|Posted on September 20, 2018 at 3:10 AM|
It was a bitter-sweet end to the National Cross Country Championship for PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING.
As one of the top racing teams on the national circuit, two championships were on the line as star riders Kenny Gilbert and Taki Bogiages put up one last fight on Saturday for the OR1 and OR2 title respectively.
Despite an impressive win from Bogiages and a hard-fought finish in second from Gilbert, both riders walked away with a second place overall.
Crossing the final chequered flag of the season to add to the list of second’s was 55-year old Iain Pepper in the Masters Class.
Looking past the disappointment of narrowly missing two national titles, Husqvarna Brand Manager Fred Fensham summed it up perfectly:
“It’s always difficult to wrap up a season when the championships you wanted didn’t come your way. But at the end of the day, we are unbelievably proud of what we created – three second places in three premier classes. King Kenny raced his heart out as always, the new-recruit Taki Bogiages showed immense promise, and at 55-years old Iain Pepper showed a highly competitive streak – watch this space!”
Gilbert will now turn his focus to preparing for the ultimate test of man and machine – the 2019 Dakar Rally.
In just over three months the Cross Country legend will set off to soar the South African flag with the very best riders in this sport.
The bar-to-bar battle with rival Ross Branch this season will certainly have built a solid foundation for Gilbert as he prepares for one of the toughest motorsport events in the world.
“I gave this season 100% - unfortunately we came up second but that’s just the way it is. Now it’s time to move forward and put my head down training for the Dakar!” said Gilbert.
PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING teammate Bogiages left the Carletonville event in good spirits. It was a massive year for the 22-year old as he realised dream of racing as a sponsored athlete.
He put things into context on Saturday as he took his helmet off at the finish line:
“I pushed really hard for this Championship, and did everything I could possibly do today. At the start of the season I was still a privateer before I managed to pick up this Husqvarna ride – it was totally unexpected. I got to show my team what I was capable of this season, and the second place has left me hungry for my first National title. All that’s left to say is that come 2019, I’m going to be pushing for that victory from the get-go!”
Rounding things off was a satisfied Pepper.
Despite a hard crash in the weeks leading up to the season finale, the rider managed to achieve exactly what he had set out to do.
“I had my eyes on that second spot, and after barely getting on the bike because of my injury I just hoped my fitness would be able to carry me through. I felt very tired today, but managed to finish the season like I’d hoped. I’m very proud of the team – but excited to take it one step further next year!” said Pepper.
Published by: Husqvarna Media
Picture Caption: A proud Fred Fensham congratulates Gilbert at the finish line.
Photography by: Photography by: www.zcmc.co.za
Categories: FMN News South Africa