Odendaal reflects on the first half of 2019 and his history making “save” at Brno GP
The second half of the 2019 MotoGP season kicked off last weekend with the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic that witnessed one of the most impressive “saves” in the motorcycle racing history. With over 11 million views on the MotoGP TM Facebook, the video capturing Steven Odendaal being thrown over the handle bars of his NTS RW Racing GP Moto2 machine, sliding on his feet to stop the bike and get back on to finish the practice went viral within a few minutes of the incident on Saturday morning in Brno. “We were having another really difficult weekend. I could not get comfortable on the bike and had two crashes on Friday, the second one of which left my body very bruised. I was debating on Friday night whether I would be able to ride on Saturday. When the second high-side came on Saturday morning, I knew my body could not take another hit and I did everything I could to avoid hitting the ground again. I was travelling at around 140 km/h when I landed on my feet and started sliding next to the bike, holding onto the handle bars as hard as I could to steer the bike.
I really put my amazing Rainers boots to test and I am so grateful they passed! My feet and ankles were completely unhurt, and I was able to get back on and finish the practice! I was lucky for sure, but I think my core strength also played a significant role. As I touched the brakes and started slowing down, it became more and more difficult to steer the bike in that position and it was easy to fall over. Many people have compared my moment to that of Randy Mamola back in 1985. He was going faster which made it a bit more frightening on the video. I believe that the speed I was going required a bit more skill than luck. I am just happy to have been added on the list of the greatest saves in the MotoGP history for which I have earned some great exposure for my sponsors.” An exclusive interview about this incident will be aired by CNN on Thursday evening.
During the summer break, Odendaal returned to the South African national championship with a wild card entry in the Superbike class aboard his Yamaha R1. The three-time South African Supersport champion (2014, 2015 and 2017) dominated both races at Zwartkops, having only ridden a Superbike on three occasions prior to the event. “I got an R1 earlier this year but due to the injury that kept me out of action the entire winter break and that made me miss the first three Moto2 races this season, I was not able to ride properly until this July. It was great to be back on top of the podium in Zwartkops. We have had a difficult year so far with my NTS RW Racing team. It started with an injury, missing winter testing and first three races with a completely new machine. We have been struggling since with adapting to the new bike and finding the right set-up for me to feel comfortable on the bike. This class is extremely competitive, and I think that missing the first three races really did set us back. I hope we can find a solution soon and bounce back because this is not our place where we are at the moment. I am looking forward to Austria this weekend, this track suits my riding style as well as the NTS machine and I am looking to turn this year around!”