Trademore Cross Country event delivers dramatic action

Epic, unseasonally damp and muddy conditions tested competitors in what is normally a hot and dry North West.

A fantastic venue set out by farm owner Wim Scholtz and run by the efficient KZN racing team was the stage for a battle of the KTM giants as Bradley Cox fought to defeat upstart former motocrosser Kerim Fitz-Gerald for the win.

The 250cc OR2 class Red Bull KTM rider Fitz-Gerald opened the action with the fastest run in Friday’s time trial from Cox’s open class OR1 bike, Brett Swanepoel’s OR2 Husqvarna, MCA Honda OR3 lad Peter Karam, Scott Heygate’s OR2 Factory KTM and Kawasaki OR1 man Mike Pentecost. Brother Leader Tread KTM star Cox then moved ahead of Fitz-Gerald as the two KTMs diced hard up front on Saturday morning with the others holding a watching brief.

Fitz-Gerald emerged 42s clear of Cox at the end of lap 3 and extended that to 48s following the fourth tour. Cox, however, struck back when Fitz-Gerald made a mistake and took a tumble. So Brad took a comeback win after missing the previous race to injury and reignited his championship charge with his second overall victory of the season. He ultimately beat Fitz-Gerald by a minute and 33 seconds. Brett Swanepoel was always there to pick up the pieces on his factory Husqvarna as he ended up a couple of minutes adrift in third.

Kerim Fritz-Gerald.

Third in 350 cc OR2, Zambian Brother Leader Tread KTM rider Scott Heygate was fourth overall from Michael Pentecost’s OR1 Franchise Co. CIT Kawasaki. OR3 trio, Peter Karam took a welcome maiden win for the returning Honda team from Matthew Wilson and Ryan Pelser’s KTMs. Kenny Gilbert was crushing in senior victory in ninth overall aboard his Pepson Plastics Scottish Cables Motul Kawasaki as Jaycee Nienaber closed off the top 10 on his OR1 Pepson Plastics Spherical Logistics Kawasaki.

In the classes, Cox took OR1 from Pentecost and Nienaber in his guest Kawasaki outing, Husqvarna newcomer Michael Docherty and Hayden Louw on a Yamaha. Always in the hunt, Fitz-Gerald took his maiden cross-country class win from Swanepoel, Heygate, Erik Merry’s Husqvarna and KTM rider Kyle Eggar in OR2. Peter Karam took a massive maiden national class win in OR3 for Honda from KTM Factory rider Wilson, Pelser, Taki Bogiages’ Pespson Motul Kawasaki, Haydn Cole’s Sleepover CIT Honda and John Botha’s Franchise Co. CIT Kawasaki.

Kenny Gilbert.

Gilbert dominated the seniors on his Kawasaki from Wade Blaauw’s Sleepover CIT Honda, Marco Cocci’s Yamaha, Ronald Venter and Alain du Toit on a Husqvarna. Warrick van Schalkwyk made it a Kawasaki double in masters from Husqvarna trio, Greg Nairn, Mielies le Roux, Wayne Farmer and Martin Poole. Derek Karam won high school on his KTM to make it a family double from Husqvarna duo Wian Wentzel and Cobus Bester and Rory Donaldson and Ross Ramseyer’s KTMs.

Brandon Clarke’s Husqvarna took primary school 85cc honours from Bruno Niebuhr and Murray Smith’s KTMs and Husqvarna duo AJ Louw and Franco Fourie and Werner Kleinhans and GJ Coetzee made it a Husqvarna 1-2 in the baby 65cc class from Jake Pretorius’ Kawasaki, Matthew Meyer on a Gas Gas and Liam Scheepers’ Husqvarna.

Peter Karam.

The Trademore Group South African Cross Country will remain up north for the GXCC-run fourth round in Carletonville on July 9.

Source: MotorsportMedia / Photos – KTM, GXCC, Husqvarna 

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