2013 MX1 & MX2 WOMZA NATIONAL CHAMPION RICHARD VAN DER WESTHUIZEN
24 June 2013
By Laren van der Westhuizen
MX SA: You shocked the MX fraternity
with your announcement of retirement at TEZA. What prompted the
RVW: Well I've been racing MX since I was 5 years old.
I've had so many good times, along with the bad. It's something
that i've been thinking about for the last two years and you can't
really race like that. Your head has to be clear. Even though I
just turned 27, our sport is for the young. To be at the top, everyone
know's how much dedication and time needs to go into it to win.
For the last 14 years, since i started taking it really seriously,
i've really tried to put in effort and its just time now. I think
everyone knows when it's time.
MX SA: You won
both championships and ended on a high. No thoughts after that,
that maybe there is another year left in you?
RVW: That was the goal. I had done the double
twice (winning MX1 and MX2 in the same year),and for me the third
time would be the icing on the cake. The age gap for me to have
raced overseas is gone and I wanted the third double really badly.
That was my goal and now that I've achieved it, I feel a huge sense
of relief and contentment.
MX SA: I remember some great and challenging
times with you in Europe. What has been the highlight of your career?
RVW: Yeah those were good times, tough but good. I think
my 12 SA National titles. When I first swung my leg over a dirt
bike, being an SA champ never even crossed my mind once. Definitely
racing for my country in last years MXoN. Beating Max Nagl straight
up in an 85 ADAC round in 2000. I have so many great memories!
MX SA: On the other hand, what has
been the toughest part of your career?
RVW: For me the toughest part is just accepting that
i'm not in Europe or the US being a professional racer. It was a
dream of mine and it just never materialized. Also the injuries
and being away from home alone weren't my fondest memories.
MX SA: You have a reputation as being
a hard worker. Is it determination or discipline that made you work
RVW: I think it's both. You have to want it badly,
more than the next guy. Racing against talented guys like Wyatt
and Kerim, and all the rest of the guys is not easy by any means.
These guys can handle themselves more than well enough on a track.
So to beat them and be in the same league of them wasn't easy. So
sacrifice, hard work, dedication and determination are all the things
you have to have in order to be the best.
MX SA: Who or what would you attribute
your years of success to?
RVW: My family and friends. My sponsors. Without them
there's just no ways I would come close to doing what I have. My
family lived and sacrificed so much for me. My dad would spend many
a night working on bikes trying to get them better. And spend all
his money and weekends on Dave and myself. My mom put in all her
hard earned money and time into Dave and myself too. Dave spent
weekend after weekend helping me and being there for me at the races.
It's a thankless job so I'm extremely grateful to have them behind
me in whatever I do. My friends are also a big part of my life and
have supported me so much over the years. I have a great group of
wonderful people in my life. And without my sponsors? I'd be nowhere.
Kids, look after your sponsors. It's an expensive sport so take
the time to go the extra mile for them. They do notice it...
MX SA: How influential was it to be
around the likes of Townley, Rattray, Leok and Swanepoel?
RVW: It was awesome as it was the same time as these
guys were breaking through. I raced the same GP where Townley won
his first GP of his career. I saw what they did and how much effort
they put in. I knew then, what it took and what needed to be done
to be successful. I tried to soak as much in as possible.
MX SA: Tinus Nel is a man that is mentioned
alot in your carreer. Who is he and how did he help?
RVW: Tinus Nel is a talent scout like no other. He was
a big part of Langstons, Rattrays and Swanepoels success and the
reason they made it overseas. He believed in SA talent and has a
huge passion for MX. He's very professional and I can owe a lot
of my success due to his belief in me. We are still great friends
and speak to each other often. He's a great guy.
MX SA: When will you ride your last
RVW: Even though I announced i'd be retiring come the
end of the year, i'm still doing all the regionals, the North South
challenge, the All African challenge. I will go to Zim to do the
Summer Series. So still plenty of racing, just without the pressure.
MX SA: Where to from here?
RVW: I want to put all my time and energy into our company
Racestar Graffix, and get more involved with our company in SA MX.
I want to try help grow the sport and get it to where it should
be. With guys like yourself, MXSA, and the whole team that pumped
the MX nationals this year, there's no reason why we can't run the
best MX this country has ever seen.
