SOUTH AFRICAN RIDERS RETURN TO RACING
Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing is about to unleash seven months’ worth of racing energy. This weekend marks the return of the National Cross Country Championship under strict Covid-19 regulations.
Having fully recovered from a near career-ending injury, star rider Kenny Gilbert is ready to wage war in his pursuit of that elusive first OR1 title . The championship evaded his grasp last season and Gilbert is about to pull out all the stops as he attempts to make his way onto to the top step.
Not only will this season serve as redemption for Gilbert, but also form part of a much bigger 2022 Dakar Rally plan.
“Everything happens for a reason - I truly believe that. I was considering retirement last year, but I still have so many things I need to accomplish before I end my racing career. To finish with the number one in the National Championship would mean a lot to me, and then going back to Dakar next year is something I’ve really set my mind to,” said Gilbert.
As he looks to the season ahead, Gilbert added: “I was obviously initially nervous about getting back on the bike and not being able to race like I used – but I saw at that first national in Lesotho that I still have the pace I did before my injury. That gave me the confidence I needed to take on the rest of the season.”
Joining Gilbert this weekend is his Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing teammate Brett Swanepoel. The rider will be eager to pick up where he left off after opening the 2020 season with victory.
It’s been a while since Swanepoel last tasted national glory, and with way he started the season he now knows that he has what it takes to pull off a title winning season.
Husqvarna South Africa's Brand Manager Fred Fensham commented: “Sadly under the Covid 19 regulations we cannot welcome back the race fans to the event, but I can assure all our supporters out there that we are ready to give the championship our full commitment. It's been absolutely ages since the opening round of Cross Country in Lesotho and it's going to be very interesting to see who has put in the work and who is still rusty. As far as the PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA outfit is concerned, both our athletes and technical team have been focused and I feel are 100% ready. With the support of Motorex and Michelin as our technical partners and our title sponsor Pepson Plastics that have supported us throughout this tough time, we are going out there to win!”
South Africa's motorsport heroes return to racing
After being deprived of racing for just over seven months, South Africa’s motorsport heroes are about to be let loose. The second round of the National Cross-Country Championship will take place at Rhino Park on Saturday, 12 September, in a race environment significantly modified to comply with Covid-19 regulations.
Spearheading the hunt for a championship title in the prestigious OR1 Class is Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Charan Moore. As the promising new recruit of the team, Moore takes his place at the start line sporting the red plate reserved for the championship leader.
To shake off the cobwebs and get back into race mode, Moore signed up for a GXCC Racing event last weekend – Gauteng’s regional racing series. With a first place in the OR1 Class and third place overall, Moore proved to be as confident as ever.
Looking to defend his 2019 title is reigning OR2 Champion Jarryd Coetzee. With a current second place in his class overall, Coetzee will leave no table unturned as he looks to reclaim the top step.
“I'm very excited to be back in the mix and reunited with my KTM team family. It's been a long lay-off, so the nerves are setting in, but I'm looking forward to getting out there and having some fun,” said Coetzee.
Eager to pick up where he left off is Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Bradley Cox. The multi-disciplined star couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2020 season after he claimed both the Cross Country and Enduro victory in Lesotho. With a strong determination to keep the winning momentum going, Cox will look to defend the maiden OR3 Cross Country title that he worked so hard to achieve in 2019.
Tristan Purdon, who started the season with the team this year, will no longer be racing in the Cross-Country Championship but will instead be committing fully to chasing the National Motocross Championship.
KTM South Africa’s Marketing Manager Louwrens Mahoney commented, “After an unexpected pause in the racing season, we are excited to be #BackInTheRace. Even though we were able to all stay connected and active during various KTM campaigns during lockdown, there is nothing that can compare to racing itself. I am confident in our team and know that their dedication and commitment during the lockdown will result in competitive racing and solid championship points.”
Honda Motor Southern Africa is proud to announce its support for Riding for a Limb, the South African non-profit organisation which raises funds to provide prosthetic limbs to amputees in need.
The organisation, founded by double-amputee Gerda du Toit and Charl Beukes in 2014, has provided 54 artificial limbs, costing more than R9 000 000, to 18 children and 8 bikers during the past 6 years.
Riding for a Limb raises funds by organising sponsored bike and car drives, including Gerda’s own 4431 km bike ride on a Honda Integra in 2016, less than 2 years after losing both of her legs due to diabetes.
“I went from a wheelchair to a bike in 2 years, and it completely changed my life,” says Gerda. “Riding for a Limb is about more than just giving amputees mobility – it transforms lives, families and communities. Giving amputees access to prostheses allows them to dream as big as they want to.”
A basic prosthesis can cost anything from R80 000. An above-knee amputation is a minimum of R120 000. This excludes re-fits, which cost anything from R60 000.
“Most amputees do not have the funds to get medical treatment such as physio and attending rehabilitation centres. Therefore, we go to their homes and workplaces where we assist with their rehabilitation and teach them to walk again,” says Gerda.
Because a child grows, they continuously need new prostheses. With an adult, the stump changes and loses volume (becoming smaller). Amputees therefore require new prostheses as their bodies change. It can take up to 5 years for the stump to reach its final size. A prosthesis that doesn’t fit properly can result in wounds on the limb as well as other – potentially very serious – complications, it is therefore imperative that the prostheses fit properly.
Riding for a Limb is committed to ensuring that 100% of donated funds are used for recipients.
Honda is providing Riding for a Limb with a sponsored Jazz Sport. “Even limited support can make a substantial difference” says Dinesh Govender, General Manager of Corporate at Honda Motor Southern Africa: “Honda believes in the power of dreams. What that really means is our power as human beings to make a difference, and to make our dreams and the dreams of others come true. Imagine the transformative power of giving people back their mobility. Every contribution makes a permanent difference in someone’s life.”