Cape Town rider Caleb Tennant put in a star performance as Q4 Fuel Husqvarna Racing enjoyed a solid start to the 2018 TRP Distributors South African National Motocross championship in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. Tennant was in fine form as he won the opening heats of both the MX1 and MX2 races en route to second in both classes for the day, while Pietermaritzburg rider Maddy Malan enjoyed a strong comeback from injury to end up sixth in MX1 and ninth in MX2 and junior rider Neil van der Vyver took sixth in the 65cc class.
Caleb Tennant Image: Emerson Haupt
It was however Tennant who stole the show from the outset as he took the lead in the first heat of MX1 race and rode off to a two-second win to open Q4 Fuel Husqvarna Racing’s season in fine style. Caleb then starred in an epic head-to-head battle for victory en route to second in the second moto to see him leave the Rover races tied for the lead in the SA championships.
Tennant made it a first moto double when he blasted to a four-second gate-to-flag opening MX2 race win before leading the way until slowed by a tumble with four laps to go in the second moto. He picked it up to come back to 7th in the heat and second overall: “I’m happy with our results today — two race wins and I leave PE tied in the MX1 points lead and second in MX2 — what a great way to start the season!” Caleb admitted.
“It’s a pity I dropped it in the second MX2 race — I dug the front end in and couldn’t restart the bike again and landed up finishing seventh. “Thanks so much to my team — now to keep the momentum up into the rest of the season.”
Maddy Malan meanwhile made a solid return to the motocross scene after a lengthy time off due to injury. The ‘Martizburg rider overcame a slow start to finish the first MX2 moto in fifth place before another great start in the second, although he tired as the race progressed to end up fifth in the moto and sixth for the day. Maddy was quick in practice, but suffered a tough start in MX1 following a collision with another rider — he kept it together though, fighting back to 11th in the first race and then 8th in the second to end up ninth overall for the day.
“It’s been tough getting back into things,” Maddy admitted. “The rough track took its toll in the second moto, but I’m happy to walk away only ten points behind the leader and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. “Next national is my home race and that’s where we get our championship hunt back on track — I can’t thank my Q4 Fuel Husqvarna Racing team enough — special thanks to Fred Fensham, Morne Visser and my mechanics Willie and Anthony — we gonna get it the next one!
Rising star, reigning SA 50cc champion Neil van der Vyver from Durbanville, Cape Town ended up sixth overall after a couple of sixth places on his 65cc class debut. “I’m just so glad to be racing again!” the young gun beamed after the race. “I had a great day out and know that the season will just get better from here.”
“We had a challenging build-up to 2018 with rider injuries causing us to reshuffle the Q4 Fuel Husqvarna Racing team just before the season started,” Husqvarna Motorcycles South Africa brand manager Fred Fensham explained. “But the lads delivered brilliantly today with Caleb taking two fine season-starting wins, Maddy making an impressive comeback and Neil doing very well on his 65cc debut — a very good start to the season all-round.”