|Posted on March 1, 2018 at 4:45 AM|
After blitzing past the world’s top hard enduro riders for a Roof of Africa podium, bringing home three National Enduro titles, and defending their overall National Cross Country crown for the second consecutive time – it’s safe to say that the Brother Leader Tread KTM team had an exceptional year of riding in 2017.
The start of a new season dawns this month, and the unrelenting hunt for championship titles is about to begin again. The rider line up has been confirmed, and fans are rallying up as the 2018 Brother Leader Tread KTM squad prepares to take on one of their biggest seasons yet.
Scott Bouverie will lead the way for his team in the National Enduro series. After fighting tooth and nail for the E1 championship last year, a new coveted title has caught his eye. The rider has made the move to the E2 class this year on a KTM 300 EXC TPI:
“I wanted to win the E1 last year and I did it, and now I plan to do the same in E2. I'm excited - I've raced this class before, and really enjoyed the bike!” he said.
Bouverie will also be doing selected races abroad this year. Having conquered Erzberg Rodeo in 2017, the rider will attempt to finish with a solid overall position this year. He will also be competing in Red Bull Romaniacs and Red Bull Sea To Sky.
Brother Leader Tread KTM teammate, Dwayne Kleynhans, narrowly fell short of E1 glory when Bouverie beat him to the top step of the podium in 2017. With a laser focus on taking the championship this time around, Kleynhans will once again compete in the E1 class on his KTM 250 EXC-F.
“My mindset is to do one thing, and one thing only – win the 2018 National E1 title. I really believe in my abilities and work ethic and don't see why it's not possible,” said Kleynhans.
He will also compete in Red Bull Romaniacs and Red Bull Sea to Sky, and comments on one international ambition in particular: “Another main focus this year is to finish Erzberg Rodeo. It would honestly mean the world to me to achieve that,” he said.
South Africa’s enduro queen Kirsten Landman has raised her hand for a daunting challenge in 2018. After blazing through the Silver Class with a whitewash last year, she has signed up for the E2 class in an attempt to up her pace and refine her technical skills.
As she takes on new territory with a KTM 250 EXC TPI as her weapon of choice, she said: “I need to keep raising the bar, so I’m aiming to gain more experience this year on a bigger and faster bike. There’s a lot to learn, and I want to get onto equal playing grounds with my competitors.”
To add to her ambitious pursuits, Landman has also decided to represent the Brother Leader Tread KTM family in the National Cross Country OR3 class.
After a high-speed accident that almost ended her career, she has openly expressed a fear of speed that has haunted her for years: “Going back to offroads is something I thought I would never do again. But here I am, preparing for a full National Cross Country season. It’s time to conquer my fears because I have my heart set on much bigger challenges in the future,” she said.
Landman will be part of a massive six rider line up committed to the National Cross Country season for Brother Leader Tread KTM.
Taking centre stage is defending OR1 champion Ross Branch. The Botswana native is fondly known as the ‘Kalahari Ferrari’ for his impeccable speed and offroad skills.
His focus this season extends even further than the hope of securing a hat trick OR1 title as he gears up for his greatest challenge yet – the 2019 Dakar Rally. The Cross Country season will serve as a crucial training ground in preparing him for his ambitious pursuit:
“Going to the Dakar is a test of a rider in almost every facet of this sport. Racing the Cross Country season helps prepare me for the speed that I'll need to take on Dakar. Many of the South African races have a similar distance to some of the Dakar stages, which also helps,” said Branch.
As the defending OR1 champion, he added: “I'm so excited to get the season underway. I'm going to give it everything I possibly can to keep that number one plate!”
Another rider chasing the familiar feeling of championship glory is Juan 'Bollie' van Rooyen. He will once again attempt to stake his claim in the Senior Class and defend his victorious title for the fifth year in a row!
As he charges into the season on a KTM 350 XC-F, his recipe for success is quite simple: “I plan to enter a couple of enduro and motocross events to help with my overall performance. But my main goal is always the same – thoroughly enjoy the rush of riding dirt bikes!' he said.
After making a welcomed return to racing in 2017, Louwrens Mahoney has raised his hand as a man to beat in the OR2 category. Wanting to reclaim the number one plate that was once on the front of his bike for years, he said:
“When I returned to racing last year I expected that I could just pick up where I left off. In a class of riders who have a high work ethic and are extremely talented, I humbly learnt that I had to start from the bottom again. What you put in is what you get out – so it's going to take hard work and consistency from my side to get that number one plate.”
Louwrens switched over from a KTM 250 SX to a KTM 350 XC-F in the middle of last season, and feels confident on his weapon of choice.
Returning to the Cross Country scene after injury is Louw Schmidt.
Schmidt made his OR1 debut last year and described the 2017 season as the “toughest year of racing” he's had. With the learning curve behind him, the rider has narrowed his focus on claiming consistent podiums again:
“At the last race of the 2017 season, I gained enough confidence to ride my KTM 450 XC-F to its full potential. There's been ups and downs, and I had to be off my bike for four weeks after surgery. But I'm hungry for this season and want to finish on the podium at every single event I enter,” said a determined Schmidt.
He will be joined by teammate Jarryd Coetzee who will enter the OR3 class. Coetzee sat most of the 2017 season out due to a knee injury, but is fit and ready to take on the rest of the field on his KTM 250 XC-F.
The National Cross Country season will kick off on Saturday, 3 March, in the Eshowe (KZN).
Picture Caption: Enduro legend Kirsten Landman signs up for one of her most challenging season yet.
Photography by: www.zcmc.co.za
Categories: FMN News South Africa