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 . . .
Scott Bouverie guns for E2 glory. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za 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. A determined Dwayne Kleynhans races for the E1 Championship. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za 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 . . .
South African outdoor enthusiasts are about to encounter something brand new! Since its introduction in 2008, the Nissan TrailSeeker has become a highlight for mountain bikers with its exciting and innovative creation of trails in the Western Cape and Gauteng. The action-packed single day event has drawn pros, weekend warriors and families alike with varying distances and routes that cater for everyone. A new world for adventure seekers is about to be opened up, however, as the Nissan TrailSeeker introduces the addition of an exclusive event for trail runners in 2018. The mountain bike event on Saturday will now be followed by a trail running event on Sunday, which will also offer various distances – namely a 5km, 10km and 21km trail. A technical (but doable) challenge will be incorporated into the 21km route in particular. As with all Advendurance events, competitors can expect only the utmost level of professionalism. A seeding system will be used for trail runners looking to measure and track their progress over the course of the series. An added bonus will be a goodie bag that comes with each entry, the unique provision of hot showers to freshen up after the event, top notch infrastructure, ladies’ specific toilets, shade and seating, and the best medics in the business. Both spectators and participants will also certainly enjoy a fully equipped race village with separate start and finish points, food stalls, a beer tent and a lekker vibe. Race director Francois Theron comments on the addition of trail running events: “We're just really passionate about bringing cool outdoor experiences to people, and in a way that is sustainable, affordable and gives people great value. So we partnered with Nissan to bring the TrailSeeker flavour to the trail running scene and look forward to the year ahead!" 2018 Nissan TrailSeeker dates to diarise Western Cape Series: #TrailSeekerWC1 Bosman Family Wines, Wellington 18 – . . .
South Africa’s largest obstacle course racing (OCR) series, the Toyota WARRIOR powered by Reebok, has officially drawn to a close for the year. The eighth and final event took place in Riversands, Gauteng, on 25-26 November. While the rain dampens the mood of most events, it was certainly welcomed at WARRIOR on Saturday morning as adventure-seekers set off in a heavy downpour. The popular ‘Mud Monster’ came alive in the extreme conditions, and the atmosphere was filled with shrieks of excitement as participants made their way across the muddy pit. Clear skies brought a sigh of relief on Sunday, especially for elite athletes looking to end the season on a high. Taking centre stage was Claude Eksteen and his wife, Trish Eksteen, who were crowned the 2017 WARRIOR series champions. Victory came in a different form for other competitors this weekend too. Benjamin Gifford and Jay Flores became the first international athletes to complete the Black Ops Elite route with their DQ band fully intact. Both athletes have been highly successful in the world of OCR - Flores recently came off a Master of the Rig win at OCR World Championships, and Gifford boasts 23 OCR podiums, the NBC Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge title, and a spot in the Tough Mudder X final. Despite their wealth of experience, the esteemed competitors were completely blown away by their South African OCR experience: “I came to South Africa in search of the biggest OCR challenge of my athletic journey. The Warrior Race lived up to its name!” said Flores. He went on to rate WARRIOR as “the most challenging obstacle course on the planet.” It is clear that South Africa is fast becoming the breeding ground of OCR talent. Not only were the international stars taken back by the level of difficulty of the obstacles, but also by the depth of the local elite field. “South Africa is renowned for having some of the most challenging obstacles in the world, and it’s a privilege to say that . . .
The National MTB Series bids farewell to its title sponsor of three years, Ashburton Investments. The three-year sponsorship with Ashburton Investments has seen a period of change and refinement to one of the world’s largest and most prestigious mountain bike racing series. “Ashburton Investments has been a fantastic sponsor. It’s been more of a partnership because the people that we have worked closely with have been as passionate about the series as we are,” said Fritz Pienaar, Director of Advendurance. “This three-year period has seen the most changes in the National MTB Series since we launched it back in 2003. The sport of mountain biking has evolved and continues to evolve and it’s great to be able to adapt to those changes and offer mountain bikers throughout South Africa a series of world class, stimulating events at incredible locations,” added Pienaar. Ashburton Investments also ramped up the prize money offering for the top women category to equal that of the men. This, after the series owners and organisers, Advendurance had already upped the TV exposure for the women in 2016 with support from Ashburton Investments as well as boosting the men’s prize purse to be of international standard. Most notably, the structure of the series changed this year from largely single-day events to a two-day format. The switch from ultra-marathons to two-day marathons for the elite and under 23 men proved to be a huge success and delivered exciting racing right down to the final event. Five of the seven rounds in 2017 included the new two-day race format, which ensured that not only the racing was more competitive, but that it was more forgiving in that a rider that suffered a major mechanical problem in one or even two events, could still be in series contention. It gave South African mountain bikers access to more, to experience a multi-day event at a very reasonable cost and boosted entry numbers among most of the racing categories. The new . . .
