History made! South African racer Steven Odendaal wins in Spain
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South African-born motorbike racer Steven Odendaal made history by winning his first-ever race in The 2021 FIM Supersport World Championship, Pirelli Aragon Round in Race 1 on Saturday.
This was Odendaal’s first victory at this level
It didn’t exactly come in the most glamourous fashion for the Johannesburg-born racer Odendaal, as he took advantage of a collision between earlier pacesetters Julez Cluzel and Niki Tuuli who race for GMT94 YAMAHA and MV Agusta Corse Clienti, respectively.
But that would matter very little to Odendaal as he was a victim of misfortune himself, recently having suffered the misfortune of a high-speed crash at the Supported Test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, an accident that left the Evan Bros. Yamaha WorldSSP. Team racer with a dislocated shoulder. He then showed great character to return this week, in victorious fashion, creating history in the process.
Odendaal started shifting gears and moved ahead approaching turn 15, before keeping out the likes of rookie Dominique Aegerter of Switzerland as well as Philipp Oettl from Germany who finished second and third respectively, to complete the season opener’s podium.
His reaction after winning
Speaking after the win, the 28-year-old said
“I’ve been working towards this moment for a long time. The team were excellent the whole weekend. We experienced some difficult conditions during this race because of the temperature.” Said Odendaal.
After this victory in the first race of round one Odendaal occupies the first position in the championship standings, leading with 25 points. The likes of Aegerter and Oettl remain at close quarters, however, as they racked up a points haul of 20 and 16 respectively.
After the race, he went on to post the following on his official Instagram account.
“First victory in world SSP @worldsbk
A huge thanks to my team @evanbrosracingteam sponsors and family”
No stranger to accolades
Odendaal is no stranger to winning, as he was also crowned the 2016 FIM CEV Moto2 European Champion, in a season where he was victorious six times, before making the podium a further nine times. It was only last year where he switched to World Supersport with EAB Ten Kate Yamaha for his debut season in the category, finishing Top 5 overall in the championship standings.
He has outlined his goals for 2021 which include winning the WorldSSP title with his current employers who are currently defending champions.