Davids and Dreyer ride high at Karkloof Classic

2013-04-22 00:00

HOWICK — Yesterday’s Sappi 60 km Karkloof Classic, the feature race of the Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB Festival, saw Brendon Davids take the honours followed by fellow elite stars Rourke Croeser and Travis Walker, while Jeannie Dreyer claimed the women’s race.

After two days of non-stop rain, Mother Nature smiled upon the region yesterday morning and more than 2 500 entrants taking on the muddy trails under blue skies.

Despite the tricky conditions, Davids achieved his maiden victory with class.

“I haven’t been around for the last couple of Karkloof Classics, having spent two years in the U.S., so it’s special to return and get the win,” he said.

“I’m stoked with how things went for me and it’s a great result ahead of the first two World Cups coming up.”

After a frenetic early pace, Davids, Croeser and Walker streaked away from the rest of the field at the bottom of the notorious Lebanon climb. By the summit it was all Davids.

“I wanted to try get away early and ensure I could go solo through the single track. When I broke, Trav [Walker] and Rourke [Croeser] came with me, so I pushed hard up Lebanon.

“When we got to the top I was on my own and by the time we got to the bottom of Bat out of Hell, I had a two-minute lead,” said Davids.

“I pushed up Khyber, but with about five kilometres to go, I had a bit of a crash and hurt my leg, which slowed me a bit. Fortunately I had a buffer and was able to get up and get going. I decided to consolidate and not risk things to ensure the win.”

Davids and the rest of the 60 km competitors were able to enjoy a wet yet manageable adventure throughout.

“It was obviously muddy, more on the climbs than on the single track, but it wasn’t too bad. It’s a great course with some special features.

“The new Bat out of Hell descent from Lebanon is possibly my favourite trail I’ve ever ridden,” he said.

Having pushed to stay with Davids in his initial break, Croeser and Walker simply had nothing left to give in the final stages of the clash, leaving them to battle for second, a tussle eventually settled by a sprint that saw Croeser pip Walker by the narrowest of margins.

“It was a weird feeling. As Brendon went, I had nothing to give. Take nothing away from Brendon, he rode a great race,” said Croeser.

“It was tight at the end, but fortunately I’m a bit more experienced than Trav so possibly knew how to handle those situations a little better and managed to pip him on the line.”

The competitive women’s field also produced a race to remember as Jeannie Dreyer (USN/Hi-Tec), wife of Dusi Canoe Marathon legend and mountain bike competitor Martin Dreyer, claimed a comfortable victory over Ashleigh Moffatt. Yolandi du Toit was third.

Despite sitting a couple of places back in the early stages of the 60 km event, Dreyer made her move after the 10 km mark, signalling the start of the climbs, and never looked back.

“I’ve been off the bike for a couple of years with the birth of children, but I’ve been back riding competitively since the Triple Challenge in November last year and it’s been a really good six months since then,” said Dreyer.

Moffatt, having returned earlier in the week from a hugely successful European tour, has been in good form in recent weeks. But she crossed the line over nine minutes behind the winner.

“I’m still happy with my performance and it’s great to be back on home ground again. The pace was good up front and the mud made things more technical, but all round it was a great race,” she said.

In the aQuellé 40 km half-marathon, it was Westville Boys’ High School matric pupil Wade Finch who claimed a comfortable six-minute victory over Dani Jensen and James Damant.

The aQuellé 20 km family race and aQuellé 10 km kids’ ride saw hundreds of cycling enthusiasts from all walks of life take to the trails.

More details can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.

RESULTS:

60 km Karkloof Classic

Overall: - Brendon Davids 2:58.21, Rourke Croeser 3:03.09, Travis Walker 3:03.09, Ben Melt Swanepoel 3:04.47, Gert Heyns 3:07.45.

Women - Jeannie Dreyer 3:49.48, Ashleigh Moffatt 3:59.02, Yolandi Du Toit 4:02.01, Natalie Bergstrom 4:02.50, Brenda Potts 4:09.48.

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