KTM South Africa made history this weekend by hosting the first sell out Adventure Rally that the orange brand has seen.
The event took place in Swaziland from 23-25 August, and was one of six locations chosen by KTM to showcase some of the most scenic and adventurous trails on earth.
Close to 300 riders arrived at Lugogo Sun Hotel for registration on Thursday, with the likes motorsport legendsLyndon Poskitt, Ross Branch and Alfie Cox in the mix.
"This kind of event is really important for the adventure community we have in South Africa. It brings us all together and keeps our passion for this lifestyle alive," said Cox.
For some riders, the appeal of this event in particular came from far more than the promise of an untamed Swaziland adventure.
Riaan Neveling, Marketing Manager of KTM South Africa, had hearts racing when he invited riders to compete in the 'Ultimate Race' for a prize worth R500,000.
Specific challenges were presented over the weekend, and the two top competitors, Christiaan Odendaal andGreg Hodgskin, were awarded an all-inclusive trip to the iconic 2019 Merzouga Rally in Morocco.To top things off, the lucky riders will be given a brand new KTM 790 Adventure R to tour with.
For international participants, the rally was an opportunity to experience the unique and truly South African sense of adventure.
Harrison Norton from KTM Australia was moved by not only the heart-felt support from local Swazi people, but the wild and carefree spirit of South African riders.
"It's been wild! Every time we rode past the locals, they were genuinely so excited and would run out to see us... I've never seen that kind of thing in Australia. The South African people are really incredible - small issues like the rain on Friday didn't dampen the mood at all. They're just so ready to make the most of every situation and the friendliest group of people I've come across," Norton enthused.
A stand-out aspect of this event was that it not only catered for bike-mad dad's and 'beers and the boys’ but was an all-inclusive family experience.
Many wives signed up as pillions, even for the tougher and more technical orange route. After 234 km's of wet and windy trails on Friday, BeauAnn Jordaan commented:"I'll admit that sometimes I turn that microphone off when I need a break from all the banter! But on a serious note, being a pillion creates an incredible bonding experience with my husband. I'd really encourage more women to try it."
A parting shot from Belgium's Yve's Grofils, who flew out for the KTM Adventure Rally for the second year in a row:
"When KTM decided to organise this event, I just couldn't miss it! I arrived here and was welcomed by the same South African motorcycling family I've grown to love, and this adventure in Swaziland with them this weekend was everything I expected and more."
Yamaha Motor Europe N.V is pleased to announce that Jeremy Seewer has been drafted into to the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team where he will campaign a YZ450FM alongside the former MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre inside the 2019 FIM MXGP World Championship.
The former two-time MX2 vice World Champion has made a successful transition into the premier class, MXGP, where he has formed a special relationship with the Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP Team and has improved his performance onboard his YZ450F at each and every Grand Prix thus far.
With fifteen rounds from twenty of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship complete, Seewer - who is currently eighth place in the Championship Classification and is the best placed rookie - will finish the season onboard a YZ450F with full support from the Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP Team where he will wrap the year up as captain of Team Switzerland at the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations in Red Bud, USA, on October 6th and 7th.
Fresh from the unveiling of the 2019 YZ250F back in July, Yamaha Motor Europe and Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 are pleased to announce that Jago Geerts will debut the all-new bike at the Belgian Masters tomorrow in Balen, Belgium, while Ben Watson will make his debut on the cutting-edge machine at the MXGP of Switzerland in Frauenfeld-Gachnang on the weekend of August 19th.
As the 2018 Open Dutch Champion in the 250cc class, and by claiming his first ever MX2 Grand Prix podium finish back in May at the MXGP of Latvia, eighteen year-old Jago Geerts has already reached a number of career milestones in his rookie season. The talented young Belgian is all set to put the all-new 2019 machine through its paces on home soil tomorrow Wednesday 15th August where he hopes to add to his already successful season.
Ben Watson is currently fourth in the MX2 World Championship and has been a podium contender all season-long. The highly skilled Briton will line the 2019 YZ250F up for the first time at the MX2 Grand Prix of Switzerland with hopes that the improved handling will help him achieve his goal of finishing inside the top-three in the championship.
