The first round of the National Motocross season opened up in Port Elizabeth today.
Results wise, it was a mixed bag for the Red Bull KTM squad.
Kerim Fitz-Gerald is pleased to have finished on the podium in MX1 today.
The rider admits to being slow off the starting blocks in Moto 1 and worked hard to fight his way back to third place: “By the time I got to third the top guys had a good lead, which is hard to close down on a rough track like this,” he said.
He managed to get the holeshot in the second heat, but fell back into third after making a few mistakes halfway through the race.
A similar story unfolded in MX2, where Fitz-Gerald ended the day in fourth place: “It honestly feels like a win to end the day like I did. I had a rough start to the season in PE last year, so I’m really happy to have walked away with some decent points this time around,” he commented.
It was the orange young guns who dominated the first race of the season.
Rising star Camden Mc Lellan made his High School class debut, and is elated to have taken third.
Jonathan Mlimi blazed his away over the rough terrain to take the overall Pro Mini win. Not far behind him was teammate Nate Mc Lellan who snatched up the second spot on the podium.
“I had a really good start in the second heat and managed to take the lead. It was my race after that and it felt really good! I enjoy this kind of rough terrain, but I’m glad to have PE out of the way,” said Mlimi.
It was a tough day out in MX2 for Joshua Mlimi, who did not start the season as he had hoped.
Glad to be done with the notorious track of Port Elizabeth, Mlimi has taken some valuable lessons from the race: “I’ve had much better starts to the national season, but I’ve taken a lot of positives out of today. A few silly mistakes let me down, and I’ll come back swinging in the next round,” he said.
Missing from the Red Bull KTM team was MX legend Ross Branch, who had to sit the event out due to a lingering foot injury.
Preliminary Red Bull KTM results:
1 Purdon, Tristan (47 points)
2 Tennant, Caleb (47 points)
3 Fitz-Gerald, Kerim (40 points)
1 Raynard, Anthony (47 points)
2 Tennant, Caleb (41 points)
3 Purdon, Tristan (39 points)
4 Fitz-Gerald, Kerim (39 points)
13 Mlimi, Joshua (17 points)
1 Sangster, Justin (47 points)
2 Durow, Cameron (45 points)
3 Mc Lellan, Camden (42 points)
1 Mlimi, Jonathan (47 points)
2 Mc Lellan, Nate (47 points)
3 Tully, Hayden (40 points)
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales ended the third and final day of MotoGP testing in Buriram, Thailand, securing 10th and 12th place respectively in today's rankings.
Using his time from yesterday as a benchmark, Rossi had a clear target whilst completing his testing schedule. He tried some tyre specs, evaluated various settings and worked on the electronics, so by the end of the day his pace was noticeably quicker on the final run.
The Italian completed 70 laps in total and wrapped up the third day of testing in tenth place, posting a best time of 1'30.511s on lap 69, 0.730s off the front. This result put him in 12th position in the combined timesheets.
Viñales started the session again as soon as the green light at the end of pit lane went on. He was eager to try out the new setting he found yesterday, as well as making some final decisions on the engine and the chassis. However, he was unable to find the same feeling he had the day before.
Though he was unable to beat his time from yesterday, the Spaniard went the extra mile to provide feedback, completing 69 laps in total. His best effort, a 1'30.590s set on lap 66, put him in 12th place in today's testing results, 0.809s from the top. His best Day-2 time, a 1'30.274s, earned him eighth place in the combined Day 1-2-3 standings.
The wait is almost over, and South African riders are about to unsettle some dust as the 2018 motocross season begins. The Red Bull KTM Racing team have announced the rider line-up that will kick start the first race of the season in Port Elizabeth this Saturday, 17 February.
With a wealth of experience and knowledge, team manager Darrel Fitz-Gerald will once again lead the hunt for championship titles.
“In my 28-year career of MX racing I was fortunate enough to travel the world and witness first-hand what it takes to be successful in this sport. I know the physical and mental demand that MX riders face, and will guide and advise the team in every way that I can,” said Fitz-Gerald.
