Making a comeback to racing after a horrific injury, Brett Swanepoel is back up to speed having just finished off the season by taking 3rd overall in the 2019 SA National Enduro Championship. Brett is in full preparation mode for the upcoming Motul Roof of Africa and will be heading up to Afriski in Lesotho to take part in the Snow+Rock Enduro as part of his preparation.
We caught up with Brett to chat about the injury and his return to racing, the upcoming events he’ll be participating in and more…
You sustained an extremely horrific injury last year and have made a full recovery. Take us through the injury and your process of recovery up until this point?
2018 was a really tough year, you don’t realise but when you ride most days and train every other day and then it all suddenly stops it is so tough to get yourself busy. For a whole year I thought that I would never be able to ride again and then when it came down to the first National Enduro of 2019, I had no idea how I was going to get through it. The injury itself was very painful and at one stage I was needing to take anti-inflammatories daily. The hardest part of the whole injury and recovery process for me was going to a race and not being nearly as fit as I was before my injury, that definitely took a huge toll on me mentally.
One thing I can take away from this experience is that this injury has made me stronger – I believe that everything happens for a reason. I am now strong and fit so I am over the moon!
After going through all that, finishing 3rd in the 2019 SA National Enduro Championship is quite the achievement. Give us your thoughts on this year’s racing and your results?
The season started off really tough, I was not a front runner at all! I was just surviving to get through the first two rounds, but it all has come together and I managed to win the last round of the SA National Enduro. This was huge for me considering where I started and I am thrilled with the 3rd overall placement!
What have been some of your highlights of 2019?
Definitely IMPI Enduro, I came 3rd overall and on Day 3 I was fighting for the win. That was definitely a turning point in my season! Things just got better for me from there. The last round of the SA National Enduro where I won the E2 class and overall on the day was a huge step up for me!
Now heading into the Motul Roof of Africa, how are you feeling?
I am feeling really strong and good heading up to the Motul Roof of Africa, I feel like I could race it tomorrow. My riding is back to speed and my fitness is really good, so it’s all falling into place.
Preparation is obviously key for an event like the Roof. What does your preparation and training entail?
I shift the training into longer days and more days of riding that are back to back. There hasn’t been too much change as the National Enduro races are flag to flag, so it is pretty similar training.
We hear that you will be heading to Afriski in Lesotho for this year’s Snow+Rock Enduro Event. Are you taking this event as part of your preparation for the Motul Roof of Africa?
I am really excited to be heading to Afriski for the Snow+Rock Enduro Event! It will definitely form part of my Motul Roof of Africa training programme because of the type of riding that only Lesotho can offer. It is also a multi-day GPS event so apart from the terrain and altitude training I can also practice my self-navigation skills. Snow+Rock is offering me a small taste of what is happening in December at the Roof.
What are you looking forward to most at Snow+Rock?
I have never been to Afriski, so I am pretty excited to check it out. Apart from the awesome training opportunity I am also looking forward to being around friends and having a good time. I believe the after-party is gonna be awesome with a live band from Durban, The Golden Super Hawks, so I’m also looking forward to a bit of fun!
In what position are you aiming to finish at this year’s Roof?
I am definitely aiming for the podium. I’ve placed 2nd and 3rd before, so I am hoping to keep up the momentum and finish this year off strong!
Any shout outs?
Thanks to every person who has helped me, supported me and believed in me during these tough times! It has been a long road and it took an awesome team of people to get to this point. I would also like to thank my team Pepson Plastics Husqvarna backed by Liqui Molly and all my sponsors for their continued support.
Photos by ZCMC.