This weekend marks the return to racing of one of South Africa’s brightest talents – Brett Swanepoel. After an unfortunate accident that damaged his hand more than a year ago, the rider will join the lineup at this weekend’s National Enduro season opener in New Hanover, KwaZulu-Natal.
As a multiple podium finisher of the infamous Roof of Africa – ‘Mother of Hard Enduro and 2016 National E1 Champion, Swanepoel has ranked amongst the country’s top enduro riders for years.
Overcoming this injury has undoubtedly been the most challenging season of the 23-year old’s career. After sitting on the sideline for an entire year, Swanepoel was gutted to discover that his hand required another surgery towards the end of 2018.
“Until about three months ago, there were moments where I wasn’t even sure if I’d ever be able to race again. Words can’t describe how tough that road was to walk,” explained Swanepoel.
Things started to change in January, however, when Swanepoel started noticing signs that his hand was getting stronger.
As he prepares to make a comeback for his PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING team, he enthused, “My hand didn’t heal all at once, but overtime I’d notice little signs daily that it was getting better. And now I’m about to race my first enduro again! My form isn’t where it was before the race – a year off the bike is a big loss. But I’ve learnt so much from this injury and know that I’m going to become a better rider because of it.”
Joining him in New Handover is the rising Matt Green, who will take his place at the startline for his second season in the E1 Class.
Like Swanepoel, the rider has had to overcome an injury of his own recently. Green broke his wrist at a practise race earlier this year, but with just enough time to recover before the first national event of the season.
“My recovery was really strong – I did everything possible to arrive at the first race without being on the back foot. I’m confident in my abilities and have enough experience to know that this won’t be a major setback,” said Green.
Also flying the Husqvarna flag in the E1 Class is William Oosthuizen, who came painfully close to snatching up the prestigious championship last season.
Having barely made his debut to the team, the rider set off with all guns blazing and wrapped up the season tied for points with arch rival Kyle Flanagan. It was Flanagan who got the upper hand with a higher number of races won, ultimately leaving Oosthuizen hungrier for enduro glory than ever.
“The way things turned out last season has made really determined to chase the championship again. I realized that winning this title is a very real possibility and I’m going to give this year everything I’ve got,” said Oosthuizen.
Highlighting the fact that the entire PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING team is based in in Natal, a confident Oosthuizen added, “Natal is like the enduro mecca of South Africa – most of the country’s top riders come from here. Living in this area really prepares us in the best way possible for racing – we really couldn’t ask for a better place to start the season!”