Three titles for Red Bull KTM riders
THE newly designed and recently opened Terra Topia MX Track north of Fourways, Gauteng, played host to the final round of the South African National Motocross championship, a seven-round season with all seven races to count towards the championship.
With most titles still up for grabs, the motocross fraternity was looking forward to an epic showdown on what turned out to be a heated day, on and off the track. With more and more talented youngsters coming through the ranks, the pressure in the 85cc Junior class was on between Red Bull KTM’s Jonathan Mlimi and his team-mate Nate McLellan. Both set a strong performance during the 2016 season with Mlimi leading the championship going into round seven and McLellan 30 points behind him in second place.
Mlimi ended the season off on a high with an impressive 1-1 finish at Terra Topia, being crowned the 2016 85cc Junior champion ahead of Nate McLellan, both racing their trusty KTM 85 SX weapons.
Red Bull KTM’s Camden McLellan, older brother to Nate and 2016’s 65cc Junior champion, made a big step in 2016, when he went straight from the 65cc Junior class to the competitive Pro Mini class.
Camden had secured the 85cc Pro Mini title at the previous round at Harrismith. He finished the season off with a great second place in heat one and an average result in heat two where he battled with brake problems at Terra Topia. He had clinched his title with overall wins at Pietermaritzburg and Harrismith, and now looks forward to competing in the Mini Os in the U.S. for the first time and next year he plans to defend his Pro Mini title in South Africa.
“Besides that, I will be heading off to Europe for a few events, so it’s going to be a busy season,” said McLellan.
Mlimi, who was crowned 125cc High School champion in 2015, was thrown in the deep end when he moved up into the highly competitive MX2 class, which can be quite intimidating. He quickly got to grips changing from two-stroke to four-stroke and finished 2016 in fourth place in the MX2 class.
Looking back at his 2016 season, he is proud of winning a heat at Harrismith and said he now knows what he needs to improve on for next year.
In the premier classes Kerim FitzGerald was untouchable, after getting both titles in the bag early on in the season, he set himself a goal to win both the MX1 and MX2 championship in the same season and came oh-so-close.
He now heads off to Red Bull Straight Rhythm in the U.S. — WR.