Both riders have been testing the new generation YZ250F that has already proved popular among riders, particularly for the new electric start. The bike's weight is identical to the weight of the 2018 model that had no electric start. The 2019 YZ250F is narrower and more compact, offering extra stability and control over rough terrain, better braking, and even greater traction. The power delivery is also more linear which means the bike has a smooth delivery of power and acceleration is optimized. The fuel and ignition maps can be altered to suit any rider or track terrain/conditions via the all-new 'Power Tuner Application'. The app offers real-time engine data and diagnostics and has a maintenance screen that logs the number of running hours etc. An archive of data is also accessible. It is FREE of charge and can be downloaded on any smartphone via the AppStore or on Google Play.
Indian Motorcycle and Lee Munro attempting to reach 200 mph at 2018 Bonneville Speed Week Legendary Land-Speed Record Holder’s Great Nephew Returns to Bonneville Salt Flats Aboard Indian Scout “Spirit of Munro”
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (August 6, 2018) – America’s first motorcycle company, Indian Motorcycle, have announced that Lee Munro, the great nephew of the legendary land-speed racer Burt Munro, will attempt to break 200 mph at Bonneville Salt Flats this August. Equipped with the Indian Motorcycle engineering team and the newly modified Indian Scout dubbed “Spirit of Munro”, Lee Munro is back and prepared to eclipse his previous official speed of 191.286 mph at the upcoming 70th annual Bonneville Speed Week.
In preparation for this year, Indian Motorcycle’s engineering team has worked on refining the Indian Scout Streamliner which will run in the MPS-G (Modified Partial Streamliner) 1350 cc class. Lee Munro’s record-breaking run of 186.681 mph at El Mirage and official run of 191.286 mph at last year’s Speed Week has motivated the team to update the bike with modifications to the intake and minor body adjustments, to help Munro break into the exclusive 200-mph club.
“Indian Motorcycle was honoured to partner with the Munro family last year and pay tribute to Burt’s incredible accomplishments and land-speed record set in 1967. We’re eager to be back on the salt flats with Lee and the ‘Sprit of Munro’,” said Gary Gray, Vice President – Racing, Technology & Service for Indian Motorcycle. “Our engineering team led by Wayne Kolden and Dan Gervais have put long hours into developing a bike capable of hitting the 200-mph mark and we’re excited to watch Lee pursue this goal. I would also like to thank our sponsors Cargill Station Ltd, Garry Robertson of Ocean Ridge Kaikoura New Zealand and Jerry Stinchfield of Roof Systems of Dallas, TX for helping us get to the salt.”
Lee Munro attributes his love for speed to the bloodline he shares with his great uncle, Burt Munro, who famously set a land-speed record in 1967 aboard a 1920 Indian Scout. In 2005, Burt Munro’s legacy was immortalised with the making of the popular film, “The World’s Fastest Indian,” starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and in 2017, Lee Munro celebrated the 50th anniversary of his great uncle’s record with a commemorative run at Bonneville Speed Week.
“My great uncle Burt is a significant inspiration for my own motorcycle racing career, and his appetite for speed is clearly a part of my DNA,” said Lee Munro. “Partnered with the exceptional team at Indian Motorcycle, I know we can make our dreams of hitting 200 mph a reality.”
Speed Week will be held August 11-17 in Bonneville, Utah. This six-day event is created for determined riders who not only have a quest to be record holders, but also to ride at one of the most legendary locations for speed runs.
The month of August will bring some of the most exciting events of the season for the Red Bull KTM squad.
In just over two weeks, star rider Camden Mc Lellan will attempt to realise his dream of becoming a world champion. The 14-year old has been marked as a favourite in the Junior World Championship taking place in Horsham, Australia.
The title looks especially promising for Mc Lellan after his recent EMX 85 victory where he became the first South African in history to claim a European Championship.
