2020 Brother Leader Tread KTM Team. The wait is finally over…
This weekend marks the start of the National Cross Country and Enduro season which kicks off in Lesotho on Friday, 7 February. Ahead of one of the most highly anticipated championships of the year, Brother Leader Tread KTM has announced its star-studded line-up.
The hunt for the National E2 glory will be spear-headed by Scott Bouverie. The enduro rider will enter the season on a high after his recent performance at the Motul Roof of Africa where raced against both local and international talent to finish second overall.
It’s been three years since his last national title, and after coming painfully close to taking the E2 crown last season Bouverie will set off with all guns blazing on Saturday.
Relieved to be back on her KTM 250 XC-W TPI is enduro queen Kirsten Landman. The rider recently returned from Saudi Arabia where she became one of the first South African women to finish the iconic Dakar Rally.Having achieved what many describe as the ultimate goal of a motorsport rider, Landman mentioned wrestling with the question of ‘what’s next’. She explained: “I couldn’t be happier to have gotten that Dakar finisher’s medal – it’s honestly a dream come true. But at the same time, the whole experience made me realize how much enduro riding will always be the sport I’m most passionate about. I can’t wait to get back onto my smaller bike and take on some technical terrain! The year ahead is full of possibilities and hard enduro races I still want to conquer, and that makes me so excited.”
Lining up with the team after a truly unforgettable racing year is Bradley Cox. The multi-disciplined star steps into the season as the reigning OR3 Cross Country Champion. He fought tooth and nail to snatch up his first cross country title and is about to pull out all the stops in defense of the red plate.
Cox also comes into the Enduro Championship swinging on his trusty KTM 150 XC-W TPI. After his debut performance at the Roof of Africa in December, where he narrowly missed a top 10 Gold finish, the rider has shaken off his rookie status and made it clear that he will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Like Cox, Brother Leader Tread KTM teammate and reigning OR2 Champion Jarryd Coetzee has signed up for both the National Cross Country and Enduro Championship. The rider is more renowned for his Cross-Country talent, but hopes to change that as he steps into new territory:
“I grew so much as a rider last year, especially after the fight it took to win the championship. I want to keep that momentum going and continue to grow in all facets of this sport. There’s absolutely nothing stopping me from trying something new, so I thought I might as well give enduro a shot!” said Coetzee.
A new face lining up with the Cross-Country team is Tristan Purdon – a motocross rider from Red Bull KTM. Take one look at his credentials and there’s no doubting that Purdon has the pace for this sport. While it might come as a shock to see Purdon as a Cross Country rider, the decision to sign up for the season came naturally to him.
“I’ve grown up on a farm, so this kind of riding isn’t new to me! I’m excited to try shake things up this year and looking forward to seeing how I perform this weekend,” he said.At the time of this press release, it was unclear whether star rider Ross Branch would be able to race the first National Cross-Country event of the season. Like Landman, Branch only recently returned from Saudi Arabia following his ground-breaking performance at the Dakar Rally.
He unfortunately sustained a shoulder injury during the event and is waiting for the green light to race again.
1 WORLD TITLE, 18 VICTORIES, 47 PODIUMS
AND 7 DIFFERENT YOUNG RIDERS ON THE PODIUM
Tavullia, January 30th 2020. The adrenaline journey of the Sky Racing Team VR46 along the 2020 season – starts the March 8th in Qatar – is revealed from the home of the young Italian motorcycling talents. In Tavullia, land of training and pure fun, Sky and VR46 are happy to be back at work for ready for a new season in the World Championship.In the place of worship of a sport that will never cease to thrill, where champions and friendships are born, the new Team, one of the most successful in recent years, presents the new bikes and riders. The only Team with four young Italian promises in both classes: Luca Marini and the newly arrived Marco Bezzecchi in Moto2, Celestino Vietti Ramus and Andrea Migno in Moto3, back here after 2 years. All of them on track to hit ambitious goals and give fun and entertainment after 6 seasons of great achievements: 1 world title with Francesco Bagnaia in 2018, 18 victories, 47 podiums and 7 different young riders on the podium.2.0 GRAPHICS – Many innovations dictated by a strong iconographic link with the history of the Team. The design department of the VR46 has redesigned the Team's graphic appearance starting from the logo, which now dominates the entire surface of the bike. It is played with colors, which reflect even more the young and sparkling aspect of the Team: the silver is now combined in an unusual way with the fluorescent yellow of the VR46 logo, while the chromed blue leaves room for the shiny metallic Candy, which becomes the absolute protagonist of this 2.0 graphics.THE TEAM – Pablo Nieto, the reference point of the Sky Racing Team VR46, remains at the head of the Teams for the 6th consecutive year in the role of Team Manager in Moto2 and Moto3. Luca Brivio is confirmed as Team Coordinator and Roberto Locatelli riding coach of the VR46 Riders Academy. New opportunities into the pits to encourage the growth of the riders, but also that of the technicians and all the professionals who work behind them. In Moto2 Sergio Martinez, former data technician of the Team, is promoted as crew chief of Marco Bezzecchi, while Jairo Carriles will support Luca Marini. In Moto3 Marco Urani is confirmed with Celestino Vietti Ramus, while Danilo Angeli, former crew chief in Moto2 in 2017 and data technician in Moto3 in the two-year period 2018/2019, will guide Andrea Migno.