Kerim Fitz-Gerald is considered by sports reporters as the ‘usual suspect’ for a podium finish in both MX1 and MX2.
Since first taking a seat on a bike at the age of four, Fitz-Gerald has dominated every age group on the South African motocross circuit in various championships.
As the most experienced rider on the team, he will take his place at the start line with nine national championship titles to his name.
He set off on the back-foot last year when he suffered from an injury during the first race of the season. Unsurprisingly, he managed to claw his way back through the ranks to finish the overall MX1 and MX2 season on the podium.
It is no secret that the 31-year old local hero has stepped into the latter season of his MX career. It has been a year since he walked away with a national title, and Fitz-Gerald is determined to make the most of every opportunity for MX glory that he can get.
“Right now I’m still racing to win. And when I can’t do that anymore, I’m going to keep giving back to the motocross community and give other youngsters the same opportunity to race that I’ve had,” said Fitz-Gerald.
Team manager Darrel Fitz-Gerald notes: “From what we’ve seen, Kerim’s consistency really starts to pick up mid-season. This year we want to change that and have him come in better from round one.”
This season marks the start of Joshua Mlimi’s third year in the MX2 class, where he plans to break through the elusive barrier that has kept him from the podium.
The young gun has edged painfully close to an overall third spot for the last two years, and is determined to throw off his “rookie” status as an MX2 rider and raise his competitive edge.
“I want to finally crack the podium in the overall standings. I’m no longer a rookie in the MX2 class and have enough experience to get the job done now,” said Mlimi.
He mentions making fitness a priority in his pre-season preparations and adds, “I’m feeling good on and off the bike right now. Fitness is a huge aspect of racing – both mentally and physically. I noticed a big change mid-season last year when I suddenly stopped worrying about what everyone else was thinking, and started believing in myself.”
Ross Branch will be a hot contender in the MX1 class this season. The Botswana native, who is suitably known as the ‘Kalahari Ferrari’, is no stranger to the world of motocross.
He boasts an array of titles as the 2011 FIM Motocross champion and a multiple African Motorcycle Union (AMU) winner.
“I’m really looking forward to the 2018 MX series – this year marks 25 years of racing for me so it’s really nice to be lining up with the best riders in South Africa,” said Branch.
The rider was welcomed to the Red Bull KTM team last year, and balanced the motocross season with a determined pursuit of a back-to-back Cross-Country victory.
He has a narrow focus on the MX podium this season, and said, “I’m giving it my best and want to see that KTM 450 SX-F on the podium!
Camden Mc Lellan will step into the new season with a high level of confidence after raking the Pro Mini class in a complete whitewash last year.
The youngster has been ear-marked as the next best thing for the South African motocross scene, and will represent his country overseas for a large portion of the 2018 season.
“It’s a big year for me. I can race in the ADAC and European Junior Championship, where I’ll be working hard to get podium results. My sights are also set on Junior Worlds again in Australia this year – I want to win that title,” said Mc Lellan.
He spent two weeks at the end of 2017 training in Germany to get used to what he describes as “different conditions and gnarly tracks.”
Locally, the youngster will make a step up to the High School class this season. He will only race four out of the seven rounds in South Africa on his new KTM 125 SX.
After witnessing his brother’s unrelenting pursuit of a championship title, Nate Mc Lellan will have the opportunity to blaze his own path of glory in the Pro Mini class this season.
The rising talent faced a seven-week setback after he broke his collarbone last year, but managed to fight back enough points to bow out of the 85-cc class with a respectable fourth place.
“I will be one of the younger riders in the Pro Mini class, and I know there’s many quality riders that I’ll be up against. But age is not a problem and my ambition is still to win the Pro Mini championship,” said Mc Lellan.
KTM has held the Pro Mini title for the past two years, so it will be up to Mc Lellan and Jonathan Mlimi to maintain that winning streak.
Mlimi is another young gun aiming for glory. He will make the step up to the Pro Mini class after ending the 85-cc chapter of his career on the podium.
