Mother Nature finally smiled

2013-04-27 00:00

BRENDON Davids (Team Jeep) took the honours at the prestigious Sappi 60 km Karkloof Marathon last weekend. He was chased home by fellow elite stars Rourke Croeser (Kargo Pro MTB) and Travis Walker (Team Jeep) after an epic battle in the beautiful Karkloof Valley.

Jeannie Dreyer claimed a deserved win in the women’s race.

After two days of non-stop rainfall, which saw the festival’s Peri Night Race on Friday and Saturday’s Stihl Karkloof Enduro staged in exceptionally challenging conditions, Mother Nature finally smiled on the venue on Sunday morning and the 2 500-plus entrants took to the muddy yet manageable trails in warm conditions and under clear blue skies.

Despite the tricky conditions, Davids’s class saw him complete his maiden victory at the event, giving him an important confidence boost ahead of his journey to the year’s first two World Cups in upcoming weeks.

After a frenetic early pace, it was the trio of Davids, Croeser and Walker who managed to streak away from the rest of the field at the bottom of the notorious Lebanon climb; however, it was all Davids by the time they reached the summit.

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 it out for second place.

The highly competitive women’s race was also one to remember as Dreyer (USN/Hi-Tec) claimed a comfortable victory over Ashleigh Moffatt (BMC-SA). Yolandi du Toit (Team Bizhub) claimed third.

Moffatt, who had just returned from a successful European tour, has been in good form in recent weeks. Unfortunately, she was just unable to match Dreyer’s performance on the day, crossing the line over nine minutes behind the leader.

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 (Varsity College) and James Damant (Kargo Pro MTB). Lyn van Breda was a comfortable winner of the women’s race ahead of Nadia Botha and Amanda Hawke.

Sub-junior Aaron Mitchell took the win in the aQuellé 20 km ride, followed by Aaron Wood and Travis Stedman. In the girls’ race, it was Tiffany Keep in first place ahead of Courtney Smith and Sabine Thies.

The weekend kicked off with the Peri Night Race, which was won by Patrick Belton with Klaas Meintjes second and Frederick Rossouw third. Kim Westbrook claimed the women’s win in the cold and wet conditions. The Stihl Karkloof Enduro suffered the brunt of the cold front on Saturday, resulting in many entrants not starting. Hayden Brown clocked the fastest time to win the race ahead of Gert Heynes with Patrick Belton third. Natalie Bergstrom showed her grit taking the win in the women’s race.

As the second event in the Quattro Roag Series, Tyron Bird and Jeannie Dreyer are the current leaders who stand in line to win R20 000 at the end of the series. Business manager for Roag Nicole Talbot said that the competition is really starting to heat up in this year’s edition of the Quattro Roag Series.

The next race in the Quattro Roag Series is the Compendium MTB Derby on May 26 at the Shongweni Polo Club. More info can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.

The Old Mutual joBerg2c is under way, having started in Heidelberg yesterday. The nine-day stage race takes riders from the Highveld in Gauteng, through the Free State before dropping off the escarpment to take in the fantastic trails of Berg and bush. The last three days on the sani2c route finish in Scottburgh and conclude SA’s longest paired stage race.

The third event in the Momentum Health Cross Country (XCO) and Greg Minnaar Downhill KZN MTB Series, scheduled to take place next Saturday, May 4, has been postponed to June 8. This means that the KZN Championships scheduled for that date have been moved to July 6. Inquiries: Vicky at info@kznmtb.co. za or at 082 896 6864.

The first event in the MiWay Big 5 Series, the Zini Buffalo Classic, takes place next Sunday. The 50 km will start with a 25 km loop to the south and head back through the race village. The northern loop will extend through abundant bush lands, with single track through the gum plantations and indigenous forest breaks. The track follows paths in the forest, a raised boardwalk and ends with a climb up to the country club. Entries close on Wednesday on www.roag.co.za

The Greytown MTB Club is hosting the Mascor Greytown MTB Festival just outside Greytown. Mountain bikers have a choice of a 50 km, a 35 km and a 25 km, as well as 10 km fun ride and a three-kilometre kids’ ride on both days. There is also a choice of trail runs — a 10 km on May 11 at 2 pm and a 10 km on May 12 at 9 am. Entries and further details on www.roag.co.za

CYCLING

Local cycling club, Time Freight Burg Wheelers, boasts two medallists from the recent SA Cycling Championships which took place in Oudshoorn. Roger Rennie (65-69 age group) once again proved his dominance in the Time Trial Championships where he won the gold medal clear of second-placed Francesco Sperotto. Rennie won the gold medal at the World Masters Time Trial Championships, which took place in Pietermaritzburg last year. Cycling legend Bobby Nefdt, a former Springbok cyclist and captain of the Rapport Tour in the eighties, earned a silver in the 60-64 veteran men’s age group at the SA Road Cycling Championships.

Tomorrow is the aQuellé Tour of Durban, which starts and finishes at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and offers the 105 km, 45 km and the new 55 km Cyclo-Cross event. The signature event is the 105 km road race, which takes riders from the stadium south towards the Bluff along the M4, turning inland along the M7 into Pinetown, and back down into Durban, before heading north up the M4 highway towards Ballito and back.

Participants will need to register today between 10 am and 5 pm at Shop 5, Moses Mabhida Stadium.

The 105 km starts in batches at 6.30 am tomorrow morning, followed by the Cyclo-Cross at 8 am and the 45 km at 8.15 am. More info at www.tourdurban.co.za.

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