Stewart teams up with old foe for Berg and Bush

2012-10-27 00:00

MOUNTAIN BIKING

DEFENDING champion Brandon Stewart will team up with old foe Neil MacDonald in a surprise last-minute pairing for the three-day FedGroup Berg & Bush mountain bike race that started near Bergville, yesterday. The FedGroup-Itec Connect man, who won with Jacques Rossouw last year, will mount his title defence in the 220 km event alongside the 35-year-old former roadie as he waits to announce his new team-mate for the 2013 season.

MacDonald placed first and second overall in the last two editions of the Old Mutual joBerg2c alongside usual RE:CM team-mate, Waylon Woolcock. The latter will be riding this event with Andrew Hill. Stewart, (31), said he was delighted to have his old nemesis, who will be making his debut in the race, on his team as they were both seasoned pros. “Between us we have many years of hard-earned racing experience. For this there is no substitute. I think our chances are good and we’re definitely aiming for the win,” said Stewart. “I’ve rested, and am motivated to do well.”

In the competitive mixed category, FedGroup-Itec Connect’s Bridgette Minnaar-Stewart and Brad Stroberg will come up against seven-time Dusi canoe marathon champion Martin Dreyer and his wife Jeannie (USN/Hi-Tec) as well as Candice Neethling and Justin Porteous (Cranked 4Christ).

The Dreyer’s are veterans of the Absa Cape Epic, with Jeannie (32), having finished second in the mixed category alongside Geddan Ruddock in 2005. “We’re going to test ourselves and make sure we don’t get off our bikes up Spioenkop.” Although they would be racing hard, Dreyer said it would not be at the expense of enjoying the experience. He completed the FedGroup Berg & Bush Original, a two-day event, as a roving ambassador three years ago. “I cannot wait to get back onto the course. Farmers like Gary Green put on these incredible races because they’re so in touch with the land and they just have that warm hospitality. The whole community gets involved and the vibe is just phenomenal — it’s one of the races you cannot miss.”

Voted the country’s premier race in the past, participants in the competitive descent will depart from the vicinity of Sterkfontein Dam near Harrismith in the Free State and finish at Winterton in the Central Drakensberg tomorrow.

Go to www.bergandbush.co.za for more information.

The Gears for Ears MTB Fundraiser event takes place from Holla Trails, Ballito, tomorrow morning. There is a 50 km challenge and 19km fun ride. Prizes and goody bags (first 400 entries), golf caps to the first 200 entries and medals to all finishers. Kids entertainment, food and beverages available on site. Entries and further information on www.roag.co.za

Mountain bikers looking for a race with a difference should take on the Challenge MTB (as part of the Triple Challenge route) next Sunday, November 4. This 53 km route between the start in Camperdown and the finish at Inanda Dam incorporates some superb single track descents and testing climbs as it winds its way through the Valley of a Thousand Hills on a 98% off-road course. Pre-entries close at midnight on Wednesday, late entries will be taken at registration at the Camperdown Hotel on Sunday morning from 7.30 am to 9 am. The race starts at 9 am. Entries and further information on www.triplechallenge.co.za. A full weekend of mountain biking takes place at the Mountain Splendour Mania between November 16 to 18. Further event details on www.roag.co.za.

MULTISPORT

The Triple Challenge, KZN’s premier ultra-distance multisport event, is just one week away on Sunday November 4. Participants have until midnight on Wednesday to submit their entries and qualify for the goody bag handed out to all pre-entries. This truly African experience takes athletes and teams on a multisport journey through some of South Africa’s most breath taking scenery as they trail run 20 km from Pietermaritzburg to Camperdown through three game reserves, then mountain bike 52 km from Camperdown through the beautiful valley of a Thousand Hills to Inanda Dam, and end their race with either a paddle of 18 km (with two short portages) for the Multisport event, or a seven kilometre trail run for the MultiX event. Athletes may enter as an individual or in a team of two, three or five people with various options. Trail runners and mountain bikers wanting to race these specific legs may enter the Challenge Trail Run (10 km or 20 km option) or the Challenge MTB (53 km) as stand alone events. It’s a great challenge for friends, clubs, schools or corporates but especially for the individual that wants to “race themselves” over this testing and scenic course in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal. Further details on www.triplechallenge.co.za

CYCLING

The Engen Dynamic Cycle Challenge takes place from Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Sunday, November 11. Three race distances include 20 km, 50 km and 100 km. Entries and further info on www.edcc.co.za This is an ideal tester for local cyclists preparing for the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge, taking place on November 18.

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