All eyes on MTB event

2011-04-16 00:00

THE first event in the CSA MTB National MTB Super Series takes place at Cascades, Pietermaritzburg, this weekend. Both the cross-country (XCO) and downhill (DH) courses are in pristine condition and riders will have the opportunity of using the national as a “practice run” ahead of the UCI World Cup taking place on the same course next weekend.

Both courses have been re-worked since the 2009 UCI MTB World Cup, with significant changes creating new sections and innovative improvements to meet Cycling South Africa (CSA) and International Cycling Union (UCI) standards.

The technical 6,1 km XCO track sees the introduction of a number of man-made rock gardens and a large amount of new singletrack that has been cut. With 316 metres of climbing in the first half of the lap, the remainder of the course is predominantly downhill, interspersed with the technical sections aptly named Oliver’s Twist, Ampitheatre, Tree House and The Quarry.

The Ampitheatre is believed to be a major highlight as it combines wide bench-cut single track, tight bermed corners, rock sections, bridges and log drop-offs. Tree House, on the other hand, has received 12 truckloads of rock guaranteed to test the most experienced riders.

At three kilometres long, the DH course has an elevation drop of about 416 m and begins about 150 m further up the hill than the 2009 start. A number of steep and rocky sections have been incorporated to this new-look track, and sections with names like Eyeboggler, Pebble Beach, Driftage and Bombhole muster ideas of a gripping descent. The DH course joins the 4X course for a short sprint followed by some long jumps and a fade-away step-down to the finish!

There is no charge for spectators this weekend. The XCO racing begins at 7 am today with the Elite/U23 and Juniors starting at 10 am. DH racing starts at 10 am tomorrow.

For more information, log on to


Karkloof Classic

The Mr Price Karkloof Classic took place in perfect April weather a month earlier than the event’s traditional Mother’s Day date.

The start of the 60 km race was fast and furious and after five kilometres a lead group with David George, Brandon Stewart and Rourke Croeser formed. An unlucky marshal sent the five trailblazers up the previous day’s 20 km route and the leading men raced hard before being forced to turn back and continue the race.

This caused them to lose nearly 10 minutes on Melt Swanepoel who now led the race. Luckily for Knox he had got word from the race organisers that the wrong turn would be sorted at the end. This did not mean it wasn’t a race. From that point on it was pretty much just an all-out chase, with Knox having to pass about 100 riders.

In a managers’ and riders’ post-race meeting, Swanepoel agreed that he was not the strongest rider on the day and that his time should get an added nine minutes to give a fair assumption of the race situation. All parties involved agreed and Knox was awarded the race title. George placed second five minutes back and Swanepoel was given third place.

The women’s marathon saw Yolandi du Toit take the honours in a time of three hours, thirty-eight minutes and 43 seconds. Heletje van Staden claimed second (3:51:49) and Caitlin de Wet third (3:53:15).

The aQuelle 40 km Half-marathon was hotly contested and attracted the biggest field of over 700 riders.

First home was veteran rider Jaco Kellerman (1:55:23) followed by Brad Napier and youth rider Carlo Marzoppi. Julia Colvin won the women’s race (2:10:56) with young Savannah Schuit riding well to claim second place ahead of Su Don-Wauchope.

Full race results available at


Umkomaas Valley ready for sani2c competitors

The breathtaking descent into the Umkomaas River Valley is set to make a welcome return to the three-day Subaru sani2c mountain bike race that takes place from May 19-21. March’s prevailing wet conditions — when the world’s largest full-service stage race traditionally took place — prevented this treacherous second-stage stretch from being included for the past two years.

However, organiser Glen Haw said the decision to move this year’s edition to the region’s “dry season” should once again see it fit for riding. “The Umkomaas is without a doubt the heart and soul of the race. Being able to cross the river safely opens up a whole lot of options for us.”

He said apart from a short climb, riders literally pointed their bikes downhill after the start line at Mackenzie Club in the Ixopo region. According to Haw, much of their efforts had gone into this section, which is considered by many to be among the best in the world.

He described the second stage, which finishes at Jolivet, as “mind-blowing but tough”.

The 271 km race through southern KwaZulu-Natal starts in Underberg and ends on Scottburgh’s main beach. To find out more about the race, visit the website or join the Facebook group.



The Husqvarna MTB Classic takes place from the Mid-Illovo Club tomorrow morning, starting at 8.30 am with the 40 km Classic, then the 18 km Gwahumbe Family Ride at 9 am and the 10 km Milky Lane Kiddies ride at 9.30 am. For the ­multisporters, there are the eight- kilometre or 18 km Nsingizi trail runs starting at 6 am. Registration and late entries will be taken from 6 am. For more information, log on to



The final leg of the 2011 aQuelle Mudman series takes place tomorrow morning when DPHS hosts their event at Thornlea Dam near Eston. Competitors start with a four kilometre canoe paddle or a 750 m swim, followed by a 20 km mountain bike and then a five kilometre cross- country run.

The full-distance swim triathlon is the blue riband event, and the canoe triathlon will attract a lot of interest at Thornlea this weekend.

The entries of Martin Dreyer and his Change a Life development athletes in that section raise its profile significantly for the aQuelle DPHS leg of the series.

There are also half-distance events and competitors can take part either as individuals or as teams, while for the little kids a short “Mudskippers” event allows for younger kids to be part of the action. All proceeds go to fundraising for the schools involved. Racing starts at 8.30 am with registration from 7 am. Entries can be downloaded at More details at



The fourth event in the KZN Lassen Series takes place on the Van der Merwe’s/Camperdown 10 km circuit tomorrow morning. Women, tandems, Vets 50+ and U10-U16 categories will start at 6.30 am followed by Elite, U23 and Vets 30-49 at 8.30 am.

It’s official — the Tour Durban is back with a bang! With three cycling events staged over three days, local riders and cyclists from across the country will be spoilt for choice over the weekend of April 29-May 1.

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 more information, log on to

The Mr Price Karkloof Classic took place in perfect April weather … All the usual big names were there trying to flex their muscles.

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