Husqvarna South Africa’s motocross team has endured a difficult 2017 race season with injury — both the team’s official riders were sidelined through the year — Maddy Malan was replaced by Caleb Tennant and Richie van der Westhuizen substituted by Jason Visser, who had also sat the 2017 season out following an injury he sustained last year, leaving Tennant and Visser to close off the season for the team at Terra Topia north of Johannesburg over the weekend.
Visser made his comeback racing both MX1 and MX2, with Tennant riding in MX2, but lady luck once again taunted the team from the outset on Saturday. “My day started off very well – I went into qualifying feeling great, the bike felt awesome and I grabbed the quickest time,” Caleb Tennant explained. “Unfortunately halfway through, my bike died, so we switched to a spare and worked extremely hard to get it ready for the first heat.
“We made it to the startline just in time, but we then had a brake issue and I had to fight back after a first lap tumble, so I was quite relieved to end seventh without front brakes. “In the second heat I was caught up in another first corner crash — luckily I stayed up, but I still lost some time and had to fight from the back of the field up to finish second, which gave me a podium 3rd overall for the day. “My pace is coming on well and I was happy with my continued progress at Terra Topia — thanks again to Husqvarna for the chance to race this official machine!”
For Jason Visser, Terra Topia was a comeback weekend with four tough races in both MX1 and MX2. Jason qualified his Husqvarna sixth in 450cc MX1 before riding home 8th in Moto 1 and 8th in the second race to end up 7th overall. He then qualified 8th in 250cc MX2, fighting back to 12th after a first corner spill in race 1 and then putting in a solid ride to end up sixth in the second moto for 8th overall.
“It was an interesting exercise to race this weekend,” Jason admitted. “I had only just started training to be ready for the new season in 2018 when the phone rang and I was asked to step in to replace Richie van der Westhuizen at Terra Topia, so I was not 100% ready. “Still, I enjoyed a positive weekend in the end and now we know exactly what I need to find to be chasing for wins next year. “Thanks to Husqvarna for the pleasant surprise — it was great to race this weekend and the bikes were incredible — roll on 2018!”
“We have been fast, we have led the way and we won plenty races, but Husqvarna’s motocross team lacked the critical ingredient of good luck this year,” Husqvarna Motorcycles South Africa brand manager Fred Fensham wrapped the season up. “Both our riders were injured along the way and we ended the season with a different line-up to how we started, but that’s racing.
“Caleb Tennant and Jason Visser delivered the goods against the odds once again at Terra Topia this weekend, while Maddy Malan and Richie van der Westhuizen were right on it through the season, until they were both stopped by injury, but that’s how it goes sometimes. “Well done to our entire Husqvarna motocross team — we will be back, stronger and faster in 2018 — bring it on!”