|The National Motocross season has been opened with victory for Q4 Fuel Husqvarna racing. Star riders Maddy Malan and Neil van der Vyver overcame Port Elizabeth’s notoriously sandy Rover Raceway to snatch a win in the MX1 and 65cc Classes respectively.|
Malan has been clear from the moment he entered the 2019 season that it would be his year to “make the wrongs right”. After coming painfully close to a championship title last season, the 21-year old is intent on putting the past behind in him in a new pursuit of national glory.
Before the gates even dropped for the first moto on Saturday, his hope of making this season different was off to a testing start.
“I crashed in the practice lap and hurt my shoulder, and there was nothing I could do but push through the pain for the rest of the day. To make matters worse, I hit a sand roller in the first moto and went straight over the handle bars,” explained Malan.
Despite the streak of bad luck, the Natal based rider not only fought to finish the moto in second but bounced back to win the second moto.
“I made a few changes to the bike, ripped a holeshot and just never looked back! It felt so good out there – I found a rhythm and settled to a big lead out front pretty early,”
As he looks ahead to the second round in Cape Town, he made sure to add, “I have to keep the momentum rolling and not get complacent about anything. It’s a long championship and I’m not resting on my win. The guys are going to be coming into Cape Town even harder!”
The Port Elizabeth race also marked a significant moment for teammate Neil van der Vyver.
Having already snatched up the 50cc crown, van der Vyver has spent the last year finding his feet in an older and more demanding 65cc Class. After multiple podium finishes in 2018, the rising star quickly discovered his potential to keep up with his new rivals.
“I came into 2019 with one goal, and that’s to become the 65cc Champion! The track was really rough, but I won both races today and get to take the red plate back home to Cape Town,” enthused van der Vyver.
Adding a cherry to the top of an already successful day of racing was new recruit Nick Adams, who narrowly missed the podium to finish fourth in the MX2 Class.
To have even made it to the start line was a victory in itself for Adams, who has fought hard to overcome an injury that he sustained in November last year.
The rider was off to a nervous start as he pulled away for his new team and had some unfortunate crashes in the first moto. He really showed his mettle in the second moto, however, and returned to the pits in triumph with his first win for the Husqvarna team.
“I went into the second moto with a positive mindset to right my mistakes and maximise the points I lost in the first heat. It’s good to have that racing experience now as we head into the second round in Cape Town, and I know by then my fitness will have improved too,” said Adams.
With years of experience racing both locally and internationally, the rounds to come will undoubtedly reveal the true potential that fans were given only a glimpse of on Saturday.