|What||South African Cross Country Round 1 Report|
|When||Saturday 3 March 2018|
|Community||South Africa National.|
Podiums aplenty for Pepson Plastics Husqvarna
Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing started its SA Cross Country racing season with a bang in more ways than one over the weekend, when Kenny Gilbert rode to open class OR1 victory at a tough and demanding season opener in Eshowe, KwaZulu Natal, while there were podiums all-round for the team. It was however a dramatic race too, when Friday’s time trial was cancelled after routing issues that saw Gilbert among the riders to avoid a serious incident.
“The track was very demanding, it had a bit of everything,” a delighted Gilbert explained after bringing his Pepson Plastics Husqvarna home to the OR1 win. “I overcame a tough dice all day to beat Ross Branch and I’m happy to have started the season off on top of the podium. “My Husqvarna FX450 ran like a train and our Pepson Plastics team is absolutely amazing — thanks so much for a brilliant machine today.
“The time trial was a bit scary,” Pietermaritzburg rider Gilbert pointed out. “I got lost after just one kilometre and Louwrens Mahoney and I found ourselves at the start again after we almost had a head-on collision. “Then I actually had a head-on collision with Bollie van Rooyen — we were very lucky not to get hurt. “I heard that there was a lot more carnage and the time trial was cancelled in the end. “We started the race on last year’s championship points and happily all went according to plan from there.”
The weekend worked out well for Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing new recruit Taki Bogiages, who was drafted into the team on the eve of the race before delivering a fine second in OR2. “Eshowe was my first race under the Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing flag, and what a race it was!” Pretoria rider Taki smiled. “The track was very demanding and tested us all in every possible way.
“It was my first time out on my new Husqvarna FX350 — it impressed me so much and handled everything I threw at it all day long. “I would also like to say a very special word of thanks to my awesome new Pepson Plastics Husqvarna team for organising everything for me this past week — it was absolutely flawless and I felt at home from the word go — the team executed four flying pit stops and gave me everything I needed to give 100%.”
Pepson Plastics Racing Husqvarna young gun Travis Ghelig made it two Husqvarnas on the OR2 podium with a hard-fought third at Eshowe. “Third in class and some good points for the championship — I’m pretty chuffed with that!” Boksburg lad Travis explained. “It was a tough race — not as fast as we are used to, but was a really awesome event — my Husqvarna FX350 was amazing and the team made some super quick pit stops — thanks to the team and the sponsors that make it all happen!”
Masters rider Iain Pepper made it four podiums for Pepson Plastics Husqvarna when he overcame a tough run to come home third among the madalas. “This was one tough Cross Country race,” Midrand rider Iain confirmed. “I had a hard second lap but I was happy to bring it home to complete a strong opening race for the team — thanks to everyone for a great effort — that’s the way to start the season!”
“That was the perfect way to start the season after a really tough build-up this year,” Husqvarna Motorcycles brand manager Fred Fensham concluded. “Kenny took a fine OR1 win on a really tough track for the big bikes. “Taki and Travis were on the OR2 podium and Iain brought it home third — a really positive start for Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing and a tribute to all the people behind the scenes - well done one and all.”
Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing must now wait until the end of April before the Rover Enduro in Port Elizabeth, a week before the second round of the SA Cross Country series in Dundee, KZN 4-5 May.