What is Quest?
Honda Quest True Adventure is not a race or a rally, it is an adventure expedition, designed to test human endurance and adaptability. It is the ultimate adventure motorcycle competition, on the ultimate adventure motorcycle; the all-new Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin.
Finalists will be tested and judged on their adventure motorcycle riding, mechanical skills, as well as their endurance, courage, and resilience against the African terrain. They will also be presented with numerous challenges by the Quest instructors.Do you have what it takes?
We are looking for true adventure riders of Southern Africa. Men and women of courage who are adventurous, don't shy away from physical and mental challenges, take the initiative and function as part of a team.
How to Enter?
Entries to Quest 2020 will open on February 10, 2020.
Simply visit the official Quest website at www.quest-trueadventure.com for details.Costs and logistics
Participation in the Honda Quest True Adventure 2020 is free, however travel to and from Cape Town for the boot camp and Quest is not included.
Entrants should take note of the dates for boot camp and the actual Quest event, should they need to apply for leave from their workplace.
Apart from the title of winning Quest True Adventure 2020, the winning team will each win the Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L that they used during the Quest True Adventure event.
Alessandro Botturi Wins Second Successive Africa Eco Race Aboard Yamaha Ténéré Inspired WR450F Rally
Yamaha’s Alessandro Botturi has claimed victory at the 11th edition of the Africa Eco Race. After taking the lead of the 2020 race at the close of day three, the Italian was never headed over the remaining stages and rode on to claim a deserved victory.
Despite a small set back in September 2019 due to injury, the Italian veteran wasn’t deterred and arrived in Africa focused on challenging for the event win. Alessandro duly raced his WR450F Rally into a top-three position on five stages, including two wins. Over the 15-day event, and a race-long battle with his closest rival Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Botturi eventually claimed victory with a winning margin of three minutes and 59 seconds.Botturi won the 2020 edition of the Africa Eco Race, which covered 6500km and crossed the territories of Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal, aboard a WR450F Rally featuring a livery inspired by the legendary Ténéré Dakar racers from the mid-eighties.
Alessandro Botturi: “After my crash at the Panafrica Rally in September, I took some time to recover. When I began riding again, I was more thoughtful and patient on the bike. It’s been a fantastic event, with some amazing stages, terrain and battles. I’d like to thank my Yamaha team who have supported me – winning the Africa Eco Race is just fantastic. I would also like to dedicate the victory to my friend and former teammate, Paulo Goncalves, who was tragically lost during the 2020 Dakar Rally.”
Andrea Colombi, Country Manager for Yamaha Motor, Italy: “Alessandro is a rider that stands out for his ability, determination, passion and strength of mind. He was always in control and consistent, and the end result is amazing. He is a true champion and combining such a rider with the technical qualities of our WR450F Rally, it’s created a winning combination.”
Eight years after the return of the official Team HRC squad to the world's toughest rally, Honda rider Ricky Brabec has topped the overall podium, having commanded from the start of the rally to the final special held in Saudi Arabia.
With the victory, Ricky Brabec (Hesperia, California, USA) becomes the first ever American rider to clinch the Dakar Rally. The rider concluded this year's edition with two stage victories, in a rally which he led uninterruptedly from stage three. Consistency proved to be Brabec's secret weapon, while deft navigational skills and pace aboard the Honda CRF450 RALLY also helped him scoop the most coveted prize in off-road racing.