The youngster made the move to Germany this year so that he could commit to a full international season of racing. While the decision has brought great reward, it has also come with many sacrifices for Mc Lellan.
“It’s hard to leave behind everything familiar at this age. But becoming world champion comes with sacrifices… and that’s what I want to be,” he explained.
Mc Lellan seems undaunted as he prepares to take his place at the start line with the very best in this sport.
Confident in his ability to bring home the coveted title, he commented, “I already got a feel for some of the competition in Europe, so I have a good idea of what to expect. I know I have what it takes to win this, so all I can do is put myself out there and give it my very best shot!”
Mc Lellan will join the rest of the Red Bull KTM team in the Western Cape this weekend for the fifth round of the National Motocross Championship.
He will take on both the High School and Pro Mini Class at Zone 7 on Saturday - a track that is renowned for deep ruts, epic jumps and an interesting mix of sand and hardpack.
His teammate, Jonathan Mlimi, will head into the event as the favourite for the Pro Mini Championship. With only three races left on the calendar and a 30-point lead, the prestigious title is well within reach for the rider.
“So excited to have Camden back this weekend! I’ve been racing with him since we were on a 50cc – there was a battle between us and we’ve pushed each other ever since. I’d like to go overseas too someday, but for now my focus is on the Pro Mini Championship,” said Mlimi.
Motocross legend Kerim Fitz-Gerald is still in the fight for the MX2 Championship. The rider currently holds the third spot on the leaderboard, and will attempt to chase down front runners David Goosen and Caleb Tennant.
With ruts and sections of hardpack in store, Zone 7 is just the kind of track that Fitz-Gerald needs at this stage of the series.
“Those sections of the track definitely excite me and suit my style of racing, so I’m looking forward to getting back to that,” he said.
The remainder of the orange squad will head into the event looking to salvage every championship point they can get.
MX2’s Joshua Mlimi and MX1’s Ross Branch both hold the eighth spot in their respective classes, while youngster Nate Mc Lellan is a mere five points away from stepping back onto the Pro Mini podium.
Rising above what has been one of the most challenging Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours weeks of recent years, The Yamaha Factory Racing Team delivered an heroic effort today to secure an incredible fourth consecutive victory in the iconic World Endurance race. Fellow Yamaha competitors GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team came tantalisingly close to securing the 2017/18 Endurance World title, missing out by the narrowest of margins to take second on the podium. YART Yamaha Official EWC Team had a less fortunate Suzuka 8 Hours experience, forced to retire before the halfway point.
As race day dawned this morning, Yamaha Factory Racing riders Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark prepared for the 2018 Suzuka 8 Hours with a huge challenge in front of them. Following a big crash in practice, it was decided that key team member and local hero Katsuyuki Nakasuga would not ride in the race as a shoulder injury prevented him from riding at 100% fitness. Undaunted by the setback, van der Mark took control for the opening stint, a race start that was itself a major challenge with rapidly changing weather bringing full wet conditions just seconds before the off.Remaining calm the Dutchman didn't put a foot wrong, working his way up from fifth to take his position as a race lead contender before handing over to teammate Lowes. The Brit picked up where van der Mark left off, and was leading the race two hours in. The team would quickly encounter a safety car, which proved to be the first of many over the next hours, rain, sun, crashes and spilt oil on track all causing the yellow flags and a re-shuffle of the order. The time spent in between the safety cars was a pitched battle between Yamaha Factory Racing and race rivals Kawasaki, the two racing less than a second apart for countless laps as they fought for the lead.
A combination of race strategy, safety car interventions and pure consistent race speed ultimately gave Lowes and van der Mark the edge over their rivals in green, however the final hour of the race saw the Factory Honda effort give it their best shot to close the gap. Having made it this far, the two Yamaha heroes, supported in spirit by Nakasuga-san in the pit garage, kept an unbeatable pace on their YZF-R1. Lowes eventually crossed the finish line after eight hours over 30 seconds clear at the front to record the team’s incredible fourth consecutive Suzuka 8 Hours victory. In doing so, he and van der Mark wrote yet another page in the history books for Yamaha Factory Racing and confirmed their status as heroes, overcoming any challenge in their path to reach the top step of the podium.The combination of the two World Superbike riders, Nakasuga’s invaluable contribution over the race week and the efforts of the entire Yamaha Factory Racing Team have turned a Suzuka week of surprises, rain, a typhoon and unforeseen challenges into an incredible success story.
