Door open for two KZN MTB heroes

2013-09-14 00:00


HIGH winds and a red alert fire danger index forced the organisers of the Clover Lynford Classic to shorten the 45 km Classic to 25 km. This resulted in a super-fast sprint for the race leaders, with Travis Walker clocking 1:01:29 to take the win ahead of Tyron Bird (1:03:13), with youth rider Julian Jessop third (1:04:58).

Nataschka Mowat raced to victory in the women’s field (1:20:20) ahead of Carla van Huysteen (1:22:20) in second and Riana Niehaus third (1:22:30). David Basner and Susan Carter-Brown were the respective men’s and women’s winners of the 25 km race.

• New champions will be crowned in both the men’s and women’s races in the gruelling 100 km Jeep Hill 2 Hill mountain bike marathon between Hilton and Hillcrest tomorrow morning. Both Max Knox and Ischen Stopforth have not entered the 2013 event and that opens the door for two of KZN’s MTB heroes to take the prize money.

Brandon Stewart, with one Hill 2 Hill victory, three second-place finishes and four thirds, has never finished outside the top three and will be keen to pick up his second win, and on pedigree would seem to be the clear favourite.

His biggest challenge is likely to come from the fast-improving Andrew Hill who has proven to be the rider to beat in KZN marathon events this year.

Hill is chasing a significant payday tomorrow: If he claims victory he will be able to add R20 000 to his R15 000 race winner’s cheque for wrapping up the lucrative Roag Series title. Rourke Croeser would probably be outright favourite if the race was over 40 km, but there is a question mark over the young speedster’s ability to race over the ultra distance and he is likely to spend the early event saving energy, so he does not blunt his speed in the final dash for the line.

Others in with a shout include Tyron Bird, Luke Roberts and Derrin Smith.

In the women’s category, a hare-and-tortoise type scenario could play itself out with Jeannie Bomford’s ultra-distance pedigree likely to allow her to dominate the latter stages of the race, while the 2010 champion, Hungarian Eszter Erdelyi, is sure to be strongest over the early part of the race.

Others who will be challenging from the elite women’s batch include the experienced Lyn van Breda, Natalie Bergstrom and Brenda Potts, while young Hayley Smith could cause an upset.

Renowned course designer Nick Floros is making sure the route from Pietermaritzburg to Durban lives up to expectations, while the finish at Shongweni Polo Club is gearing up to satisfy every need of the thousands of spectators who want to watch their riders complete the tough journey between KZN’s two major cities.

The race starts at 6 am at World’s View with the leaders expected at Shongweni Polo Club just before 10 am. Entrants will need to register today at Shongweni Polo Club between 11 am and 4.30 pm.

• An event that caters for the entire family, the Dargle Family MTB Festival, is back on Sunday, September 29. “Following its successful debut in 2012, this year sees great improvements from its inaugural event, including an awesome new route, fun for the entire family, and a great atmosphere in this beautiful midlands setting,” said one of the organisers, Devlin Fogg.

Highlights of the family-fun event include an awesome new single track, exciting river crossings, R12 000 of prizes and tons of kiddies’ activities. The event also boasts mountain biking distances of 40 km, 20 km, five-kilometre and 200 m for the whole family to enjoy.

“The Dargle Local Market will be on site with amazing country foods and crafts, and the event won’t be timed so that you can ride with your family and not worry about your seeding! Make sure you enter now, as the first 200 entrants go into the lucky draw to win a pair of Adidas Eyewear riding glasses valued at over R2 000,” Fogg said.


Road cyclists can look forward to the Time Freight Noodsberg Cycle Challenge on Sunday, September 29. Two race distances are on offer: 90 km and 27 km. The routes make use of the quiet and scenic roads around Noodsberg, Harburg, Wartburg and Dalton, and with the event being two weeks prior to one of KZN’s historical classic cycle races — the Amashova between Pietermaritzburg to Durban — it is a perfect tester for riders preparing for the big one. Entries are on

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