Mlimi has high hopes of making 2018 one of his most memorable seasons yet. With a laser focus on the Pro Mini championship and another AMU title, he comments: “’I’ve put in all the work I possibly could, both on and off the bike. I just love my KTM 85 SX and can’t wait for the first gate to drop!”
2018 MSA National Motocross dates to diarise:
17 February: Rover Raceway, Eastern Cape
07 April: Thunder Valley, KwaZulu-Natal
19 May: BORC, Free State
07 July: Terra Topia, Gauteng
11 August: Zone 7, Western Cape
08 September: Welkom MX Track, Free State
20 October: Dirt Bronco, Gauteng
MT-10 SP, TMAX DX and XMAX 300 awarded in the product category
Yamaha Motor are pleased to announce that its MT-10 SP hyper naked sports motorcycle as well as the TMAX DX and XMAX 300 sport scooters have all received the internationally prestigious 'iF Design Award 2018'*. Each of these awards has been achieved in the product category, with 2018 being the fifth consecutive year for Yamaha Motor to receive this honour.
The MT-10 SP represents the pinnacle of the MT range. Designed for global roll out, the MT series of Yamaha hyper naked models delivers powerful and unique engine characteristics together with agile performance and a dynamic, naked style. Fully kitted out as a top-class model, the MT-10 SP is equipped with Öhlins electronically-controlled suspension and full colour TFT instruments - and its exclusive 'Silver Blu Carbon' colour scheme is inspired by Yamaha Motor's supersport flagship model, the YZF-R1M.
In 2001 the original TMAX pioneered the sports maxi scooter concept, and today the TMAX DX sport scooter brings the ultimate fusion and balance of two styles in one package. With its dynamic acceleration together with agile handling and outstanding braking, this premium maxi scooter delivers sports motorcycle levels of performance. Featuring a comfortable riding position and equipped with deluxe features such as cruise control and an electronically adjustable screen, the versatile TMAX DX is ideal for long distance commuting as well as weekend fun riding.
The XMAX 300 is the successor to the XMAX 250 that enjoyed great popularity in Europe, thanks to its fun ride and sporty character - along with its combination of comfort and functionality for efficient city travel and commuting. The new model offers even higher levels of comfort and daily practicality, while also delivering dynamic MAX family styling, responsive performance and a premium finish that all work to reinforce the pride of ownership associated with Yamaha scooters. Positioned in the middle of the sport scooter range, the XMAX series models are being rolled out globally.
* The iF Design Award is a design award organized by the iF International Forum Design, the world's longest-established independent design organization based in Hannover, Germany. Every year since 1953, superior designs are selected from industrial products etc. from around the world.
*KTM MY RIDE Navigation is not only exclusive to those with 2018 machines as owners of 2017 KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S & R can also benefit by activating this feature at an official KTM dealer. This requires with the purchase of the KTM MY RIDE app and the cost of installation
You’ll need to download a App before they can use the Navigation (App will cost 8.49 Euros). On ktm.com website he needs to register for the app and follow instructions. For easy access you can share http://www.ktm.com/my-ride/
Keep in mind:
For Android you need to visit https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.ktm.navapp after you have been added to the test users list (which may take up to two working days) to finally activate the app for your account. You can download it (search for MY RIDE) afterwards via the Google Play Store on your smartphone.
For iOS you need to install the official Testflight app from Apple. Insert the code that you will receive via e-mail (may take up to two working days) in the Testflight app and the KTM MY RIDE should appear for installation.
Yamaha Motor Europe is offering all talented YZ125 riders that were born between 2002 and 2005 an extended chance to enter the 2018 YZ125 bLU cRU Cup where he or she could win a professional contract with Yamaha Motor Europe to race the 2019 EMX125 European Championship. Registration will now close on the 28th of February.
In search of new motocross talent, Yamaha is running a competition where one promising young rider will be awarded a place within the Official Yamaha EMX125 team, where he or she will be supplied with a GYTR kitted YZ125 to compete in the 2019 EMX125 European Championship season.