Title challengers GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team came to Suzuka determined to give their all in the fight for the World Championship victory. Starting from 14th on the grid they were also faced with the same series of challenges that befell the Factory Team, rapidly changing weather conditions from dry to wet to dry and numerous long safety car interruptions that disrupted their rhythm and made the challenge of fighting for the title more difficult. The first four hours of racing saw a lower race pace as riders David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Mike Di Meglio worked through the weather. As the time tipped over the halfway mark, the team settled, the pace picked up and the position climbed.
As the clock ticked down to the remaining laps, the team found themselves in a battle with their title rivals FCC TSR Honda, the two less than a second apart at times. Unfortunately they were unable to best them, eventually crossing the line after eight hours in sixth position to claim a worthy runner up position with second in the Endurance World Championship to end their season and also, sadly, their current EWC activity.YART Yamaha Official EWC Team’s 2018 Suzuka 8 Hours proved a disappointing one, the promise of a strong result lost in the first half of the race. Australian Broc Parkes lost several positions from the start grid in the rain conditions but was making up time before handing over to teammate Marvin Fritz who put the pressure on. Fritz delivered a highly competitive pace to ultimately bring the no.7 YZF-R1 into seventh position.
Teammate Takuya Fujita then took his turn and was eager to make an impression in front of his home crowd. A combination of fresh tyres and nervousness at his first ride unfortunately led to a high side on his first lap, causing major damage to the bike. He was able to push it back to the pits and the team worked hard to rebuild it and re-join with Parkes back on-board in 55th place. The Australian was however unable to find a rhythm with the quickly built machine and, missing the proper set up of their race bike, the team made the decision to withdraw for safety reasons.
This weekend marked a proud moment for the South African world of motorsport.
Camden Mc Lellan, a 13-year old motocross racer from Germiston, made history when he swept up the 2018 FIM European Championship.
He now becomes the first South African rider to have ever claimed a title in European Championship history.
With five consecutive National Championships behind his name, Mc Lellan’s potential has fast become a talking point for local motocross fans. The youngster was first exposed to the international circuit two years ago, where he proved to have more than enough speed to keep up with the world’s top racing talent.
“With our first few trips to the USA and Europe, we quickly realised that he had enough speed to compete but just needed exposure to that level of competition on a regular basis if becoming a pro would ever be on the cards,” explained his mother, Cheryl Mc Lellan.A turning point in the rider’s fast-growing career came in 2017 when he managed to balance his pursuit of another South African National Championship with a part-time racing schedule in Europe.
He was ultimately crowned Pro Mini Champion for the second time, and made the bold decision to leave South Africa and base himself in Germany to commit to a full international season of racing.
In what he describes as the ‘biggest race of his career’, Mc Lellan lined up as the underdog. A slow start put him in 13th place where he began to chase down the world’s leading riders.With a few laps left in the first moto, he pulled off enough passes to take the lead and ultimately storm to his sweetest victory yet. A similar situation unfolded in the second moto where a second place finish saw him snatch up the overall win.
“I am extremely happy with the win, especially after coming in as the underdog. It feels awesome to beat everyone who underestimated me! Racing overseas is super competitive, and that’s what I need. It been hard to leave all my friends behind to come and live here, but it’s a sacrifice I have to make to be a World Champion… and that’s what I want to be!” said Mc Lellan.
With the prestige of winning a European title, the future looks bright for South Africa’s rising motocross star. Mc Lellan is also leading the ADAC German Championship by nine points, and with three rounds left has another massive win on the cards.
