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R PROTOTYPE.
No doubt, the quick-fire orders disappointed a number of KTM fans who missed out, but KTM has created an online waiting list, which will allow interested buyers the chance to get their hands on a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR should any previous reservation be canceled.
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK racer and reigning FIM Supersport World Champion, Andrea Locatelli, continued to make steps towards his FIM Superbike World Championship debut next month, completing a day and a half of testing at MotorLand Aragón this week.
With low temperatures at the Alcañiz venue and inclement weather since the team arrived on Sunday, Locatelli completed just 52 laps on Monday afternoon, choosing to holdover a half day allocation of WorldSBK regulation testing opportunity to a later date. The 24-year-old completed a full test day of running on Tuesday with 66 laps, gaining valuable experience on his 2021 official Yamaha R1 WorldSBK.
Despite “Loka” suffering his first crash since his debut on the 1000cc machine, he bounced back impressively, showing very consistent pace and providing detailed feedback as his crew targeted improved confidence and turning in Aragón’s long, challenging corners. Improving his lap time by nearly a full second on Pirelli’s qualifying tire, Locatelli is now looking forward to the next steps in performance at his next test.
Turkish star Toprak Razgatlıoğlu was absent from the two-day test, continuing to remain in Barcelona following a further positive Covid-19 PCR test on Saturday, 10 April. Toprak remains well, without symptoms, and looks forward to getting back to work on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK.
Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official rider and Yamaha WorldSBK rider coach Niccolò Canepa was able to step in at short notice to help the team test some important longer term development updates, and completed a total of 38 laps in running on Monday. Canepa has been recovering from fractures sustained to his left ankle in an endurance test crash earlier in the year.
Further updates regarding the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK test schedule ahead of the season opener at MotorLand Aragón will be announced in due course.
Andrea Locatelli: P5 – 1’50.257 / 118 laps
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
“It’s a very strange feeling, because yesterday and today I had crashes – but they were so crazy strange crashes! I felt sorry for the guys and the whole team, because we were unable to continue to work on track with these disruptions – having to stop and repair the bike or use alternative parts from the test plan. In the end, we were able to ride a little bit and improve, it was not so bad in the end. A very strange test here for me, but now we will see for the next test. We can analyse everything and the goal is to stay focused and to return here with a plan to improve again.”
Niccolò Canepa: P10 - 1’53.348 / 38 laps
“I was not expecting to ride here in Aragon, and I feel sorry for Toprak, but for me it was a good chance to understand the level of my fitness after the surgery on my ankle. I was able to test something quite important, and even if I was not able to be at my normal level it was enough to work with the guys and make some quite big improvements. I was in some pain at the end of the day but even with that, it was great to ride the R1 WorldSBK machine and do some productive work.”
Paul Denning - Team Principal
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
“It’s still a challenging time for many people around the world, there is no reason why professional motorsports should escape those same challenges! So, not to have Toprak here is of course disappointing but the priority is that he feels perfectly well and is – as you can imagine after 14 days in isolation – absolutely ready to go! We will rearrange alternative testing here in Aragon and he will be ready for the first races of the season. We found a way to make good use of Toprak’s R1 and his crew with Nico making some fundamental development testing for Yamaha; despite his quite severe recent ankle injury he was still able to complete some important and interesting work for the future – good effort and thank you, Nico!
“Andrea used one and a half of the two days available to us here and, for the first time on the R1 WorldSBK at this tricky circuit, did a good job. It was a more complicated test than we would have liked, with a couple of unusual and rather unlucky crashes, but even so, a lot of good work was completed. We have another two days here in Aragon next week for Andrea to take the next step forward in terms of raw pace, so we hope to use those well and be fully prepared for round one of the 2021 Championship.”
The essence of what makes a true dual-purpose motorcycle has long been in Honda’s DNA. In the late 1970s the XL250S was launched - a bike providing genuine on-road usability with excellent off-road performance. The entire XL range that followed became legendary, and proved that combining an economical and easy-to-use single-cylinder four-stroke engine with a competent chassis created a motorcycle that was useful, versatile and, as riders the world over found, a great deal of fun.