The competition is open to all registered YZ125 riders who will be racing in 1 of 15 approved national championships. Up to 44 of the best performing riders will then be invited to finish the season by racing in The YZ125 bLU cRU Cup Superfinale, which will be held on the 29th and 30th September at the final round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Imola, Italy. The riders who finish inside the top three in the Superfinale, plus two wildcard riders selected by a jury, will be invited to attend the bLU cRU Masterclass at the end of the season.
The Masterclass is designed to inspire, educate and develop the next generation of motocross riders by providing an exclusive insight as to what it takes to be a champion. It will be run by a highly acclaimed bLU cRU ambassador and will take place over three days where the jury will select and reward one lucky rider who has proved he has the talent, motivation and desire to be something great, with a contract for the 2019 European Championship EMX125 season on the MJC Yamaha Official EMX 125 team.
As an official bLU cRU member you will receive a free bLU cRU welcome pack following your registration. The pack contains: two T-shirts, a hoody, an umbrella, a cap, a backpack, a bLU cRUwater bottle and an exclusive YZ sticker kit that all European YZ125 bLU cRU Cup contenders are obliged to use whilst racing in their national championships, and, in case qualified, in the YZ125 bLU cRU Cup SuperFinale and Masterclass.
Suzuki Auto South Africa is going to be issuing a recall of all 2017 GSX-R1000 and
There is a risk of selecting neutral when changing from first to second gear. This can result in damage to the chain and sprockets. To counter this we are going to be replacing the ECMs on these motorcycles and conducting inspections of chains and sprockets.
Until the recall has been carried out, all GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R sales have also been put on hold and all current owners have been advised to either stop riding their bikes or ride them with care.
The Implementation date of the recall is still to be announced.
To find an authorised Suzuki Dealer close to your area please visit www.suzukimotorcycle.co.za.
After a long winter wait, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team were back on track today for the first Official IRTA MotoGP Test of the 2018 season, held at the Sepang International Circuit. The first day of the three-day pre-season outing in Malaysia gave riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales a chance to get to know their new YZR-M1s and to start working through many test items. The teammates completed their first day back aboard their Yamahas in 6th and 13th place respectively.
The rain in the morning had Rossi venture out on track, keen on working on the wet setting of his bike and confirming the findings the team made in the Valencia and Sepang tests they held back in November. Heading out with a new 2018 pre-season helmet, he ended the morning stint in 12th place.
As his afternoon session got under way, a dry track was waiting for the Italian, who took this opportunity with both hands. With three hours remaining, he put his 2018 bike to the test and set a provisional fastest time of 2'00.799s. As his teammate and various competitors started to pick up their pace towards the end of the session, the pack got reshuffled. Rossi responded by reclaiming first place on lap 44/50, and retired to the pit early. A flurry of activity in the last 15 minutes saw him end up in sixth position with a 2'00.233s, 0.806s from first.
Viñales was also eager to get going aboard his YZR-M1 this morning, to do a race simulation and start working on the electronics and engine specifications together with his teammate. The Spaniard came prepared with a special Sepang Test helmet too, with a design inspired by the famous artist Salvador Dali, and held fourth place at the end of his morning runs.
The 23-year-old looked comfortable out on track in the afternoon and he continued to put in lap after lap. As the pace of the field started to pick up in the drier conditions, he temporarily took over top billing from Rossi, clocking an impressive 2'00.758s. The competition got more and more heated towards the end of the day, but Viñales stuck to his testing schedule. He dropped a 2'00.714s on lap 55/72, which ultimately earned him 13th place, 1.287s from the front.
The Italy-based Yamaha Factory Racing team travelled to Madrid not only to present a new livery, but also to celebrate its strong partnership with telecommunications giant Telefónica Spain.