His ultimate goal this season is Junior Worlds in Horsham, Australia, on 24-25 August, where he hopes to realise his dream of becoming a world champion.A parting shot from a proud Darrel Fitz-Gerald, his Red Bull KTM coach:
“I don’t even know where to begin – it’s not everyday that a guy from South Africa does something like this in such a short period of time. I’ve worked with Cam from a very young age, and we never set goals too far out of reach. We just focused on building a great foundation and winning came when the time was right. Camden feeds of confidence, when he believes he can win he’s unstoppable! The Mc Lellan family are extremely driven and passionate, and I really believe his winning secret lies at home.”
Franziska Brandl Managing Director of KTM South Africa had the following to say about Camden Mc Lellan:
“When we started integrating Juniors into our Red Bull KTM Team we didn’t quite know what to expect. Over the years however we have seen the youngsters grow and surpass all our expectations. Camden has impressed us so much over the years and he sure has what it takes to take his racing career further and continue to reach his dreams and goals. It is a privilege for us to be able to part of this journey,” said Franziska Brandl.
If you’d like to support his journey to Junior Worlds a fundraiser event will be hosted at Ridgeway Race Bar, Edenvale, on Thursday, 26 July. Contact Janine for more details – 083 328 7609
The penultimate round of the National Cross-Country Championship took place in Swaziland this weekend. The event saw South Africa’s top racing talent set off to conquer rolling hills and uncharted forests to salvage every championship point left.
In amongst the crowd of highly-entertained spectators was motorsport legend Alfie Cox, who witnessed his son storm to the overall victory. The young and upcoming Bradley Cox took the lead in the early stages of the 320km route and managed to hold the gap on a strong group of riders chasing him down.
It was a win that came down to the wire as Cox finished just seconds ahead of his closest competitor, KTM’s Jarryd Coetzee. The race for the OR3 Championship has now been brought back to life as riders prepare to fight tooth and nail at the final event of the season next month.
“I had to really dig deep to hold onto that lead going into that last lap. It was a long day out there, and the varied Swaziland terrain was extremely demanding. So good to have my dad here to support – he has a lot of experience and gives solid advice,” said young Cox.
To have witnessed his son’s glory was especially significant for Alfie Cox, who happened to claim his first ever victory in Swaziland 30 years ago.
“Bradley has never felt that he has to ‘fill my boots’, and I’ve never put that pressure on him either. I don’t need to live out my dreams through my son, I’ve achieved what I wanted to in this sport and Bradley is becoming his own champion. I provide the tools he needs, but the motivation and dedication it takes to win – that’s all from him,” said Cox.
Adding to excitement was the battle that unfolded in the premier OR1 Class. It has been one of the tightest championships in years with Ross Branch and Kenny Gilbert racing neck-and-neck for the prestigious title.
Branch had some bad luck at the time trial on Friday when he partially flooded his bike at a river crossing. His Brother Leader Tread KTM team worked late into the night to get him back at the start line on Saturday for the main event, but the penalty ultimately saw him set off in 15th place.In a true ‘never day die’ attitude, the rider managed to claw his way back up the leader board to finish the race in second behind Gilbert.
Branch managed to save his championship lead which he now holds by a mere three points. Race fans are in for an epic season finale where a victory for either Gilbert or Branch will see them win it all.
Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes will again lead Yamaha's assault on the FIM Superbike World Championship in 2019, after the two riders agreed terms with Yamaha Motor Europe during the recent Misano race weekend.
The 2019 season will be van der Mark's third in Yamaha colours. The former European Superstock and FIM World Supersport champion secured two podium finishes during his debut season aboard the Yamaha YZF-R1 in 2017, an achievement he has already surpassed in 2018.
The 25-year-old Dutch rider has finished on the podium seven times already during the first half of the 2018 season, including a career first WorldSBK win in Race 1 at Donington Park. Van der Mark then went on to take victory in Race 2 at the British round to secure his first double win during what was his most successful WorldSBK event to date. Van der Mark currently lies third in the 2018 championship standings with 248 points.
Van der Mark has also enjoyed success at the Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race, winning on three of the five occasions he's contested the race, with his last victory coming in 2017 when he rode for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team alongside Lowes and Katsuyuki Nakasuga.
