This weekend marked the moment that Brett Swanepoel had been waiting for. In an unforgettable season finale, the Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing star reinstated himself as the country’s leading Cross Country racer.
Having spent the past two years relentlessly working his way back from a near career-ending injury, the victory comes especially sweet for Swanepoel. After fighting tooth and nail for the top step this season, the OR2 championship came right down to the wire. In what was a nerve-wracking season finale, Swanepoel lined up tied for the points lead with championship rival Jarryd Coetzee. Swanepoel put on the performance of his career to storm to not only the OR2 title, but the National Cross Country Championship overall.
“It is always an unbelievable feeling to win a National Championship. It has taken a lot to get back to this point and I can’t thank my team and the people around me enough for continuing to believe in me throughout this process,” said Swanepoel.
Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham commented, “How incredibly exciting is this! As a team, we have gone through so much but continued to put our full support behind Brett, and what he has done in return is absolutely amazing. This doubleheader was tough in every way – from the heat to the long, demanding loops and the opposition that pushed him to the limit. However, Brett on his Husqvarna FX 350 was untouchable right from the time trial and showed every other rider a clean pair of heels. Man, he really deserves all the accolades!”
It was a bitter-sweet weekend for Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing who were dealt a heavy blow in the first round of the double-header. Star rider Kenny Gilbert, who had been leading the OR1 class at the time, suffered from an injury after an unfortunate crash that forced him to retire from the event.
“Bittersweet is an understatement for how we feel. The unfortunate tumble that Kenny took effectively ended his title challenge once again – this OR1 Championship was there for Kenny and with 5kms to go it again disappeared. Having become a close friend to us all, we are gutted for Kenny and his wonderful family,” said Fensham.
A silver lining is seen for Husqvarna in young gun Davin Cocker. The team decided to assist with his efforts this year and were blown away by his performance. Fensham enthused: “Wow, did he show us that not only is he a humble young man, but that he has serious talent and speed beyond his years. He put up quite a fight in the hotly contested OR3 Class where he finished second overall.”
“As a team we would like to thank PEPSON PLASTICS for their incredible support as our title sponsor over the last years as well as our partners at Michelin, Motorex and Twin Air. With the season wrapped up I can only say that for 2021 – watch this space!”