This weekend marked a proud moment for the South African world of motorsport.
Camden Mc Lellan, a 13-year old motocross racer from Germiston, made history when he swept up the 2018 FIM European Championship. He now becomes the first South African rider to have ever claimed a title in European Championship history.
With five consecutive National Championships behind his name, Mc Lellan’s potential has fast become a talking point for local motocross fans. The youngster was first exposed to the international circuit two years ago, where he proved to have more than enough speed to keep up with the world’s top racing talent.
“With our first few trips to the USA and Europe, we quickly realised that he had enough speed to compete but just needed exposure to that level of competition on a regular basis if becoming a pro would ever be on the cards,” explained his mother, Cheryl Mc Lellan.
A turning point in the rider’s fast-growing career came in 2017 when he managed to balance his pursuit of another South African National Championship with a part-time racing schedule in Europe.
He was ultimately crowned Pro Mini Champion for the second time, and made the bold decision to leave South Africa and base himself in Germany to commit to a full international season of racing.
In what he describes as the ‘biggest race of his career’, Mc Lellan lined up as the underdog. A slow start put him in 13th place where he began to chase down the world’s leading riders.
With a few laps left in the first moto, he pulled off enough passes to take the lead and ultimately storm to his sweetest victory yet. A similar situation unfolded in the second moto where a second place finish saw him snatch up the overall win.
“I am extremely happy with the win, especially after coming in as the underdog. It feels awesome to beat everyone who underestimated me! Racing overseas is super competitive, and that’s what I need. It been hard to leave all my friends behind to come and live here, but it’s a sacrifice I have to make to be a World Champion… and that’s what I want to be!” said Mc Lellan.
With the prestige of winning a European title, the future looks bright for South Africa’s rising motocross star. Mc Lellan is also leading the ADAC German Championship by nine points, and with three rounds left has another massive win on the cards.
His ultimate goal this season is Junior Worlds in Horsham, Australia, on 24-25 August, where he hopes to realise his dream of becoming a world champion.
A parting shot from a proud Darrel Fitz-Gerald, his Red Bull KTM coach:
“I don’t even know where to begin – it’s not everyday that a guy from South Africa does something like this in such a short period of time. I’ve worked with Cam from a very young age, and we never set goals too far out of reach. We just focused on building a great foundation and winning came when the time was right. Camden feeds of confidence, when he believes he can win he’s unstoppable! The Mc Lellan family are extremely driven and passionate, and I really believe his winning secret lies at home.”
Franziska Brandl Managing Director of KTM South Africa had the following to say about Camden Mc Lellan:
“When we started integrating Juniors into our Red Bull KTM Team we didn’t quite know what to expect. Over the years however we have seen the youngsters grow and surpass all our expectations. Camden has impressed us so much over the years and he sure has what it takes to take his racing career further and continue to reach his dreams and goals. It is a privilege for us to be able to part of this journey,” said Franziska Brandl.