Taki to race in Brett Swanepoel’s place
The 2018 off-road racing season may not have started on the best footing for the Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing team on the hard news that its star rider, Brett Swanepoel would be sidelined for perhaps his most promising season yet after crashing in a regional race. The team has however been buoyed by news of a fresh rider signing on the eve of the National Cross Country season.
Meet Taki Bogiages, the young man charged to stand tall in the sidelined Swanepoel’s shoes. The Pretoria rider who races with number 222, admits that number 111 Swanepoel has been a role model for many a year: “Brett is one of the idols in my race career,” Taki admitted. “I’m lucky enough to have raced against him in the National Cross Country Series’ OR3 class and we have often spoken and always have a good laugh. “Now I am privileged to step into his boots.”
Bogiages ironically witnessed Swanepoel’s season-ending accident and instead racing on to potentially win, stopped to help his stricken friend. “Brett was in the lead, when I saw his bike go tumbling out of the corner of my eye. “When I got to him, I saw how severe the crash was and immediately called for help — I tried to keep Brett calm and to control the bleeding while we waited.”
A week later, Bogiages took a call from Husqvarna asking him to commit to a full National Cross Country OR2 class campaign as well as a ride for the National Enduro E2 class season and he jumped at the chance.
“With our current OR1 champ and E2 Enduro hopeful out, it's been a scramble to reload in these categories at such a late stage,” Husqvarna South Africa brand manager Fred Fensham explained. “We are however extremely excited to have secured Taki Bogiages’ services.
“Taki has grabbed the opportunity by the horns — he is an exciting young rider and has slotted into the Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing team very quickly and we are now back on track and confident of a good season. “I’m also sure we will have Brett in the pit to give the team crucial advice and moral support while he recovers…”
Taki Bogiages grew up on a smallholding and was exposed to dirt bikes from a very young age before stepping into the Cross Country scene at 16. He never looked back, going on to conquer the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’, Roof of Africa with 21st in the Silver Class on debut in the tough 2013 race. In 2017 Taki scored a Gold Class Roof of Africa finish en route to the GXCC OR3 title, which he topped off with a National Cross Country OR3 win in last year’s final.
Husqvarna’s offer presented final year BSC Chemistry student Taki somewhat of a curve ball, but Bogiages did not hesitate to sign up for probably the most exciting season of his race career. “The season ahead is as busy as the last year of my degree and it’s going to mean a lot of early mornings and late nights, but it’s what I love doing, so I’ll make it work — I’m sure I’ll fit it all in with a little proper time management!
“I want to be on that Cross Country OR2 podium as often as I can and to push for the championship,” Taki concluded. “I’ll also be racing against some of the best riders in the world in the National Enduro series where I plan to improve with each round and aim to finish in the top five of my class. “What a challenge!”