Steven Odendaal is no stranger to the sport of motocross. He is the owner of Team Motocross Elite, an international motocross team and has previously competed in the sport of mountain biking as well as motocross. However, his racing career has primarily been in the motorbike category, having raced both with the Elite and alongside fellow Motocross Elite member Lance Armstrong.
In 2020, Steven Odendaal took part in a very unique project known as the “Tour of Britain”, a series of events designed to test the mettle of each member of the Motocross Elite team. Though he made an attempt at winning the event, he eventually came third behind Armstrong and Mark Cavendish.
Though he missed out on the victory, it was a memorable experience for Steven Odendaal and Team Motocross Elite, as the British series presented him with an opportunity to test his skills against a much stronger and more experienced team. This was a huge challenge for him and one that he had obviously prepared himself for before the race. He explained to CyclingTips in a phone interview prior to the race, “I've been racing for about ten years now and I've always looked at it as if it was a new challenge and always thought that if I got to a race I could win it. If you're prepared for that and you're mentally prepared you can do it.”
His race began with a group of motocross bikers who were not used to being on road bikes. Steven told CyclingTips he felt that they were quite relaxed but, in fact, they were quite tense. The race took place on a relatively tight mountain track and Steven, like many others, felt that he had to stay focused and motivated throughout the entire race.
Although he didn't have a great deal of luck, he did manage to beat the previous record held by the Tour of Britain winner Mark Cavendish, who finished the race second overall. And though he did make a mistake, he claimed that this was due to the fact that he wasn't properly warmed up before the race and not to any form of stress or exhaustion. He continued: “When I went out there the next day and I took some food it gave me energy and I was able to recover from that.
The next day he moved onto his road bikes and found that they were a little bit on the tight side. This made them harder to handle and more likely to crash. give him an accident.
He described his racing experience in the tour of Britain as “very enjoyable” and said that, had he not been involved in the tour, he may never have tried out motocross. “When you come in to a race and feel confident then it's hard to go out again, I really like that feeling.” As far as the results of his Tour of Britain experience are concerned, “I'm satisfied with what I achieved, I was satisfied with my own performance”.
With motocross Elite he went on to join Team Sky as a domestique and it allowed him to gain valuable experience. He has also gained some good form on the road bikes and was one of only two riders who finished the race in the lead. But, he feels that this was more a case of luck than hard work. “It's a good thing because at the time I was not really that happy with the bike.
“I did crash out at the end of the first day on road bikes and then I was really not happy with the way the team was riding the second day. So that's what gave me the idea of the lead and then I went into the third day, I wasn't thinking about anything else and the lead was gone. I was just doing the work and feeling good.”
As a result of the pressure placed upon the team, he said that his focus became too much and so the pressure got the better of him and he lost focus. “When I lost focus I was not concentrating at the same level as I should. This happens in every race and it is the same for all the riders but sometimes you will have to ride with this.
You don't want to get too disappointed because the best thing is to make the most out of the things that you can from your own and team's efforts. So I just had to ride with it and concentrate on the next race, and I hope to do that from now on. I am still young, very fit and still a fast rider, so I don't see why I couldn't have won this race.”