South Africa’s Brad Cox gets a podium place in the gruelling 2024 Dakar Rally

South Africa - Brad Cox - 2024 Dakar Rally
South Africa - Brad Cox - 2024 Dakar Rally

Images: Supplied by Brad Cox

South Africa’s Brad Cox gets a podium place in the gruelling 2024 Dakar Rally

Described by even the most hardened competitors as one of the most challenging races on record, South Africa’s Brad Cox (25) was undeterred, putting on an impressive performance on the back of a stellar 2023 season to place 3rd in the Rally2 category and finishing 13th overall in the Bike Category at this year’s Dakar Rally. Brad was also the only South African to make it to the Top 20 overall in the contest.

Running from 5 to 19 January 2024 in Saudi Arabia, this was the 46th edition of the Dakar Rally which saw 239 vehicles – 96 of which were bikes – competing over almost 8,000 km from the ancient city of AlUla to the shores of the Red Sea, passing through the oceans of dunes in the Empty Quarter.

Competing for BAS World KTM Racing on his KTM-450 motorcycle as a privateer rather than a factory rider, Brad Cox was elated with his 3rd year at the Dakar Rally – although his 2023 experience was short-lived. The resident from Cato Ridge in KwaZulu-Natal said this was an opportunity to ‘set the record straight’.

“Dakar this year was amazing. I came in with big expectations and quite a bit of pressure because I’d done really well at the end of the 2023 season and the World Rally Championship rounds,” enthused the young rider, who shares his passion for the sport with his father, the ex-KTM factory rider, Alfie Cox. “The setback in 2023 – crashing and dislocating my elbow on day one – meant I was coming to set the record straight, which I did. I put good stages together where I was fighting inside of the top 10, finishing 3 times in the top 10 overall stages, and once in the top 5 overall stage.”

Brad said he had lost a bit of time with navigation issues and bike problems in week 1, but a hard year of training saw him overcome this to achieve an amazing result – despite incredibly difficult conditions.

“It’s two long weeks of racing and was the toughest Dakar I’ve done and the toughest some of the more experienced competitors have done. We did massive mileage – over 8,000 km racing for over 53 hours – so it was super long days, tough terrain… it was relentless. As a privateer, I also have to fund my way but am lucky I have amazing sponsors that back me, but at the end of the day, you have to put a result on the board so they can continue backing you!”

Brad’s Dakar Rally performance continues his impressive streak, having won the last two rounds of the World Rally Championships in the Rally2 division, placing 8th overall. He also clinched his 10th South African Championship in 2023.  

“This has set me up nicely for the rest of the year. My goal is to continue competing in the Rally2 World Championships and hopefully take the top spot. Although I’ll have to miss Abu Dhabi because of funding, I will be in the next three rounds after that. The main goal is to get into a factory team!”

Commenting on Brad’s performance, Bart van der Velden, the BAS World KTM Racing Team Manager commented:

“It was really impressive to see the strides he has made in the past few years. From the first rally, we knew that he had riding skills – the only difficult thing for the fast riders is that they have to slow down to learn the navigation and that was challenging. But it was great to see the strides he has made and I see a good future for Bradley. He’s a great guy to work with, it’s a pleasure to have him around.”

Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing at Toyota SA, a Dakar Rally event sponsor, added: “We are immensely proud to be associated with Brad. His third place in Rally2 at the 2024 Dakar was incredible. Toyota SA has been involved with Dakar for 13 years and we know the commitment and effort it takes just to get there, let alone finish and achieve success. We are lucky to have partnered with such a young star and believe that Brad will continue to succeed in his career. We are happy that we can assist him realise his goals and can't wait to see what the future holds.!”

Brad was able to compete with the help of generous sponsors who were committed to backing his racing dream. These included Toyota Gazoo Racing, ASP international rope access, Bas World KTm Racing Team, Leader Tread, Trollope Mining, Face First Media, PSlaser Racing, KTM South Africa, Airoh Helmets, Gaerne Boots, Shot Racing, TRP Distributors, 100%, USN, USWE, and Red Bull.

Keep updated on Brad Cox’s Rally2 journey by following his social media handles:

Instagram: @bradcox34

Facebook: Bradley cox #34

X: @bradleycox34

Article Courtesy of www.oliviajones.co.za