The two companies signed a five-year partnership agreement in the premier class of road racing in 2014, underlined with Movistar becoming the team's title sponsor. In the past four years, Yamaha and Telefónica Spain's shared values and passion for innovation laid the groundwork for success, resulting in a MotoGP Triple Crown in 2015 and the MotoGP Team's Title in 2016.
However, the focus of the 2018 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Presentation event was set on celebrating the start of the new season, rather than commemorating past achievements. Eager to take on the challenge to push the limits even further in 2018, the two companies unveiled a new team logo, that shows Movistar's new colour scheme, with a light blue "M".
Masters of Ceremonies, Izaskun Ruiz and Dylan Gray, presented the launch event and soon welcomed the new Yamaha Motor Racing President and General Manager of Motorsports Development Division, Kouichi Tsuji, to the stage for a Q&A session. He shed light on how Yamaha is working on pushing the limits, before it was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director Massimo Meregalli's turn to discuss the 2018 preparations and how the team aims to rise to the challenges ahead.
The next guest speakers were nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi and former Moto3 World Champion Maverick Viñales, who are no strangers to pushing boundaries and breaking records.
Rossi is known to be Yamaha's most successful rider and is determined to further confirm his status in 2018, as he enters a sixth consecutive year with Yamaha Factory Racing since his return to the manufacturer in 2013. Moreover, 2018 will be his 13th season with the team since he first joined Yamaha in 2004.
Though the Italian had a strong start to the season last year - and briefly led the championship standings - two injuries sustained in separate incidents ultimately cost him a chance to fight for the 2017 title. Despite these misfortunes, the 38-year-old Italian secured six podiums in total, including a brilliant race win in the Netherlands. With a total of 115 Grand Prix victories written to his name, this year he'll be gearing up once more for his quest to secure a tenth World Title.
Viñales made waves on his first year with the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team. He joined the Factory Yamaha crew after gaining two years of experience in the premier class and was quick to make a name for himself as one of the key protagonists, securing third place in the overall rider standings in his first year with Yamaha.
The 23-year-old had a dream start to the 2017 season, taking two race wins at the opening rounds in Qatar and Argentina. He followed it up with a win in France to secure Yamaha's 500th Grand Prix victory. Though the remainder of the season was more challenging for the Spaniard, he still graced the podium a total of seven times last year, which only left him hungrier to compete at the front of the MotoGP field again during the 2018 season.
Finally, the President of Telefónica España, Luis Miguel Gilperez, was also put in the spotlight towards the end of the 2018 team launch ceremony. He further highlighted the close bond between Yamaha and Movistar, before it was time for the main event.
During the unveiling of the 2018 Yamaha YZR-M1, a new soundtrack, created by Yamaha Motor Racing Srl and Yamaha Music Europe GmbH - Branch Italy, set the scene of the action to come this racing season. Rossi and Viñales proudly presented their new bikes with a refreshed livery. Besides a revamped Movistar logo, the "Movistar M" design element on the bike is now white, making it blend in perfectly with Yamaha Factory Racing's aesthetics.
The team is also pleased to announce that, after introducing slogans of Yamaha Indonesia Motor Manufacturing ("Semakin Di Depan", or "One Step Ahead" in English), Yamaha Motor Vietnam Co., Ltd. ("Go Beyond") and Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. ("Blue is Fast") on the M1s last year, also Thai Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (http://www.yamaha-motor.co.th) will be featured on the bike in 2018.
Furthermore, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP is delighted that Software Cradle Co., Ltd. (http://www.cradle-cfd.com) has joined its sponsor line-up for 2018 (until 2020).
Matthias Walkner has won the 2018 Dakar Rally. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider completed the 14th and final stage of the event in eighth place, enough to ensure a hard-fought overall victory while also giving KTM a 17th consecutive motorcycle class win. Toby Price pushed hard to the finish, placing as runner-up on today’s stage to claim an impressive third in the overall standings.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Matthias Walkner entered the final timed special stage of the rally with a healthy 22-minute lead over his nearest competitor. Holding his nerve and completing the short 120km loop around the Argentinian city of Córdoba, the KTM 450 RALLY mounted rider did exactly what he needed to do to win the 2018 Dakar Rally. This victory, the first for an Austrian rider in the motorcycle class, is the 17th in a row for KTM, who have won each edition of the Dakar since the rally moved to South America in 2009.