As always a huge thanks to my sponsors:
Full Throttle: A company that
started with me as my title sponsor in 2010 with the goal of winning
MX1 and MX2, we have grown so much over the years. I have become
great friends with Ryan Shapiro and he has supported me so much.
The passion he has is unbelievable at times. The big guys Shaun
and Louis have also, backed me 200% so thank you guys, this has
been a great journey and without you amazing help, I would never
have achieved so much. A massive thanks to Full throttle.
Yamaha: Adrian Bac, Peter Wilkins,
Peter Corkin and Steve Thompson put their faith into me back in
2011 and I have won a championship every year since. They are the
most reliable dirtbikes I have ever ridden bar none, and for me
there is only one brand of MX bike-Yamaha. This year my bikes were
extremely fast, and a huge part of why I won these championships.
My dad and I worked so hard with the guys at Yamaha, and the result
was fast, reliable bikes that honestly, are the best motorcycles
Ive ever ridden. Thank you!! Also to Lachais and Neville,
and the guys behind the scenes.
Monster Energy: A relationship
that started back in 2008, this is a company that has stood by me
through thick and thin over the last 6 years. Each year has gotten
better and with all the effort going into videos and social media
of late, this is only the tip of the iceberg. I will continue to
be a brand ambassador for them, which is very exciting. Thank you
to Garan, Nick, Greg, Seb, Wade and all the crew for all the effort
at every race we do.
Ohlins Suspension: Vic Maharaj
from VMP motorsport invested a lot into me last year bysupplying
me with factory Suspension from Europe. I have never had bikes that
handle so well. Thank you Vic, these last 2 years have been amazing
Oakley: My partnership with
Oakley started with my first national win and title in 2000 when
I was 14 years old. They have provided me with the worlds best eyewear
and goggles. They are my longest standing sponsor and Im proud
to be an O athlete. A huge thank you to Seth, Matthew and Abu for
all your incredible support and incredible product
TRP Distributors: Jim Tarantino
and Eury have looked after me with Thor MX gear, Gaerne boots and
FMF pipes since 2008. I have always looked good and been protected
so a big thank you to them. I still have gear in 2008 thats
in perfect condition, and they have supplied me with a lot of gear
over the years so thank you guys
Leatt Brace. Safety has always
been a huge concern for me, so I am proud to have represented Leatt
brace since 2007. The brace has saved me in some huge crashes and
I will never ride without one. Thanks to Paul Medell and Leatt for
all their Support
CTi Knee braces: Another company
that I started with in 2007, CTi Knee braces have been a savior
of mine in many occasions and is the big reason why I could race
in PE and Teza. Le Roux Viljoen has supplied me with amazing braces
over the years. Thanks so much!
Skullcandy and Ogio.: Music
has always been a huge part of my life and what a better way to
listen to it than through a pair of Skullcandys. Ogio was
a new addition to the Luks brands and also travelled in style this
year. Thanks guys
Unit Clothing: The amazing
MX casual wear out of Oz and the States have kept me in new clothing
for the past two years and their stuff is amazing. A true MX brand
that I wear with pride everyday. Thanks for all the clothes and
for keeping me looking fresh. Thanks to Monty and The Kartel Group
here in SA.
Vortex Igntions and Game Services:
Ken Somerville has helped me out with bike setup andVortex ignitions
for the past couple of years and they make such a big difference
to our bikes. Thanks Uncle Ken your help is much appreciated !!
32GI: We all know how physically
draining MX is. Having 32Gi as a sponsor kept me going and going.
Their products are the best Ive used and Ive been using
them since they started up. Thank you for giving me endurance all
Extreme clean: For all the
bike wash products and for keeping my bikes and kit super clean
the whole year round
The Full Throttle Yamaha Team Sponsors:
- Pirelli for all the amazing tires this year
- Repsol for all the generous amount of oils this year
- Delta for their brake pads
- Did for their chains
- Renthal for their sprockets and handlebars
- Progrip for their grips
- Shoei for keeping me kitted out in the best Helmets on the planet
- Zeta for all the bling parts making my bikes look factory
A huge thank you must go to my coach and one of my best friends
Ryan Frerichs at Racestrong training.
We were on an unstoppable program this year, and my body never felt
as good. I havent been sick at all and I have felt strong
the whole year. Thank you bud!
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