The Brother Leader Tread KTM Team faced a tough challenge this past weekend at the gruelling Rocky Bay season opener in KwaZulu-Natal. Scorching temperatures, oppressive humidity, and blinding dust pushed riders and machines to their limits.

2024 National Cross Country Round 1 at Rocky Bay Photo Captured by Sage Lee Voges for ZCMC Media

Brad Cox, sporting the coveted #1 plate for the season in the Open Class, encountered a setback when a crash forced him to withdraw after a few laps. Fortunately, the only damage sustained was bruising on the chest, diaphragm muscles, and ribs. Despite the unfortunate turn of events, Cox managed to salvage valuable points, finishing 12th in the Open Class.

“Not the start I wanted. The heat, humidity, and dust were brutal, and a crash unfortunately ended my day early. The bike had to be rebuilt, but the crash made me feel worse, so I made the tough decision to stop. On the positive side, I only have some bumps and bruises, and I was able to salvage some points. I’ll be back stronger for the next race.”

said Cox

Fresh off his 2023 Seniors Championship win and a challenging Dakar Rally appearance where he sustained a wrist injury, Kerim Fitz-Gerald showcased his toughness by completing a lap in the Seniors Class, securing a commendable sixth-place finish.

“Competing with a wrist injury wasn’t ideal and definitely not how I wanted to race. But finishing the race is a credit to the team and my will to push through. I’m focusing on recovery and I’ll be ready to fight for the Seniors title and points again soon.”

said Fitz-Gerald

Defending OR3 Champion, Matthew Wilson, faced a couple of difficulties and battled through the dust, ultimately finishing fourth in his class, managing to bag some valuable points for the season.

“It was a real tough one for me. My time trial started off well, but I got held up in dust and came in 10th overall for the start of the main race. Getting stuck in the dust early on made it very difficult for me to catch and pass riders on a rough track. Despite the challenges, I managed to secure some valuable points, and I’m already looking forward to redemption in the next round.

commented Wilson

Scott Heygate, fuelled by a thirst for redemption in the 2024 season, secured a podium finish on his rip-roaring 450 XC-F with a hard-fought third place.

“A frustrating day in the dust riddled with mistakes on my end. Nevertheless, I am glad to have walked away with good points in the bag and will build on this going forward. Racing conditions were extremely demanding due to the heat, making hydration critical all day. Track conditions weren’t favorable, but I am happy to have walked away healthy.”

stated Heygate

The Husqvarna Racing Team had a dream start to the 2024 Cross Country racing season, winning both the Open and OR3 classes at Rocky Bay in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

2024 National Cross Country Round 1 at Rocky Bay Photo Captured by Sage Lee Voges for ZCMC Media

Cocker, who claimed the OR2 championship in the 2023 season, took to the Open Class with confidence and had a golden day in the saddle, finishing 1st in his class and bagging the overall win for the day.

2024 National Cross Country Round 1 at Rocky Bay Photo Captured by Sage Lee Voges for ZCMC Media

In the OR3 class, young gun Luke Walker rode his FC250 to victory in OR3 and an impressive third place overall.

“I had a blast racing and a great day out. Managed to finish fourth in the time trial which helped me a lot in the main race with the dust. I managed to get out of the dust for most of the race and pull a gap on the rest of the guys in my class. The track had some tricky bits, but my FC250 handled it perfectly, and I am extremely happy to start my season off with a win and put the Husqvarna brand on top!”

Adding another win to Husqvarna’s fantastic day, Walker expressed,
2024 National Cross Country Round 1 at Rocky Bay Photo Captured by Sage Lee Voges for ZCMC Media

“We’re proud of the team’s fighting spirit at Rocky Bay. The conditions were harsh, but our riders showed their determination. We learned valuable lessons this weekend, and we know the Brother Leader Tread KTM Team will be back in top form for the next race.”

said Group Marketing Coordinator, Megan Prinsloo

With stellar performances from both the Brother Leader Tread KTM Team and the Husqvarna Racing Team, the 2024 National Cross Country Championship is off to an electrifying start. Stay tuned for more action-packed racing as these talented riders continue to showcase their skills on the challenging cross-country circuit.

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