Walkner has unquestionably put in a champion’s performance at this year’s event – the 40th edition of the Dakar Rally. The former FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion has ridden intelligently from the very first stage, finding the right balance between out-and-out speed and error-free navigation. Stage 10 was again a game-changer in the rally with Walkner ending the day with an almost 30-minute advantage over his nearest competitors.
In reaching the finish of today’s final stage in eighth position, Matthias was finally able to relax and celebrate a well-deserved win and let his historic achievement sink in.
Matthias Walkner: “It’s unbelievable - I can’t describe how it feels. This year’s Dakar has been so difficult, easily the toughest rally of my career. Navigation has been tricky pretty much every day. At the beginning of the race, all the top guys were so close with not much time between us. I just tried to keep on doing well each day without making any mistakes. Things were so tight right up to my stage victory. After that I aimed to finish each day safely and get to the end of the rally without losing my advantage. Luckily the tactics worked out and I’m here at the end now as the winner and it feels unreal. Thank you to my team and everyone that has supported me – we did it!”
Finishing as runner-up on today’s stage, Toby Price did everything he could to close down the gap on the riders in front of him. Playing catch up following an unfortunate navigational error earlier in the rally, Price’s speed in the final stages of the event have been phenomenal. His result today secured third place in the overall standings, an amazing feat considering the 2018 Dakar is the Australian’s first competitive outing since injury forced him out of the 2017 event.
Toby Price: “The final stage is over and it went really well. I’m happy to get to the finish line, that was always the main goal right from the start. I tried to push today to make up the time on Kevin (Benavides) but halfway through I knew five minutes was just too much and so I just aimed for a safe finish. To finish the Dakar is an achievement in itself, to come away at the end of this year’s race with a podium is unbelievable, especially after the year I’ve had. The whole team have come together and worked so hard, none of us could do it without them. I’ll concentrate on the 2018 season now and try to get a little stronger and come back here next year looking for the top-step.”
Similarly to his team-mate, Antoine Meo’s 2018 season has been plagued with injury. Coming into the Dakar the Frenchman’s goal was simply to get to the finish. Two stage wins and a successful rally later, Meo has placed an impressive fourth overall, a great achievement considering the difficulty of this year’s event.
Antoine Meo: “I am so happy to complete the race in one piece. Today was difficult, not because of the length of the stage but because we had to wait around a bit and it was hard to maintain concentration. I tried to push early on, but after making a small mistake I caught a truck in an awkward part of the track and lost some time stuck behind him. I had a couple of crashes this year but nothing too bad. I’m happy with how things have gone and would like to thank the team for getting us through it this year.”
Laia Sanz never ceases to impress. Despite two big crashes on the closing stages of the race, the Spaniard gritted her teeth and kept on going. Always close to the top-10, Laia eventually completed the Dakar in 12th overall. The multiple world champion, was over the moon with her performance.
Laia Sanz: “I am so happy to get to the finish, I am really pleased with my position too – it has been a very tough rally. I had two big crashes, which luckily didn’t cause too much damage to me or the bike. I am exhausted now but feel good because I am here, safely at the finish. I want to thank all the team for their help and now it’s finally time to relax.”
After close to 9,000km covered, one of the toughest rallies in history, the Dakar has come to a close. In only its second competitive outing the new KTM 450 RALLY has proven its worth and taken Matthias Walkner to his first Dakar win and KTM to its 17th Dakar victory.
Provisional Final Standings – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 43:06:01
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 43:22:54 +16:53
3. Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 43:29:02 +23:01
4. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 43:53:29 +47:28
5. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, 44:07:05 +1:01:04
9. Daniel Oliveras Carreras (ESP), KTM, 45:43:21 +2:37:20
12. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 46:02:03 +2:56:02