For Lowes the 2019 season will be his fourth with Yamaha's official WorldSBK team, of which he's been an integral part since Yamaha made their official return to the FIM Superbike World Championship in 2016.
The 27-year-old British rider has secured seven podium finishes for Yamaha since the start of the 2017 season, including a first race win at this year's Czech Republic round in Brno. Lowes currently lies equal fifth in the 2018 championship standings with 193 points.
The former British Superbike Champion is also a two-time winner of the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race, having taken back-to-back victories for Yamaha in 2016 and 2017.
Having secured their rider line-up for the 2019 season, Yamaha's official WorldSBK team is fully motivated to return to action after the summer break, for Round 10 of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimão, Portugal, which takes place from 14-16 September.
The Yamaha racing family were out in force to showcase the past, present and future of Yamaha Motor Corporation at this year's world-renowned Goodwood Festival of Speed, which took place on the country estate of committed motorsport enthusiast the Duke of Richmond over the weekend of 12 - 15 July.
The event, enjoyed by more than 100,000 people on each of the four days, also provided the perfect backdrop against which to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Yamaha's iconic YZF-R1.
The past was represented by the original Yamaha YZF-R1, which was launched to critical acclaim back in 1998. Eric de Seynes, President of Yamaha Motor Europe, rode the bike, resplendent in Yamaha's distinctive red, white and black livery, up the famous Goodwood hill in front of a capacity crowd on Friday.Representing the present on Friday were McAMS Yamaha British Superbike riders, Josh Brookes and Tarran Mackenzie, who made multiple trips up the Goodwood hill aboard a range of current Yamaha machinery, including Michael van de Mark's race winning Pata Yamaha WorldSBK machine and a 2018 YZF-R1 race bike sporting a one-off 20th anniversary livery.
The two British Superbike riders also showcased two of Yamaha's current road models, with Mackenzie ascending the hill on the Yamaha YZF-R1M alongside Brookes on the ground-breaking Yamaha Niken.On the Saturday and Sunday Yamaha's current WorldSBK riders, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, shouldered the riding responsibilities. The Pata Yamaha pairing, both race winners this season, were joined by World Superbike legend and firm fan favourite, Noriyuki Haga.
While Haga thrilled the assembled crowd aboard both the 1998 and 2018 versions of Yamaha's YZF-R1, van der Mark did his first runs up the 1.86km Goodwood hill on his double race winning WorldSBK machine before switching to the road going YZF-R1M.
"I really enjoyed the Goodwood Festival of Speed," commented van der Mark. "The number of bikes and cars from all eras assembled for the hill climb was impressive, as was the massive crowd of race fans who lined the route all weekend. Even more special was to celebrate 20 years of the Yamaha YZF-R1, with Noriyuki riding the 1998 bike, Alex on the 2018 Suzuka bike with a livery inspired by the original and me on the race bike that has secured Yamaha three wins this season. A great event and an enjoyable weekend."Lowes completed most of his hill runs on a 2018 YZF-R1 race bike with the same 20th anniversary livery that the Yamaha Factory Racing Team will sport at this year's Suzuka 8 Hour race. The 27-year-old British rider did however manage to squeeze in one run with the Yamaha Niken, his first experience of this unique machine.
"What a fantastic experience," declared Lowes. "There is no other event quite like the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where motorsport fans can get up close and personal with so many riders, drivers and their machines. It was nice to be a part of that but, for me, it was also incredibly interesting to see the history of motorsport collected together in one place. It was the perfect setting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Yamaha YZF-R1 alongside Michael and Nori, who I hadn't met before. He's a great guy."
It wasn't just Yamaha's human riders that were in attendance at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed however. Representing the future was Yamaha's famous MOTOBOT, which took pride of place in the event's Future Lab exhibition.
The autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot was one of the star attractions of the Future Lab, generating massive interest amongst the thousands of visiting motorsport fans, who were given a tantalising glimpse into the MOTOBOT project by Project Director, Amish Parashar.