Monster Energy Honda Team delivered an excellent showing throughout the entire 2020 Dakar Rally campaign. The rally covered some 5000 kilometres of timed special stage and a total distance of 7800 kilometres, where, in addition to the two Brabec stage victories (stages 3 and 6), can be added those of José Ignacio Cornejo (stage 4 and stage 12), Kevin Benavides (stage 7) and Joan Barreda (stage 10), as well as plenty of top partial times, with the Honda squad seizing podium lock-outs on both stages 3 and 10.This represents the sixth Honda victory at the Dakar Rally after the five clinched in Africa, the most recent occurring 31 years ago: Ciryl Neveu (1982, 1986, 1987), Edi Orioli (1988) y Gilles Lalay (1989) took the previous top honours. In 2013, Honda returned to the Dakar Rally after a 23-year absence. During that eight-year spell, Team HRC has been on the final podium on two occasions: Paulo Gonçalves (2015) and Kevin Benavides (2018) both in runner-up positions.
First, I would like to congratulate Ricky Brabec on his victory. Also, I thank Joan [Barreda], Kevin [Benavides] and José [Ignacio Cornejo] on their fine performances. And finally, I thank the team staff and development team for making this win possible. It has been eight years since we returned to the Dakar, and by learning from our losses, and everyone involved working hard, we've finally won. The relentless work of everyone involved over the past eight years, in other words a Team Honda effort, made this possible. We must not forget that Paulo [Goncalves] contributed immensely to the first six years, and we thank him, and pray he rests in peace. We are also deeply grateful to all of our sponsors, and our fans worldwide.
Oh yes, the first of the new and heavily revised Yamaha R1s has just arrived in South Africa. Both models are pictured here, being the ‘basic’ R1 and the highly technical R1M version. Click here www.yamaha-motor.com for all technical information.
Both bikes are available to view at World of Yamaha right now. No prices are confirmed as of yet, but get in touch with the contacts below for more information and dealer locations.
Call: World of Yamaha (011 259 7604) or visit www.yamaha.co.za
KTM South Africa's Branch and Landman conquer 2020 Dakar Rally
Just like that, the 2020 Dakar Rally has drawn to a close. Taking their place in a select group of athletes to have conquered the iconic event this year is Southern Africa’s very own Ross Branch and Kirsten Landman.
Branch, the rider fondly known as the “Kalahari Ferrari”, has finished the event in 21st place overall. While the result is not what Branch was hoping for, the 2020 edition brought equally ground-breaking highs as it did devastating lows for the rider.
A crash on stage three and a hole in his rear tyre on stage six set Branch back immensely, despite his impressive efforts to climb back up the leader board. However, with a stage victory and multiple top-five stage finishes in the bag, this could be the start of the career in Rally racing that Branch has always dreamt of.
Even with the pain of a shoulder injury that he sustained after his crash, Branch revealed a deep sense of grit for eight stages and was able to prove to the world that he can not only persevere but compete with the front-runners in this sport. “This Dakar was one of the toughest races of my life... I crashed early in the race and had to ride with an injury, but at the same time I had some of the best results in my career. It’s been an emotional roller coaster, but I’m so happy to have made the finish line. I can’t thank everyone enough for all the support, it has been incredible!” said Branch.
While his 2020 Dakar comes to a close, it seems that the best season of his Rally career is only just beginning. “Seeing Ross cross the finish at the end of the second stage, knowing he has taken the stage win, was something so special and so rewarding, nobody can ever take that away from him and it’s something we will remember forever. With a stage win and his comeback after injuring his shoulder the following day, riding the remainder of the race in immense pain, he has shown what he is made of and his never-give-up attitude is something I find inspiring and hugely respect. The Dakar Rally can be kind to you and it can be cruel, you never know what you are going to get and Ross got quite a bit of both and learnt from the good as much as the bad. I can’t wait to see what the future of Rally racing holds in store for him,” said KTM South Africa’s Managing Director Franziska Brandl. For South Africa’s motorsport queen Landman, the 2020 Dakar journey was as much about getting to the start line as it was about finishing the race.
The rider is more renowned for her technical abilities as the first female to finish many of the world’s toughest hard enduro events. Based on her long list of credentials, many deem Landman as ‘fearless’ in her pursuit of racing.
Landman, however, entered the Dakar with a determination to overcome her greatest fear of them all – speed. The rider was involved in a serious accident in Botswana six years ago and has since avoided any races that require high speeds.
After conquering what was described as one of the ‘fastest Dakar race in years’, Landman couldn’t be prouder of her accomplishment. Not only did she finish the event but placed an impressive 55th overall.
