Junior champs show how to race in rain and mud

2012-09-22 00:00

MOUNTAIN BIKING

LAST weekend’s persistent spring rainfall may have deterred more than half the entrants from starting both the Jeep Hill2Hill half-marathon and marathon events, but for those brave enough to face the mud and cold, it was an accomplishment just to cross the finish line.

Saturday’s half-marathon event took the brunt of the rainfall and a sad but expected loss of entrants on the start line.

All African Junior MTB Champion, Patrick Belton, wanted to get it over with as fast as possible and set a cracking pace from the start to claim a deserved win. Youth riders Carlo Marzoppi and Alan Hatherly claimed second and third.

SA Youth Women’s MTB Champion Bianca Haw took her second win in less than a week with a gutsy performance with sub-veteran Isabel Moolman placed second ahead of Robyn Ryan.

Top honours in the Hill2Hill Ultra Marathon went to the newly crowned SA Marathon Champion, Max Knox, while Kevin Evans claimed second place with Pietermaritzburg’s Brandon Stewart close behind in third place.

A fast-paced drop into Pietermaritzburg saw the elite batch go through the first 16-km spectator point in under 35 minutes.

The group continued to grow in numbers as the pace settled after the frantic start but as the King of the Mountain line was crossed, 10 riders broke away.

At Bartlett’s Estate Knox, Stuart and Evans left six riders and raced for the top three positions.

Knox made his move on a steep incline portage, shouldering his bike he ran up a steep, slippery slope. This put the SA champ ahead on the last section of single track, 12 km from home, to take a solid win.

In the women’s event, Ischen Stopforth defended her title and won the Queen of the Mountain hotspot prize. Bizhub team-mate Nicci Grobler rode most of the race with Stopforth. They were never seriously challenged by Nedene Cahill and SA Champion Cherise Taylor, with Brenda Potts filling the top five.

Andrew Hill maintained his lead in the ROAG Series with an impressive eighth place and first sub-veteran home. This sets Hill up with a lead of 105 points going into the final race of the Series at Mountain Splendour on the November 17.

ENDURANCE MTB

Mountain biking endurance athletes racing outside of the elite category will battle it out for national titles at the MTN Hilton Dirt Fest which doubles as the 2012 SA Mountain Bike Masters Marathon Championships. The race starts at Hilton College tomorrow morning and is the fifth annual hosting of the MTN National MTB Series.

Sub-veteran Men and Women (30-39 years), Veteran Men and Women (40-49 years) and Master Men (50-59 years) rides the challenge in the 75 km marathon race that starts and finishes on the grounds of Hilton College.

Contact Advendurance chief operations officer Wessel van der Walt at 083 327 2499 for more info.

An alternative to the Hilton Dirt Fest is the Riverlea Drak MTB Experience, which takes place from the Clearbrook Cottage, Underberg tomorrow morning.

Further info on www.roag.co.za.

MULTISPORT

There are only a few days left for competitors to secure their place on the starting line of the CompliMed Midlands Ultra Triathlon.

Entries close tomorrow at midnight. This event is the highlight of the KZN Triathlon and Multisport calendar with SA’s top athletes pouring in from around SA to claim their share of the increased R40 000 prize purse.

This is the second event in the Midlands ULTRA Tri-series and takes place on the October 7 at Midmar Dam, deep in the KZN Midlands.

CYCLING

Road cyclists are starting to gear up for the summer cycling season and can look forward to the new Time Freight Wartburg Road Race (formerly the Midmar Notts race) on Sunday, September 30.

This new format will start and finish in Wartburg at the Wartburger Hof/ Orion Hotel and makes use of part of the course used at the recent UCI Masters World Championships.

Enter on www.roag.co.za — embroidered hand towels to the first 500 pre-entries.

TRACK CYCLING

The KZN track cycling fraternity hosts the inter-provincial and Grand Prix at the Cyril Geogehan Track in Durban on Friday to Saturday on October 12-13.

SA’s top track cyclists can be seen in action for honours in the various track cycling events, beginning with the 1 500 m, Devil, Scratch, Keirin, Team Pursuit, Points 7,5 km and Points 10 km, Scratch five kilometre, Team Sprint and Madison 15 km on Friday evening.

High end action and excitement continues on Saturday across all the age categories, with men and women racing in the Junior to 60+ categories in the 1 500 m Race, 15 km Scratch race, Sprint and Devil, and the 1 500 m race, Individual Pursuit, Sprint and five kilometre Scratch Race respectively.

Schools will also have their time to shine on Saturday when the U10 to U16 categories take to the track in the 500 m Bunch race, 1 500 m Bunch race and the five kilometre Scratch race, with the Para-cyclists taking part in the 500 m Time Trial and the 2 000 m Pursuit.

Entries close on Friday, October 5 and no late entries will be accepted. Registration for the Interprov takes place on Friday evening October 12 at 5 pm, with racing starting at 6 pm. Registration for the Grand Prix is on Saturday, October 13 at 9 am, with racing from 10 am. For any further information, contact Bianca Kritzinger at 083 660 9172.

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