Over a decade ago, exhaustive discussions within Honda R&D took place about the creation of a brand-new dual-purpose machine. The company’s long history – in off-road competition and trail-ready machinery – was a useful touchstone when development of the bike first began.Looking to the needs of customers came first. While some riders insist upon competition-level off-road performance, many others value ease of use, practicality and convenience. For weekday, urban environments they wanted a tough, practical bike with cutting-edge off-road style. But, come the weekend, it needed to provide a ticket to ride, wherever they wanted to go, on or off-road.
Honda’s new dual-purpose bike was always viewed by its development team with global perspective. It not only needed a powerful and frugal engine, its chassis also had to have a broad and capable range. And it needed to be affordable, offering high quality and outstanding value for money, with low overall running costs a priority.
The CRF250L, launched across Europe in 2012, was just that motorcycle.
And Honda’s engineers got the formula right. The CRF250L has proved a fruitful base platform which, as well as spawning a RALLY version*, enjoys consistent sales success around the world.
Time marches on, however, and now the new CRF300L takes the stage for 2021 – lighter, more powerful and with an array of detail improvements. It is every bit the do-it-all, dual-purpose motorcycle the CRF250L was. Just more so.Now 286cc, the CRF300L’s new engine produces 10% more peak power of 20.1kW @ 8,500rpm, and 18% more peak torque at 26.6Nm @ 6,500rpm. Inlet cam timing has been revised, alongside both air intake and exhaust system for much stronger mid-range torque and power. Gear ratios 1-5 are shorter, for improved response, while 6th is taller for more relaxed high-speed cruising. An assist/slipper clutch now manages the rear wheel under hard down changes and offers 20% less load at the lever.
A redesigned steel frame, aluminium swingarm and bottom yoke are major contributors to a 4kg overall weight loss and feature revised rigidity balance for feedback and feel. Steering geometry has been adjusted in detail to match, alongside longer travel front/rear suspension and increased ground clearance.
Sharp-edged bodywork features a slimmer tank and seat, and a new positive LCD instrument display. The riding position, too, has been altered to encourage the light steering manoeuvrability needed off-road and, just as usefully, around town.
KTM continues to surprise, taking the ever-popular KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R platform and forging an even angrier BEAST. Being the first machine menacing enough to wear an ‘RR’ badge, it sits proudly at the top of KTM’s street range as a limited-edition flagship motorcycle, developed around one key statement: Pure Performance.
Only 500 of these ultra-rare Naked machines will be built, with the European allocation being available exclusively via an online pre-order portal.
Based on the latest KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R prototype, the RR is a demonstration of what happens when your R&D department is allowed free reign. It’s a true definition of READY TO RACE, with added exclusivity, exotic componentry, and premium workmanship.The figures tell the story – 1,301 cc, 180 hp, 180 kg, and 140 Nm, translating into a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1, with enough torque to tear open the bitumen. Make no mistake, this BEAST is all about track-ripping performance. It is a no-compromise Hyper Naked motorcycle that has been conjured up from the darkest depths of the performance lab to decimate lap records.
Weighing in at a whole 9 kg lighter, the RR is more agile, stiffer, and offers better high-speed stability than the standard KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. The wheels too have gone under the knife, shedding a massive 1.5 kilograms of unsprung weight. These are wrapped in ultra-sticky Michelin Power Cup2 tires, dramatically upping the track readiness of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR.However, the biggest area of influence comes in the form of WP’s finest components. Up front, the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR makes use of fully adjustable WP APEX PRO 7548 Close Cartridge forks, together with an adjustable WP APEX PRO 7117 steering damper. At the rear, an APEX PRO 7746 Shock takes charge, which has been custom-made to the specification of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR.
Carbon fiber has been used extensively in the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR’s construction, with the subframe also receiving the lightweight carbon treatment. This has allowed designers to reimagine the tail of the BEAST, creating a unique single-seat unit, with redesigned LED taillights incorporated into new LED turn signals. These also include KTM’s adaptive brake light as standard.All of this, not to mention the biggest Euro5-compliant V-Twin engine currently available in a Hyper Naked motorcycle, makes the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR the ultimate backstreet weapon or track day tormentor.
