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24 February 2017
by KTM South Africa.
Published with Permission.

Kerim Fitz-Gerald (# 108) © Eric Palmer / Afreakin Photography

Port Elizabeth hosted the first round of the Monster Energy National MX Series. The event drew big numbers in every class. This, combined with a challenging track, made for some exciting racing all round.

The Red Bull KTM team entered the event with high hopes but a few mishaps cost them dearly and they now look ahead to Round 2 for redemption and to capitalise on their pre-season good form.

In the MX 85 Juniors class, youngster Nate McLellan had a solid day and fought all the way from the back in both Motos to finish runner-up twice, which secured him second overall.

Camden Mc Lellan (# 1) © Eric Palmer / Afreakin Photography

The Pro Mini class saw Red Bull KTM’s Camden McLellan and Jono Mlimi both finish on the podium. McLellan had two disappointing starts, riding from second last to impressively take both wins by over 15 seconds. He delivered two flawless rides and raised his hand as the man to beat for the 2017 season. Mlimi managed a fourth in Moto 1, but after some motivation in the pits he managed to grab the hole shot in Moto 2 and ended up finishing second, placing him third overall.

In MX 2, reigning champion Kerim Fitz-Gerald got off to a horrid start, going down hard while fighting for fourth place and was unable to finish Moto 1 due to damaging his wrist. His trainer had to strap the injured wrist for the following Moto to try and salvage some points. A courageous Fitz-Gerald managed to finish fifth in Moto 2.

MX 2 rider Joshua Mlimi had a dismal Moto 1 finishing 9th. Moto 2 he came out firing and held his own charging right behind the top 5 guys finishing in 7th for 7th overall.

In MX 1, new addition to the team, Ross Branch, better known for his off-road cross-country exploits, delivered a strong performance. While lying fifth in Moto 1 he was thrown over the handlebars, which saw him eventually finish seventh. He led Moto 2 initially but a few costly mistakes pushed him back into fifth place for a combined sixth overall.

Also in MX 1, Moto 1 saw Kerim going down in the 1st lap and making his way from last to 6th still setting some of the fastest lap times of the race in the late stages. Moto 2 the team was not sure if Kerim was going to be riding after his injury. It was damage control and he managed a fighting 6th for 7th overall on the day.

It is back to the drawing board for the Red Bull KTM squad but they are still upbeat about their early season form and are optimistic ahead of the next round on 8 April at Zone 7 in Cape Town.

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