|Posted on March 1, 2018 at 4:30 AM|
The 2018 season for the PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING team kicked off with the devastating news that star rider, Brett Swanepoel, had crashed at a cross country event earlier this month.
The severe extent of his injuries meant that the multi-disciplined athlete would be side-lined for a large majority of what looked to be his most promising season yet.
The heavy atmosphere hanging over the Husqvarna camp has finally lifted, however, as the hope of a new rider arrives - and just in time for the start of the National Cross Country season.
Meet Taki Bogiages, the man who has answered the call to step in for Swanepoel and stand tall for the PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING team.
The Pretoria based rider, who races with the #222 number plate, admits to looking up to Swanepoel as a role model for many years, who ironically races with the #111 number plate:
“He’s been one of the idols in my riding career since the 2013 Roof of Africa, and I’ve been privileged enough to race against him in the OR3 class in the National Cross Country series. We’ve often seen each other over the past few years, and always have a good laugh before and after a race,” he said.
To add the irony of the story, it was Bogiages who witnessed Swanepoel’s devastating accident. Instead of grabbing the opportunity to potentially win the race, Bogiages got off his bike to support his friend. Describing the event he said:
“Brett was in the lead, and I suddenly saw his bike go tumbling out of the corner of my eye. When I got to him, I saw the severity of the crash and immediately called for help. I tried to keep him calm and control the bleeding.”
Just over a week later, Bogiages got the call from Husqvarna asking for his full commitment to both the OR2 class of the National Cross Country season and E2 class of the National Enduro season.
Husqvarna South Africa's brand manager Fred Fensham comments, "With our current OR1 champ and E2 Enduro hopeful out it has been a scramble to reload in these categories at such a late stage, but we are extremely excited to have secured Taki to step into the team and he has truly grabbed the opportunity by the horns! He is an exciting young rider and has slotted into the Pepson team very quickly - so we back on track and I am confident of a good season - I’m also sure we will have Brett in the pit while he recovers to give lots of advice and moral support!”
For a social rider in his final year of Bsc Chemistry, Husqvarna presented a tall order. Bogiages did not hesitate, however, and signed up for what could be the most exciting season of his riding career.
He does not take the opportunity lightly, and said: “I want to get on that OR2 podium as often as I can, and ultimately push to walk away with the championship. This will possibly be my greatest challenge and the highest goal I hope to achieve, but I feel like I am capable with proper time management,” he said.
His ambitious pursuits extend into the National Enduro series, and he adds: “I’ll be racing against what I believe to be some of the best riders in the world - what a challenge! But I want to improve with each round, and aim to finish in the top five of my class.”
The rider comes with a strong foundation of experience. He grew up on a small holding and has been exposed to the motorcycling world from a very young age. After receiving his first full set of kit as a Christmas present, he stepped onto the Cross Country scene at 16-years old and has never looked back.
After a year of competitive racing, he realised that he needed to work on his technical skills. Most novice riders would start the learning process at an enduro track over the weekend, but Bogiages decided to speed things up and enter the silver class of the infamous Roof of Africa instead.
With just two months to prepare, the rider admits to realising what he had signed up for: “People started telling me how tough this race was going to be, so I just spent as much on the bike as possible with the short time I had left to train,” said Bogiages.
Needless to say, he conquered the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’ on his debut attempt in 2013 (one of the toughest Roof of Africa events to date) and crossed the Silver Class finish line in 21st place.
His list of achievements has only been extended since then with a 2016 Gold Class Roof of Africa finish, a 2017 GXCC OR3 championship title, and an OR3 win at the final round of the National Cross Country series last year.
As Bogiages takes on one of the busiest seasons of his life, he remains as confident and collected as the year he conquered the Roof of Africa with minimal training: “The racing season ahead is as busy as the last year of my degree. It’s going to mean a lot of early mornings and late nights, but it’s what I love doing so I’ll make it work!”
Published by: ZC Marketing Consulting Media
Categories: FMN News South Africa