It gets its power down to the ground thanks to a new quick-turn throttle twist grip, with a 65-degree opening angle – a 7-degree reduction over the standard KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R’s 72-degree grip. This was developed to deliver improved throttle response, but also to reduce the rider’s wrist angle and elbow drop at full opening.As with all extreme track terrors, this BEAST would not be complete without a lightweight AKRAPOVIČ "SLIP-ON LINE" exhaust system. Made from titanium with a carbon fiber end cap, it provides the ‘bark’ to the BEAST’s bite. For the absolute power-hungry, a full system AKRAPOVIČ KIT "EVOLUTION LINE" is available as an optional extra.
Notable features on the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR include:
// The most powerful V-Twin engine to ever power a naked motorcycle
// 180 hp and 180 kg give the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR a 1:1 power/weight ratio
// New WP APEX PRO suspension and Michelin Power Cup2 tires
// New carbon fiber bodywork
// Lightweight lithium-ion battery, saving 2.5 kg
// Ultra-lightweight forged wheels, saving 1.5 kg of unsprung weight
// Carbon fiber subframe with a redesigned single seat
// Prototype-inspired CTG
// Exclusive KTM PowerParts package
// Limited to only 500 units worldwide
The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR isn’t only impressive when it comes to hardware. Under its carbon-scaled skin hides the most complete track-orientated electronics package ever seen on a KTM – and all as standard.
Most notable of all in this package are the advanced Track and all-new Performance modes, which allow riders near-unlimited adjustability options for rear-wheel slip, throttle response, Launch Control, and Motor Slip Regulation.
While the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR already boasts a full range of never before seen components and bodywork, a full range of KTM PowerParts has also been developed for those riders looking to boost its already frightening performance and track-ready viciousness.
And let’s not forget, riders of the ultimate Naked motorcycle need to not only perform, but also look the part. For that reason, a dedicated range of KTM PowerWear has been developed to give KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR riders the utmost confidence when at the absolute ragged edge.
Fabio Quartararo made it two victories from two races for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team, after the Frenchman fought through the field to take victory at the Losail International Circuit. Team-mate Maverick Viñales produced an equally impressive comeback to secure fifth place after losing positions in the early stages of the 22-lap Grand Prix. Franco Morbidelli brought his PETRONAS Yamaha SRT M1 home in 12th place, with Valentino Rossi finishing 16th.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP made it back-to-back wins in Doha after Fabio Quartararo produced a stunning comeback under the Qatari floodlights to take victory at the Losail International Circuit.
Starting round two from fifth on the grid, Quartararo fell victim to the typical opening lap battle, dropping to eighth, just ahead of team-mate Maverick Viñales, who also dropped positions on the first lap.
As the race settled and the pace picked up, the factory Yamaha duo kept their cool and bided their time. They both knew it would be a race of two halves, with tyre management playing a big role in the second visit to Qatar. With the soft compound the favoured tyre, Quartararo and Viñales managed their pace comfortably as they maintained their positions in the leading group.
The Monster Energy Yamaha duo were line astern at the half-way point of the race and as the Grand Prix entered its second phase, Quartararo showed his hand. The Frenchman climbed his way up to sixth after benefiting from a mid-race tangle for two of his rivals and immediately set after Alex Rins in a hunt for a podium finish. The hard-charging former CEV champion was quick to dispatch Rins, moving clear of the Suzuki rider at turn four, securing fifth place.
Likewise, team-mate Viñales was also making progress aboard his YZR-M1. The Spaniard dropped to ninth in the early stages of the Grand Prix but used his race-winning experience from the opening round to get the most out of his tyres. By lap 16, the 26-year-old was up to sixth place after mistakes from Joan Mir, Aleix Espargaro and Francesco Bagnaia gave him the perfect opportunity to pounce. With the podium positions in sight, it was time for both factory Yamaha riders to give it all they had. The factory duo then pulled off a double overtake at turn ten, as Quartararo moved past Johann Zarco with an inch perfect pass for third, whilst Viñales pulled off a carbon copy manoeuvre to that of his team-mate as he passed Jack Miller. Just four corners later and it was Quartararo’s turn to lead. The fast French rider had a perfect run through turn 14 and positioned himself for a brave pass at turn 15, taking the lead with four laps to go.
