The young South African racer did incredibly well to finish his first Dakar Rally and fulfil a dream he’d been working towards for well over two years.
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (15 January 2022) – Navigating treacherous sand dunes in the Saudi Arabian desert for 13 days while racing against some of the world’s best riders is no easy feat. But for 23-year-old Brad Cox, competing in the Dakar Rally has always been in his blood. Brad – the son of 13-time Dakar participant and ex-KTM factory rider Alfie Cox – completed his first-ever Dakar Rally on Friday, 14 January, where he finished in a respectable 25th position overall and fifth in the GP-2 category. This has pushed him to third in the World Rally Championship rankings.
Competing for BAS World KTM Racing on his KTM-450 motorcycle, the Cato Ridge (KZN) resident started the rally strong, showcasing impressive navigational skills and good speed in the first half of the race.
Unfortunately, he hit a rock in one of the canyons, which caused his fuel tank to leak. Drawing on his resources and years of working with his father at Alfie Cox Racing, Brad was able to repair his bike. While the setback had effectively put him out of the hunt for top position, he was able to complete the race and make his way through to the bivouac.
Commenting on the race at the finish, Brad said: “What an incredible experience to get my first rally done and dusted. I exceeded all my expectations, which I think was the best part. The mechanical on stage nine impacted the overall result a bit, but I couldn’t ask for anything more than being out there every day with the guys – it was incredible. I am over the moon. This was the stepping stone of my rally career and I’m ready for many more great years to come.”
The 2022 Dakar Rally is the third outing in Saudi Arabia, giving racers the chance to explore new landscapes with an even more substantial presence of sand in the specials. The unfamiliar terrain forced riders and crews to decipher the nuances of navigation of the desert and ‘avoid losing bearings in a hodgepodge of tracks’. The Dakar Rally is a massive feat of endurance, mental tenacity and physical stamina and completing it is testament to incredible skill and dedicated training.
Over the years, Brad has proved himself capable in motocross, enduro and offroad riding, which made rally racing a natural progression. He competed in a number of enduro events the past few years, taking home nine national titles, with his first-ever rally in October – the Rally du Maroc – where he finished third in Rally2 behind American Mason Klein.
The young South African racer did incredibly well to finish his first Dakar Rally and fulfil a dream he’d been working towards for well over two years. His performance indicated quite clearly that Brad is a young rider with a bright future in racing ahead of him.
Brad was able to compete with the help of generous sponsors who were committed to backing his racing dream. These included Leadertread, KTM, BAS Dakar Racing Team, Trademore, PS Laser, Pegasus, Toyota Gazoo Racing and JBFE.