Richard van der Westhuizen

South AfricaSouth Africa

Richard van der Westhuizen is a professional motocross athlete based out of Johannesburg South Africa. Richie was born on the 10 of May in Welkom South Africa, into a family full of MX. Not only did his mother`s three brothers used to race, his father Andre used to battle it out against them at tracks such as Syringa Spa, Back of the Moon, Harmony Gold Mine and Rebiekstad Welkom. From a baby, his love for bikes started and so his career started at the age of 5, along with his brother Davey.

He raced his first race on his 6th birthday although not a good one. There were only 3 other competitors in the race and all of them lapped him twice. This did not go down well. So he worked on it but never really shined in Junior MX, always being known as the second place man.

It was only when he turned 13, did he really start maturing as a rider. He won his first national in 2000 aboard a CR80 for Tinus Nel`s Team Vangani Racing at a muddy and treacherous Port Elizabeth Circuit. He went on that year to win his first national championship at a nail-biting finale in Bloemfontein. He went on to win another title, the Highschool Class in 2002. In 2003, he decided to pursue his dream of racing professionally in Europe and lived in Scotland for the whole year. The results started coming in and just after he turned 17, he made a Top 5 finish at a highly competitive British Championship. Not even two weeks later, he broke his wrist. Undeterred, he came back but yet again broke his wrist for the second time and was forced to come home.

In 2004 Richie had his worst year of racing and just about called it quits. But the fight in him wasn`t over. He came back in 2005 to win the Open Seniors Championship at 19 years old against many fast and established competitors. He won the title again in 2006. At the end of 2007 Richie decided to give it one last go overseas and lived in America for a couple of months. Again he had some good finishes but decided to come back home.

Richie came back with nothing to his name besides debt and frustration. It was Suzuki SA and Geoff Den and his family and friends who put their faith into Richie and gave him a ride. It was well worth it as he brought home his first MX2 Championship, as well as the MX1 title. He backed it up by winning both titles again in 2009. In 2010, he narrowly missed both titles and was runner up to GP star Wyatt Avis in both classes. In 2011, Richie claimed back his SA MX! national title, winning 5 out of 6 Nationals during the season. In MX2, a little misfortune saw him finish 2nd in the season

Richie now has many companies who support him for the 2012 season. He is riding under the professional outfit of Full Throttle Yamaha Factory Team, and is hungrier than he has ever been. It is said that this year’s crop of riders is the best SA Motocross has seen in a good couple years so this season will go down in the record books.

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