It was a riveting start to the 2022 National Motocross Championship for Red Bull KTM. The first round of the season took riders to Cape Town’s Zone 7 track on Saturday, where the orange team blazed their way to three overall victories.
Star rider Tristan Purdon was untouchable in the MX1 Class and in a perfect winning streak took back-to-back victories to defend the red plate. Purdon mentions feeling most confident on the ‘whoop section’ of the track – a section of evenly spaced bumps that the rider cashed in on, affecting most of his overtaking manoeuvres in this sector.
Purdon set off with a blistering pace to secure yet another heat win in the first moto of the MX2 Class. An unfortunate crash in the second moto, however, narrowly kept him from securing the victory overall. He commented: “I feel confident when it comes to whoops, so I used that section of the track to make most of my passes. I’m really happy to have taken the MX1 win! Unfortunately, I ran out of time to make up enough ground in MX2. I had a bad start and fell at one point, which is something I’ll work on before the next round.”
The MX2 victory was snatched up by fellow Red Bull KTM rider Cameron Durow. Having only narrowly missed out on winning the championship last year, the young gun has entered the new season swinging.
Undeterred by a third-place finish in the first moto, Durow lined up for the final heat with more determination to win than ever. He said: “I had a much better start than in the first moto and pushed to get up front early into the race. I worked hard to take the lead and created a decent gap with five minutes to go. I’m super excited to take the red plate going into the next round!”
It was a more demanding day in the saddle for Durow in the MX1 Class. He was off to a slow start by his own high standards but managed to charge through the pack to make his way back up to second. In the final moto Durow had a technical issue that kept him from pushing the pace up front, but after doing some damage control secured fourth place to finish in third overall.
It was a big day for the team’s rising star Jonathan Mlimi, who made his MX2 debut after a highly successful season in the High School Class. While the rider admits that he felt nervous to line up with the competitive class, he also felt more ready than ever to step up to a new challenge.
“After spending time getting used to the KTM 250 SX-F, I felt comfortable enough on the bike to ease my nerves. The first heat went well – I never stopped pushing until the end and managed to finish in fifth, which is something I was really proud of,” said Mlimi.
The rider was off to a blistering start in the second moto and found himself battling it out for a podium spot. While he only narrowly missed a third-place finish in the final moto, to push the pace with the front runners in his new class was a massive confidence boost.
“To battle it out with the ‘big boys’ was such a cool experience. It made me realize that I have what it takes to fight for the championship. I know I’m a rookie, but that doesn’t mean anything. I will push to win because I train to win,” said Mlimi.
Making his Red Bull KTM debut in the High School class was Luke Grundy. It was an incredible first moto for the rider who stormed to take the holeshot and lead for most of the race. The crowd held its breath when he was overtaken and later crashed, but Grundy managed to get back up in time to regain his lead and take the moto win.
After yet another holeshot in the second moto, Grundy had an unfortunate collision that damaged his KTM 125 SX. The rider was forced to ride the rest of the heat in third gear and finished in 10th overall for the day.
A cherry on the top of a memorable day for the orange squad was a victory from South Africa’s rising motocross star Trey Cox. It was the first time that the rider took the overall win in the Pro Mini Class, something he describes as a massive confidence boost for the season ahead.
Despite a slow start in the first moto, Cox pushed his way from eighth to second place. After a much better start in the second moto, he made his attack to take the lead and didn’t look back. He commented, “I’ve been waiting to win the overall for so long, so it was really cool to get that out the way at the first race of the season. I feel so ready for the next round to come! This weekend is a race that I will never forget,” said Cox.