Close to 6000 adventure-seekers are about to answer the call to ‘Be More’ for the last time this year. The season finale of the Toyota Warrior Race powered by Reebok will take place in Riversands, Gauteng from 25-26 November. The event promises more excitement than ever as South Africa’s largest obstacle course series draws to a close. All eyes will be on the epic battle for the Black Ops Elite title as Thomas van Tonder and Claude Eksteen go to war. The athletes have raced neck-and-neck for the majority of this season, and their hope of snatching up the series title comes down to the outcome of eighth and final Warrior Race. “I would really like to become the first athlete to win this series consecutively, and that will all come down to whether I cross the finish line before Claude next weekend. I’ve been shifting my training to suit the style of this race, and I’m feeling pretty optimistic. Heavy carries and a shorter, faster run could work in my favour and increase my chances of catching Claude,” said van Tonder. There will also be some international flavour added to the elite mix. Benjamin Gifford and Jay Flores are highly respected athletes in the world of OCR, and will be looking to become the first international competitors to finish and possibly win the Black Ops Elite category. Flore recently came off a Master of the Rig win at OCR World Championships, and Gifford boasts 23 OCR podiums, the NBC Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge title, and a spot in the Tough Mudder X final. The race for the women’s title has already been sealed by Trish Eksteen, who executed a whitewash in her category this year. An exciting twist to the Black Ops Elite event will certainly be the addition of a never-seen-before obstacle. While the exact details remain unknown, race organisers have revealed that the obstacle involves a carry. If the heavy carry at the recent Meerendal event had athletes talking, then WARRIORS are in for a rude awakening! Athletes . . .
Husqvarna has a reason to celebrate after the 2017 MOTUL Roof of Africa. The 'Mother of Hard Enduro' came to a close in Lesotho on Saturday, and saw Sandra Gomez become the second woman to finish the Gold Class of the prestigious event in its 50-year history. The Spanish lass added a fresh international flavour to the PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING team. It was only her second time stepping onto the African continent, and debut Roof of Africa event. Without fail, she would blaze her way back to the Bushmen's Pass (the starting point of the race) each day with a contagious energy. Not only was she conquering the unrelenting landscape, but it was clear that she was having the time of her life doing it. Gomez will head back to Spain wrapped up in African glory after ending the esteemed event in 30th place. "A huge thank you to the Husqvarna crew that accommodated me here - we finished this together. I need to train harder with a GPS because I got lost sometimes," said Gomez. Commenting on the fact that local female rider, Kirsten Landman, was in the Gold mix, she added: "It was so good to have another female rider to compete with, it added a whole lot more stress that's for sure! It made me ride better, but it also helps grow the sport because we're much stronger together." Husqvarna also boasts a podium finish at the Roof of Africa this year. British rider Graham Jarvis was the third finisher in the race for mountain glory. The enduro hero came into the event with his sights set on a hat trick Roof of Africa title. Renowned for his ability to take on the world's toughest and most technical terrain, it was clear when he took his place on the start line that he was going to be the rider to beat. The event opened with an unusual setting on Thursday. Instead of the blazing heat international riders had been warned about, they were greeted with icy winds and snow capped mountain peaks. Jarvis welcomed the familiar conditions, and set off for . . .
