The Red Bull KTM motocross star left onlookers in awe as he went 1-1 to snatch MX1 victory at the opening round of the season in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. On a track notorious for its unforgiving sand and demanding weather conditions, Purdon’s performance was particularly impressive. Despite some slow starts by his own high standards, his consistent pace was unmatched as he worked his way up the ranks of what was a highly competitive field.
The victory comes at the perfect time for Purdon, who is still waiting to hear the outcome of the 2019 MX1 Championship. “I’ve been so excited for a fresh start and to put last season behind me, and winning the opening round was the perfect way to do it! I came into 2019 with a lingering wrist injury, so I feel like a different person starting the year with nothing holding me back,” said Purdon.
It was a somewhat disappointing day for Red Bull KTM teammate Kerim Fitz-Gerald, who received a DNF in the first moto of MX1 due to technical issues. In MX2, however, he managed to wrap the day up in sixth overall. As the reigning national MX2 Champion, Fitz-Gerald will look to come back swinging in defense of his 2019 title.
The journey to the start line of Rover Raceway was perhaps tougher than the race itself for Jonathan Mlimi. The rider was sent to the sideline in 2019 after breaking his leg during a practice ride. With a new appreciation of the sport, Mlimi managed to lead a portion of the second heat and finish the day in sixth overall. Having given but a glimpse of his true potential in the High School Class, Mlimi commented:
“It gave me a lot of confidence to see that I’m capable of pushing the pace up front. Unfortunately, I’m still dealing with a niggle from the accident and felt it in the second moto especially. I’m going to get that sorted before the next round and come back stronger!”