However, it wasn’t an easy task for Quartararo, who slipped back to second on the front straight, but that didn’t stop the number-20 rider, who regained the advantage with a pass at turn four. While the rider from Nice hit the front, Viñales had put himself in podium contention after passing Johann Zarco, but a mistake from the Qatar Grand Prix victor saw him slip back to fourth place with work to do in the closing stages.
Back at the front, Quartararo had opened his lead to just under half a second to Jorge Martin and continued to break away from the chasing pack, eventually crossing the line to take victory by 1.4 seconds. Viñales continued to put pressure on the two Pramac Racing bikes in what was a stunning final few laps charge, but a small mistake at turn one saw him slip back behind Rins. The Spanish rider gave it everything on the final lap of the 3.34-mile-long Qatari circuit, but just fell short, wrapping up the Doha Grand Prix in a strong fifth place.Back at the front, Quartararo had opened his lead to just under half a second to Jorge Martin and continued to break away from the chasing pack, eventually crossing the line to take victory by 1.4 seconds. Viñales continued to put pressure on the two Pramac Racing bikes in what was a stunning final few laps charge, but a small mistake at turn one saw him slip back behind Rins. The Spanish rider gave it everything on the final lap of the 3.34-mile-long Qatari circuit, but just fell short, wrapping up the Doha Grand Prix in a strong fifth place.
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi had a difficult race, with the pair finishing in 12th and 16th places respectively. From tenth on the grid, Morbidelli found himself in a race-long battle for the top ten. The former Moto2 Champion was battling hard throughout the early stages of the race, but unfortunately could not make any further progress after using his soft rear tyre too early on, resulting in a P12 finish for the Italian, just 5.787s off the race winner.
Team-mate Valentino Rossi had an uphill battle on his hands after starting from 21st, but as always, The Doctor looked to make the most of a tough situation. Having found something in Warm-Up, Rossi launched from 21st on the grid, making up places on the run into turn one – but slipped back as the field jostled for position.
Rossi sat comfortably in the pack and matched the lap times of the leaders before making his way passed Danilo Petrucci at the midway stage. The 42-year-old Italian then had a late burst, using the last bit of grip from his soft tyres to move up into P16, but sadly for the nine-time World Champion, the gap to 15th was just too big, and he had to settle for 16th position as the flag dropped.
With Quartararo’s victory, the factory Yamaha duo see themselves head to Portimao joint second in the standings, with the pair sitting on 36 points. Yamaha also head the charge in the constructor’s championship with 50 points, while Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP maintain their advantage in the teams’ championship.
The MotoGP World Championship will return to action in Portugal as the riders return to the roller-coaster that is Portimao across the weekend of 16-18 April.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales delivered a masterclass in the opening round of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship at the Losail International Circuit, taking victory after a mid-race charge saw the Spaniard finish +1.092s clear of second place. Fabio Quartararo finished his factory Yamaha debut in fifth place.
The season opener got going at a blustery Losail International Circuit, with Maverick Viñales claiming his first win at the Qatari venue since 2017. Team-mate Fabio Quartararo had a fast start to the 22-lap race but ultimately slipped to fifth position in the closing stages.
From the front row, the factory pairing slipped to fifth and sixth positions after the start, but quickly found their rhythm as they began their attacks. It wasn’t long before the duo started making progress, with the factory Yamahas clearing Ducati’s Jorge Martin on lap three. With the podium positions already in sight, Viñales upped the pace, setting the fastest lap of the Grand Prix on lap four. Tag-teaming with his French team-mate, the pair set after Jack Miller, who was the next target in third place. The pair wasted no time in dispatching the Australian as they continued their charge towards the front of the field.
It wasn’t long until the leading Yamahas swapped places, as the experienced Spaniard got the better of 21-year-old Quartararo at turn 11 and immediately set off after the leading Ducatis, a quest he completed by lap 15 as he hit the front of the race.
From there, it was a masterclass from Viñales, who controlled the pace with the softer Michelin rear tyre, opening a comfortable one-second advantage over the chasing pack. The nine-time premier class race-winner didn’t look back, taking an emphatic victory under the lights. Meanwhile, Quartararo had slipped to fifth place as he battled with Suzuki’s Alex Rins throughout the closing stages of the race. The Frenchman held on to complete his factory debut rounding out the top five.