The sun rose to melt icy mountains for the last day of the MOTUL Roof of Africa. It was a heated third stage of the prestigious event, which saw a South African show take centre stage. Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Travis Teasdale was the second man to step on the prestigious podium. He set off from the startline with no other purpose than to catch Wade Young (Sherco Liqui Moly Racing). The race to top the leader board was always going to be tight, and despite the near 50 second lead that Young had established on day two, Teasdale quickly narrowed the gap. The riders were less than a meter apart for the majority of the route until Young made his attack on Devil’s Staircase Pass, the first of two epic passes that were included in the Gold Class for the final stage. Soldier’s Way was the last climb that riders would face, which saved the best and most treacherous terrain for last. Spectators gathered by the hundreds to witness the action that was about to unfold, and some even summited the 2420m peak to get the best view. Young was the first man to hit the infamous pass after almost 100km of hard enduro time in the saddle. Teasdale soon followed and began chipping away at the lead that Young had established. A sudden turn of events would seal Teasdale’s fate when he hit a trench that was around 2 meters deep! As he struggled to break free he looked back in a panic to see whether Graham Jarvis had caught up to him. In a true ‘never say die attitude’ Teasdale dragged himself and his bike out of the pit to conquer what left of the climb and earn a the second spot on the podium. “It’s been a tough few months of training, and an even tougher three days in the mountains. When I made the mistake of riding into that hole I thought my race was over. I managed to get my bike out, and it’s an honour to be at the finish line in second,” said Teasdale. Alfredo Gomez (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the next KTM rider to reach Soldier’s Way. After . . .
The wait is over and an orange onslaught is about to take over the Kingdom of Lesotho. The annual Roof of Africa will take place from 15-18 November with the headquarters in Maseru. This will be the 50th edition of the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’, Africa’s largest and oldest offroad event, which promises to be more exciting than ever. An international rider that will take centre stage at this year’s event is non-other than Alfredo Gómez. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing legend is currently ranked as one of the best hard enduro and super enduro riders in the world. Gómez began his career racing trials, and was soon crowned the World Junior Champion. He surprised everyone by giving up his promising trials career for enduro riding, and has never looked back. He boasts titles like the 2017 & 2015 Erzbergrodeo’s Red Bull Hare Scramble champion; 2016 winner of The Wall Extreme and podium finisher at Red Bull Romaniacs. There is a very particular badge he would like to add to his belt, however – the esteemed Roof of Africa title. Gómez somewhat controversially missed out on victory in Lesotho last year after a calculation error. He thought that he would take the win if he finished the race with arch rival Graham Jarvis (ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING), only to discover that the nine second difference on the final climb to the finish line resulted in a second place. He will certainly take on Lesotho’s treacherous terrain with vengeance this year, making for an epic Gómez -Jarvis international showdown. Gomez will have some stiff sibling rivalry to face too. The Brother Leader Tread KTM team are coming to Lesotho with guns blazing, and show great promise of snatching up the Roof of Africa title themselves. All eyes will be on 2017’s local enduro hero, Travis Teasdale. The rising star not only put on a local show when he won the National Enduro Series last month, but has also had incredible international success this . . .
Husqvarna riders will go to battle for the Kingdom of Lesotho in just over two weeks. The annual Roof of Africa will take place from 15-18 November with the headquarters in Maseru. The name on everyone’s lips is undoubtedly Graham Jarvis (ROCKSTAR ENRGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING). The British hero goes into any hard enduro event as a favourite, and will be making a hat trick attempt at the coveted Roof of Africa crown. Jarvis boasts titles like the three time winner of the Erzbergrodeo’s Red Bull Hare Scramble; five time winner of Red Bull Sea to Sky; six time winner of Red Bull Romaniacs; and five times winner of Hells Gate. He also claimed victory at the 2017 Hixpania Hard Enduro in northern Spain this weekend. Jarvis will certainly be bracing himself for an international showdown with arch rival Alfredo Gomez (KTM Factory Racing). He managed to beat the Spaniard by a mere 9 seconds on the final climb to the finish line at last year’s event, and is fully aware that Gomez will be taking on Lesotho’s heat and high elevations with vengeance. Adding some international flavour to the PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING team will be Sandra Gomez, the sister of Alfredo Gomez. Like her brother, Gomez surprised everyone when she turned her back on a promising career in trials to take up enduro riding. Over the past two years Gomez has made an epic entrance into the world of enduro, and has already been named the 2016 FIM Women’s SuperEnduro World Cup winner, 2015 AMA EnduroCross Cup winner, 2014 Spanish Trials champion and a multiple X Games medallist. Without beating around the bush, Gomez decided to make her Roof of Africa debut by entering the renowned Gold class. She stepped onto the African continent for the first time last month to take on the double header round of the National Enduro series, and effortlessly blazed her way across Lesotho’s treacherous terrain for the first time. Gomez has boldly taken up the challenge of . . .