Bloemfontein Motocross track, near Tembe airport, played host to round three of the South African National Motocross championship. The popular Free State track set the halfway mark of the 2016 race series and it was important for riders to secure valuable points towards their individual championships.
Perfect weather conditions awaited riders and spectators alike this past Saturday and with a track that was designed to suit one line, competitors knew that starts were very important on the day.
In the highly competitive MX2 Class it was Red Bull KTM’s Joshua Mlimi onboard his KTM 250 SX-F who took the holeshot in the first heat, but Mlimi overshot the first turn and got passed by his team mate Kerim Fitz-Gerald. Fitz-Gerald was then dicing with Anthony Raynard who had made his way through the field after Mlimi’s mistake. Fitz-Gerald, picking the better lines, felt comfortable onboard his KTM 250 SX-F and chose the better lines, letting the multiple SA champion walk away victorious from the first MX2 heat.
The track then got watered before the second MX2 heat, and local favourite Johan Vogelsang took the holeshot with Kerim Fitz-Gerald in second place – covering Fitz-Gerald in mud. The front riders started pulling away, but Fitz-Gerald played catch-up and crossed the checkered flag in first place after an impressive overtake maneuver passing Tristan Purdon on the last lap. This heat will go down as one of the most exciting MX2 races over the last couple of years. Fitz-Gerald has now made up good points with his 1-1 MX2 finish in Bloemfontein and is now only 4 points off the lead for the championship.
Joshua Mlimi didn’t have luck on his side this time around and after overshooting the first corner and crashing in the first moto Mlimi had to settle for sixth place overall for the day. He nevertheless showed that he had the speed to be right up there and is determined to improve on his results.
In the MX1 Class Kerim Fitz-Gerald started the first heat in second place. Ten minutes in however, Fitz-Gerald had passed Raynard who was leading at that point and started pulling away, finishing the first heat with an eight-second lead. The second heat went even better for Fitz-Gerald: He took the holeshot and lead from start to finish, making up valuable points in the MX1 Class. He now needs to make up nine points to take over the championship lead.
The 85cc Pro Mini Class was no less exciting than MX1 and MX2 when Red Bull KTM’s Camden McLellan was leading the first heat up until the last lap where he got held back by a back marker, making it possible for Camden Durow to pass McLellan who had to settle for second place. A strong second heat saw McLellan finishing 2-2 in Pro Mini, taking second overall for the day.
In the 85cc Junior Class it was Red Bull KTM’s Jonathan Mlimi who came back from injury and impressed with an outstanding race, leading from start to finish in both heats and taking the overall win for the day. His teammate Nate McLellan also delivered solid results and finished in fourth place overall for the day.
With the team being on top form they are now eagerly awaiting round four of the National Motocross Championship at Syringa X Park in Gauteng, on 2 July.