Brilliant racing, extreme test

2011-04-23 00:00

RACING at the CSA MTB National at Cascades was nothing short of hectic last weekend. Despite 20 mm of rain falling during the U23 and Elite races, it was great to see a full women’s elite field on the start line and a host of quality international competitors in the men’s categories, displaying brilliant racing under difficult, extremely muddy conditions.

The international Trek World Racing team showed their class with Lukas Flückiger (SUI) winning the Elite Men’s race, Willow Koerber (USA) finishing second in the Elite Women’s race and Mathias Flückiger (SUI) third in the Elite Men’s race. Topeak Ergon’s Irina Kalentieva (RUS) took top honours in the Elite Women’s race, with a two-minute gap over Koerber.

Continuing the winning momentum from their XCO team-mates, Trek World Racing’s Aaron Gwin (USA) clocked the fastest descent in 3:05,99 with Justin Leov (NZL) a few seconds back in second place, while Tracy Moseley (GBR) won the Elite Women’s race. Well done to South African Hayden Brown who claimed a third place in a stellar field.

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With the opening round of the UCI MTB World Cup taking place at Cascades, this weekend, mountain bike enthusiasts will be looking forward to plenty of action and excitement, especially with world renowned competitors and South Africa favourites Burry Stander and Greg Minnaar expected to fly SA’s flag on top of the podium.

Both the cross-country and downhill tracks are spectator friendly and for those willing to do a little walking there are many viewing spots available. Tickets and spectator maps will be on sale at the venue.

Cross–country action starts today at 9.30 am with the Junior Men, followed by Elite Women and U23 Women at 11.45 am and Elite Men at 2.30 pm. Tomorrow sees the Junior Men’s and Women’s cross-country race at 9.30 am, followed by Elite Women’s Downhill at 1.15 pm and Elite Men’s at 2 pm. More information can be found at www.mtbworldcupsa.co.za

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Brandon Stewart (Team DCM) headed a thrilling sprint finish in Sunday’s Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge to beat Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN Qhubeka).

Niyonshuti, a Rawandan national racing in South Africa for most of the year, couldn’t match Stewart’s local knowledge and final sprint.

While the weather may have been cold and wet, the racing was very hot. Stewart and Niyonshuti, with previous winner Andrew Hill, dominated proceedings at the front of the race on a course that was spectacular in scenery but treacherous under wheel as a result of continuous rain during the morning.

With less than a kilometre to go, the pressure finally told on Hill, who dropped off the front leaving Stewart and Niyonshuti to battle for line honours. Stewart’s winning time was 1:47,51, with Niyonshuti only a second later. Hill crossed the line a further two minutes behind.

Amy-Jane Mundy revelled in the adverse conditions and finished in the top 25 overall. Her winning time of 2:31,06 highlighted the difficult riding conditions.

Yvette Roberts was the second woman home in 2:35.12 and Junior, Andrea Deboer, finished third.

The 18 km race, ridden mostly through the beautiful Gwahumbe Game Reserve, was won by Brandon Carew in 1:03,50. Cath de Souza was the first woman home in 1:09,21

* * *

The final event in the aQuelle Mudman Series revelled in the muddy conditions at Thornlea Dam near Eston. Competitors were not deterred by the adverse weather and raced in all-out mudman spirit. Heading up the full-distance swim event was none other than Tyrone White, who has dominated the series. He claimed his third successive win in a time of one hour, 17 minutes and 19 seconds. Team-mate Daniel Carleton placed second (1:20:26) with Justin Porteous third (1:22:56).

In the women’s race it was Jeannie Bomford first (1:32:27) ahead of sisters Sarah Gray (1:33:53) and Kirsty Scott (1:45:20).

The half-distance swim event was well supported with Ryan Landsberg taking the win in 54,16 and Mikaela Jonsson first home in the women’s race (58,23). Jedson Tooms once again led home the full-distance paddle (1:31:54) while Craig Jarrett (1:01:32) and Natalie Veckranges (1:31:34) were the respective winners of the half distance paddle event.

Full results are available on www.elitetiming.co.za.

* * *

Burry Stander may have been avoiding the rain-soaked MTB Nationals course at Cascades last weekend, but he wasn’t resting on his laurels — instead, he made an appearance at the KZN Lassen Series at Camperdown to sharpen his racing speed and won the race. That may not be surprising until one hears that he was riding his 29er mountain bike! Stander narrowly outsprinted U23 rider Jean Spies to claim victory in the 70 km lap race in one hour, 41 minutes and 42 seconds. Sean Merredew once again showed his class to claim third place ahead of Stander’s Cape Epic partner, Christoph Sauser in fourth and hardened veteran Michael Adey in fifth.

In the veteran, U16 and women’s start it was U16 rider Ryan Felgate who broke the tape (1:51:16) just four seconds ahead of veterans Trevor Thompson in second and Paul Lancaster third. The women played things out until the last hill where Brenda Potts dug deep for the win (2:00:16) ahead of Claire Matthews and Charmaine McCallum.

Sheldon Lahner and Lauren Varty were the respective winners of the 30 km race. The next event in the KZN Lassen Series takes place on Sunday, May 15. For further details log onto www.mrpriceheroes.co.za

 

MOUNTAIN BIKING

In keeping with the mountain bike fever sweeping the midlands, the Subaru Pietermaritzburg MTB Classic takes place on Wednesday to take advantage of the public holiday and starts (and finishes) from Cedara College, Hilton. Racing starts at 8 am and riders can choose between four events: 45 km classic, 2 5km intermediate (more single track), 20 km intermediate (more open road) and 10 km family fun ride. For further info, log on to www.roag.co.za

 

CYCLING

The Tour Durban takes place next weekend and offers a full weekend of action, starting with the new Criterium at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping on Friday. Saturday sees the mountain bike event on a new and improved track and Sunday is the official Tour Durban, offering cyclists a choice of three events; 125 km (for the Pro Elite riders), 105 km and 45 km.

aQuelle is the title sponsor of the event, and with the City Of Durban confirming full road closure and highlighting the event as a priority on its annual sporting calendar, the 2011 aQuelle Tour Durban is set to be bigger and better than ever before. For entries and further information log onto www.tourdurban.co.za

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