The national motocross season is well on its way, with the second leg of 2016 set to kick off at Zone 7, near Melkbosstrand, this coming weekend.
Looking to put his stamp on the national standings, Anthony Raynard will be hoping that home turf advantage will count in his favour as he fends off riders from around the country.
Raynard had a great run at leg 1 of the national series, held in Port Elizabeth earlier this year, where he landed a first place finish in the MX2 class, with the gold just eluding him in the MX1 class, where he ended in second place overall. This time he is looking to make it a double.
“This season has been one of the best starts of an MX season I’ve ever had. I have a great team and support structure behind me and I have gelled really well with my Husqvarna bikes.
“The first leg was at one of my favourite tracks in PE. It’s a full sand track that is extremely demanding in the physical sense and constantly changing throughout the day. Fitness, consistency and fast racing was critical on that circuit,” he said.
Although he was happy with his performance, Raynard went back to the drawing board to tweak his mistakes.
The Cape Town leg is a less forgiving circuit and every little detail needs to be in place to ensure success on race day.
With that in mind, he feels that he has ironed out the deficiencies and will be looking to put on a thunderous performance this weekend.
“I worked hard in the off-season and improved on the points I thought were weak so I am confident in my physical ability and the condition of the bikes.
“My trainer, John Wakefield, and I built a good programme leading to the first leg in PE and have kept the same consistency ahead of the Cape Town leg so we are looking strong for round 2.
“Motocross is an individual sport so naturally it is extremely competitive causing some tough situations at times.
“However, there is mutual respect and a healthy rivalry between most of the riders as we know it’s a high-risk sport and no one wants to get injured.
“My biggest threat at the moment would be Kerrim Fitzgerald and Neville Bradshaw who both have years of international experience behind them and are competitive in every race,” he said.
When he is not on his bike, Raynard is hard at work peddling motcross gear via his online store that he started at the beginning of last year. He has also taken the reins as a trainer, coach and mentor for up-and-coming young riders who themselves dream of a professional career in motocross.
“For the past few years I have been involved with training camps and individual rider training. With kids getting involved in the sport from as young an age as 3 years old, learning the basics is very important. From there we take things step by step as the riders progress.
“For me, as a coach, I love seeing the kids improve and overcome their doubts.
“I judge each rider’s ability individually as they progress at different rates but they all have goals of becoming champions one day.
“They are the stars of the future and if I can play my part in helping them turn into professional riders that would be the complete package in this sport for me.
“I really want to see motocross become a main stream sport with more television and media coverage in SA. With the help of a strong motosport federation and networking with the right individuals, I believe the sport has the potential to evolve into an SA television favourite,” he said.