Next step for Brad Cox

2016-01-13 06:00
                                                                 PHOTO: supplied Brad Cox will step up from the 125cc to 250cc class on the European motocross circuit this year.

PHOTO: supplied Brad Cox will step up from the 125cc to 250cc class on the European motocross circuit this year.

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HIS surname is royalty in the South African motorcycle racing scene, but Brad Cox isn’t following in the footsteps of his famous father, Alfie.

He’s chosen his own path, but inevitably, success on motorbikes is at the centre of it.

Last year he joined Bodo Schmidt Motorsport, a satellite KTM team, to compete in Europe, but it proved a testing time for the former Merchiston and Maritzburg College pupil, whose form was good, but his injury luck poor.

The plan was for him to race the European circuit on a 125cc machine, which would be a stepping stone along the path to his end goal of racing in the world championships series.

“I came into the season really strong and I was getting really good results in Belgium and Germany,” he said.

“Unfortunately, two days before the first European round of racing I went out and had a big crash and broke everything in my left shoulder.”

Sidelined for four months in Europe, including two months in which he was not allowed to do a thing, was very tough, but he received outstanding medical and rehab assistance and with a huge effort he was able to race the last two races of the season in Greece and the Netherlands.

“It was really good. I got 14th and 20th for 18th overall. I wasn’t 100%, but I showed some flashes of speed and in my first race I got to run up front for about 10 minutes, so that was really cool,” he said.

Cox then went on to ride the International Six Days Enduro [ISDE] and performed strongly to show he was over his injuries.

“I got a silver medal, two or three minutes outside of a gold medal,” he said.

“I had a penalty on the first day. I made a mistake changing a tyre, so I was a bit late and that cost me the gold medal, but it was good. On a 125 at the age of 17, I am happy with that.”

He has been training hard at home since November and returns to Europe at the end of January.

“I have a new team for next year. I am going to the bigger junior factory racing team. I will be based in Belgium and I will be doing the European 250, so it’s the next step and then, hopefully, in a year or two I will riding MX2 World Championships,” he said.

Moving up from a 125cc to a 250cc motorcycle takes some getting used to.

“It’s a lot heavier, it has a lot more power. I took to it quite quickly, but I did struggle with the basics, like over-revving. Everything you have learnt, you need to re-learn, just basic stuff …”

Apart from his motocross racing plans for 2016, Cox will once again take on the ISDE and will also tackle the Roof of Africa.

The question everyone wants to ask is whether he will one day take part in the Dakar Rally in which his dad won numerous stages and was a regular top five finisher.

“I have always said no, but I don’t know.

“I used to get scared watching the stuff they used to do, but now it’s a lot smaller bikes and a lot like what we ride in South Africa in a normal hare scramble - fast, open roads with some technical stuff … one day, probably, I will get to do that, but that’s quite a long way away.”

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