“My goal was to stay consistent and get to the finish, and it was hard not to get into the hype of racing at times! I weighed up the risks and found a pace that I could manage – slow and steady wins the race! I found that I got faster and more confident as the days went on though, and I couldn’t be happier to have finished so high up. I certainly didn’t expect that!” said Landman.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that the Dakar Rally would be something that Kirsten will ever want to tackle. What I do know however is that once she puts her mind to something it’s hard to convince her otherwise and her willpower and determination is something truly special. Seeing her cross that finish line in Saudi Arabia was quite a magic goose bump moment and from being by her side through her lowest lows to celebrating this high makes me even prouder of her. To her and all other Southern African riders that conquered the Dakar Rally, we salute you, you are all heroes!” said Brandl.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, together with everyone involved in the 42nd running of the Dakar Rally, tonight mourn the loss of one of rally racing’s much-loved competitors – Paulo Goncalves.
The experienced rally racer, who was contesting his 13th Dakar Rally, sadly lost his life 276 kilometres into today's stage seven.
All at Yamaha offer their heartfelt condolences to Paulo's family, friends and team at this very sad time.
Tomorrow's stage eight has been cancelled by the Dakar Rally organisers as a mark of respect.
For the second year running, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s Justin Barcia kicked off the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship with a win at Anaheim I. His teammate Aaron Plessinger battled back from a tough night to finish 12th, Saturday night at the Angels Stadium of Anaheim.
Barcia came out swinging with a Heat win to show his intent. He carried that over into the Main Event with another stellar start and moved into the lead early. The Florida resident held onto that lead until a few laps before the halfway mark. He made an error in the challenging track conditions but was able to minimize the damage and get back on track quickly in second. Barcia kept pushing and was able to move back to the front after an error from the race leader. He put his head down and knocked down the laps to return to the top step of the podium, his fourth victory in the premier class.
Unfortunately for his teammate Plessinger, his sophomore season in the 450 class did not begin as planned. A first turn crash in his Heat race put the 23yr old in the LCQ and had him fighting to take the last transfer into the Main. He then got a really good start from the last gate pick to salvage the night with a 12th place finish.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing team heads east to St. Louis, Missouri, next Saturday, January 11, for Round 2 at the Dome at America’s Center.
The curtains of the Motul Roof of Africa, infamously known as the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’, drew to a close in Lesotho this past weekend. It was a particularly memorable event for Husqvarna South Africa, who in 2019 welcomed the entry from world-class rider Graham Jarvis.
It’s no secret that the 44-year old has entered the latter part of his career, and spectators relished every moment of watching the legend race through some of the world’s most unforgiving terrain.
After an electrifying Enduro Cross event in the city of Maseru, Jarvis managed to qualify second for the first race day in the Mountain Kingdom. On a grueling 180km route that had most elite riders in the saddle for close to eight hours, it was reigning Roof of Africa champion Wade Young who managed to open up a gap on the rest field. The chasing pack of Jarvis, Kyle Flanagan and Scott Bouverie were left to battle it out for the remaining two spots on the podium.
It was a disappointing start to the event by his own high standards for Jarvis , who then came back on the second and more technical race day with a point to prove. Doing what he does best over challenging terrain, Jarvis finished the day with the fastest race time of 05:54:21.
His comeback was impressive, but despite bridging the gap that had been opened up on the first race day Jarvis missed the podium by just two seconds. It was a spectacle to watch the rider put up a fight regardless, and fans will wait with an eager anticipation of seeing him return in 2020.
For the PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING squad, the event brought the kind of breakthrough that Brett Swanepoel and Matthew Green had been waiting for. The majority of 2019 has been a building season for Swanepoel, who has slowly been making his comeback after an injury that almost ended his career. With a fifth place overall at the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’, the rider has undoubtedly reinstated himself as one of the front runners in this sport.
The future looks bright for Swanepoel, who will enter the new year as a favourite for the 2020 National Enduro Championship and fierce contender for the next edition of the Roof of Africa.
It was a momentous event for teammate Matthew Green. Taking full advantage of his bigger TE 300i this year, the rider managed to hold the pace of the leading pack throughout the event. At just 18-years old, he pulled off a top ten for the first time in his promising career.
“I needed to step it up this year and I had a point to prove. I couldn’t be more stoked with a top ten finish and know that this is start of much bigger things in my career,” said Green.
Husqvarna South Africa's Brand Manager Fred Fensham gives a parting shot: “With what I termed our 'Awesome Threesome', we went to this years Roof full of confidence. Securing Graham once again for the event was incredible and he did us proud – Friday was not his best day and he did not find his mojo, but he once again proved that he is still one of the best with the fastest time on Saturday. His parting shot to me – “Ill be back!” Brett and Matt both really made us proud and to see them both in the top seven was just great. Three Husky’s in the top 7 gold finishes is for me a very proud moment !”