Injury urges another motocross team change
Husqvarna South Africa’s motocross team’s tumultuous year continues on the news that star rider Richie van der Westhuizen, who sits second in both the Monster Energy South African MX1 and MX2 championships, will not race at Gauteng’s Terra Topia’s season finale Saturday 14 October. Van der Westhuizen was injured in a training accident and will be replaced by the returning Jason Visser, who will ride alongside the team’s other stand-in rider Caleb Tennant this weekend.
“Unfortunately Richie van der Westhuizen, who is currently second in both the SA MX 1 and MX 2 championship, is going to miss the last round this weekend,” Husqvarna Motorcycles South Africa brand manager Fred Fensham explained. “With Maddy Malan also out due to injuries sustained earlier in the year, we brought in Caleb Tenant to stand in and keep our Husqvarna Racing squad’s flag flying and now that Richie broke both his ankles in a practice accident at Terra Topia, we have had to do the same again and we have drafted Jason Visser in to replace Richie.
“Jason is our rider from last year and he will now return from injury a few months earlier than expected — he has always been lightning fast and extremely exciting and is most excited to step up and fly our flag. “It will also be a good test to see where Jason is at, so he can start to set his sights for 2018 when he lines up for Husqvarna Racing alongside teammate Maddy Malan in both MX 1 and MX 2.”
“Its extremely difficult not being able to compete this weekend,” Richard van der Westhuizen rued. “I suffered a freak accident during training and broke both ankles — one is not so severely fractured, but the other is quite badly injured. “This has ruled me out of both championship chases — I will be at Terra Topia to support of the team but I won't be riding. “I need to say a massive thank you to Husqvarna South Africa, my friends, family and my amazing sponsors, all who have supported me during this difficult time.”
Richie’s plight however opens the door to Visser, who has only been back and training for a short while, but who jumped at the opportunity to return to racing earlier at Terra Topia this weekend. “I am so sorry for Richie — I know exactly how it feels and it sucks,” Jason admitted. “But its good for me to get back into race action a little earlier that I’d expected — I can’t wait to race for Husqvarna this weekend”.
Caleb Tennant meanwhile intends to deliver solid results aboard the other factory MX2 Husqvarna as he continues to stand in for the injured Maddy Malan. “I’ve been getting stronger as the season has progressed and I’m understanding the needs of a factory rider, so let’s hope that we can end off in style,” Capetonian Caleb admitted. “Special thanks once again to Husqvarna SA for the chance to race as part of the team — it has been a brilliant opportunity!”
“2017 has been a difficult year for the Husqvarna motocross squad with injury,” Fred Fensham concluded. “It is heartbreaking for all of us that Richie is now also out while sitting so strong in the title chase, especially after Maddy missed half the season too, but we will fight on and we are looking forward to a strong weekend with Jason and Caleb. “Also let’s see if 9-year old Niel van der Vyfer can go 14 wins out of 14 starts for an unbeaten season and how the likes of Anthony Raynard’s season ends — it’s going to be a great weekend all-round!”