Petronas Yamaha SRT got their 2021 season underway with Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli finishing the 22-lap Grand Prix in 12th and 18th places, respectively. The Doctor got his 26th Grand Prix racing career going with a bright start, although slipping to seventh, the 41-year-old stuck with his Yamaha counterparts before dropping further through the pack. The Italian recovered to take 12th place after losing a handful of positions after being forced wide at turn one mid-way through the race. Rossi’s countryman Franco Morbidelli suffered a technical failure on the grid but chose to start the Qatar Grand Prix to collect as much data ahead of round two next weekend at the same circuit.
Viñales’ victory awards him 25 World Championship points and puts him at the top of the standings, while Quartararo sits in fifth 14 points adrift. Rossi collected four points in his SRT debut, whilst Morbidelli missed out on a point paying position. Yamaha and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team also lead the constructors and teams’ championship with 25 and 36-point totals after Round one.
The MotoGP paddock will have a few days rest before roaring back into action for the second visit to the Losail International Circuit for round two of the championship.
Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar Results:
- Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
- Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +1.092
- Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) +1.129
- Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) +1.222
- Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) +3.030
- Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) +3.357
- Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) +5.934
- Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) +5.990
- Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) +7.058
- Enea Bastianini (Esponsorama Racing) +9.288
- Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) +10.299
- Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) +10.742
- Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +11.457
- Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +14.100
- Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +16.422
- Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Esponsorama) +20.916
- Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) +21.026
- Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) +23.892
- Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) +46.346
- Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL) +9 Laps
- Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU) +16 laps
- Danilo Petrucci (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) +0 Laps
South Africa’s leading riders gathered for a showdown near the Magaliesberg mountain range this weekend. In what was one of the most competitive events the National Enduro Championship has seen, the country’s top riders when head-to-head over the unforgiving terrain renowned to the Hartbeespoort area.
It was a bitter-sweet season opener for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna. Star rider Brett Swanepoel was forced to pull out of the event after battling with a stomach virus and ultimately the risk of severe dehydration. After his effort to be “the most prepared he’s ever been for a National Enduro” a disappointed Swanepoel explained: “I did everything possible to come into this event as prepared as I could. I tried to stick it out for four laps until I started becoming extremely dehydrated and realized that this situation was unfortunately out of my control. Thank you to my team who backed me today.”The silver-lining for the Husqvarna camp, however, was the eye-catching performance of new recruit Heinrich Aust. The rider not only snatched up second in the E1 Class, but finished fourth overall amongst the country’s leading Enduro riders. We catch up with the Aust after his unforgettable debut race:
What were some of the stand-out moments of your Rockstar Energy Husqvarna debut?
Just arriving at the event was so exciting - I showed up and the team had already set up and were ready for the day of racing. It was super cool to have their support from start to finish.
Like we expected, from the get go it was a race between Bradley Cox and I. It was really tight for the first three laps before he managed to get slightly ahead of me. I just focused on holding onto my pace and trying to make the gap smaller. I was super happy to take second place and get such a solid start to the season!
What kind of bike setup did you use for this event and how did it feel?
I used Michelin Enduro Medium for the front and a Michelin Enduro Medium back tyre, with a soft Michelin mousse at the back. It held up so well – I’m very stoked with it and could probably use it for another race! For suspension I went a bit harder om my clickers and rebound to suit the terrain – I knew it would be fast and flowy with lots of rocks.
I absolutely love racing the Husqvarna TE 150i, it’s so light and the power delivery is smooth, fast and never misses a beat.
It was a highly competitive field on Saturday. What did you learn from racing against some of South Africa's top riders?It was a super competitive field! I really enjoy that - it gave me an idea of what to expect for the rest of the season and the kind of pace I need going forward. It also gave me a good opportunity to get used to racing at that level on my TE 150i. I’ve been on that bike for the past two years now and feel like I’ve really got a grip on how to race it now.
Now that you've gotten a taste of the kind of season you're in for, what are you goals for the rest of the year?
The format is a bit different this year – there is a National Enduro and an Extreme Enduro Championship. I have signed up for both, but my riding style suits the extreme stuff the most. I am just excited to grow as a rider through all of it. After Saturday I have a better idea of what I am up against this season and I am looking forward to seeing what I can achieve with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna.