The gates are about to drop for the start of a brand new National Motocross season. The highly anticipated first round of the series will take place in Port Elizabeth on Saturday at the infamous Rover Raceway.
If kick starting the season on the sandy track wasn’t daunting enough, event directors have also thrown in the curve ball of longer race distances in 2019. As gruelling as this might seem, the decision will bring South African motocross events in line with international standards.
Eager to step up to the challenge is Red Bull KTM’s newest recruit Tristan Purdon, who will officially represent the orange brand for the first time this weekend. The 21-year stormed to MX1 glory in his rookie year in 2017 – a feat that will put a target on his back and deem him a favourite for the title this season.
As no stranger to the Eastern Cape’s sandy terrain, Purdon commented, “This is one of my favourite tracks of the season – it’s close to home and I really enjoy the sand. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to do my first race for Red Bull KTM, it’s going to be a good one!”
Red Bull KTM and MX1 teammate Kerim Fitz-Gerald will be another contender in the race for motocross glory.
The rider had a quiet 2018 season by his own high standards. If there was any rider capable of surprising his rivals with an epic comeback, however, surely it’s the nine-time national champion.
South African motocross fans will be excited to discover that rising star Camden Mc Lellan will join the High School lineup this weekend.
The 14-year old motocross racer from Germiston made history when he swept up the 2018 FIM European Championship. As the first South African rider to have ever claimed a European Championship title, his pursuits internationally will be his top priority this year.
“Unfortunately I will only be in South Africa for three National Motocross races as I’m overseas for most of the year. It’s always so good being home racing with my team, so I definitely plan to make the most of the time I get to compete here,” explained Mc Lellan.
Another young gun to watch out for in Port Elizabeth is reigning Pro Mini Champion Jonathan Mlimi. As the rider makes the step up to the High School Class, what many will write off as a ‘learning year’ could possibly be Mlimi’s best season yet.
“I have a lot more experience with a 125cc than what most people realise. I’m not nervous to step into a new class at all – I’m actually really looking forward to how intense the racing will be!” said a confident Mlimi.
Older brother Joshua Mlimi will fly the Red Bull KTM flag in the MX2 Class. The rider will be looking to build on the rhythm he found towards the end of last year and reinforce his status as a protagonist in the fight for a podium spot in 2019.
Rounding out the team is the young Nate Mc Lellan, who will remain in the Pro Mini Class this year. Having gained invaluable experience in the competitive class, Mc Lellan will be looking to snatch up victory as defending champion Mlimi moves to the High School Class.