|Posted on July 25, 2017 at 5:30 AM|
Thunder Valley rolled around as the next stop on the National MX calendar, smack bang in the middle of winter and the Red Bull KTM SA squad were all lined up to take as many points off the plate as possible. The season has been a tough one so far, so the team was all out to take the best results possible and either improve or extend in their team and individual fights for titles.
With two entries in the Pro Mini class, it was always going to be a great result in the pairing of Camden McLellan and Jonathan Mlimi.
For Camden, his day got a great boost early on as he came second into the first turn in the first Moto and a quick move for the lead to take win number one for the day. The second Moto was a little more eventful for the king of the class. Chopped down to third early on but the passes were also made early to get out of the roost and see clear air to the flag. McLellan went one for one to take the overall win at Thunder Valley. The championship is looking good.
Team mate and a fellow contender in the Pro Mini class Jonathan Mlimi had a rough gate in Moto one ending up having to battle his way to a third place finish. A better start in the second moto put him in second where he tried to hold the wheel of his team mate as he passed for the lead early on. A third and second meant that it was a second overall on the day for Mlimi and a lock out of the top two steps of the podium. Perfect result for the team and the two Pro Mini stars.
Nate McLellan was in the stacked gate of would-be race winners as the Junior 85cc class lined up. A fall early in the first moto meant it was going to be a chase-from-behind kind of day and the older McLellan brother clawed his way back to a fifth place finish to start his day. A much-improved gate and opening lap in the second moto put Nate McLellan into second place and with that, a third overall was achieved.
Joshua Mlimi was one of two pro’s riding for their factory Red Bull KTM squad in the MX2 gate. The gate itself became a real problem for the class though as it hung up and caught a lot of riders out in the first moto. Both Mlimi and team mate Kerim Fitz-Gerald got caught up in the hesitating gate and suffered in their results. Moto one had Mlimi with a fifth and Fitz-Gerald just ahead with a fourth and some work to do for the overall.
The second moto was a cleaner gate for both as Fitz-Gerald pulled a holeshot and Mlimi ran third into the first turn. Both riders dropped down come the end of the race though with Fitz-Gerald good enough for a second place and with it a second overall for the class on the day and Mlimi sighting fatigue for his drop to fifth in the moto to claim a sixth overall on the day.
Fitz-Gerald also lined up in the MX1 class as one of the few riders trying to nail down two championships in 2017. In moto one a holeshot was the best way to start for the multiple champion but an uncharacteristic mistake with a stall of the machine meant a drop down the pack early on into third place. More problems throughout the moto saw Fitz-Gerald in a lowly tenth position come the end of a dramatic moto.
A lot of work between the motos gave Kerim an improved machine for the second gate of the 450 class and another holeshot put him in a great position, but he just couldn’t convert the win. The race ended with a fourth and a lot of points lost in the championship.
With the final two rounds remaining the points available are becoming scarce. It will be the final push for the Red Bull KTM team to nail down their championships in 2017, as they move to Harrismith KZN for round 6 the National tour on the 2nd of September.
Whilst the MX squad catch their breath after the tough weekend in Thunder Valley the Brother Leader Tread KTM Factory Enduro team have already made their way across to the next round of the Red Bull Extreme Enduro tour and the legendary Romaniacs event in Romania. The mid-season for the team is busier than ever with the majority of the riders making it out to the Erzberg Rodeo just a short month and a half ago, and in between hitting the National Enduro series as well as a handful of standalone events.
Travis Teasdale is in form coming off a top ten finish at Erzberg and will look for similar if not better results as he heads to the Carpathian Mountains of Romania along with team mates Dwayne Kleynhans and Kirsten Landman.
Kleynhans will be looking for a better result than Erzberg where he suffered from an illness that slowed his progress. This will be ‘Dwayno’s’ fourth visit to the event where he will look to improve on his highest ever finish of 15th in the Pro class.
In 2016 Kirsten Landman became the first ever Ladies finisher in the Expert class and made a real name for herself in the world of Extreme Enduro. 2017 will be her fourth ever visit to the event where she will look once again to finish and possibly improve on her previous rides.
With six to eight hour days in the saddle over five days of arguably the most testing and challenging terrain the world has to offer we wish the Brother Leader Tread KTM team the very best of luck at the Red Bull Romaniacs 2017.
Published by: Inside Line - (KTM)
Picture Caption: Kerim Fitz-Gerald grabs holeshot in second moto of the MX2 class in the 5th round of the National MX at Thunder Valley in Pietermaritzburg
Categories: FMN News South Africa