Dramatic end to race

2014-08-04 00:00

THE 2014 60 km Illovo Marathon — the feature race of the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge — ended in a dramatic three-way sprint finish for the second year running. Defending champ Rourke Croeser clinched it again while a brave effort by a sick yet determined Jeannie Dreyer saw her retain her women’s title as well.

In 2013, Croeser narrowly edged out Trek South Africa’s James Reid and Brendon Davids. And while this may not have been quite as tight as last year’s dice, it came down to the final few hundred metres for the Kargo Pro MTB Team rider once more as he again pipped Davids and FedGroup ITEC’s Max Knox to the post.

“It was great to come here and win again,” said Croeser. “As a team, we came here looking for a win for the team and not necessarily the individual so the fact that we were able to do that and then I was able to retain my title at the same time is really awesome.”

Hot, dry and dusty conditions greeted the riders yesterday morning and the writing was on the wall from as early as the first four kilometres as Davids and Croeser went head to head for the King of the Mountains hotspot prize, Croeser eventually clinching the early accolades by a matter of centimetres.

“Eston always brings a really good field. Brendon [Davids] rode well, Max [Knox] rode well and a couple of the youngsters also really rode well so it was a really tough race all the way through,” said Croeser.

“Myself and Brendon took the race up to the King of the Mountains and we got a little gap which ultimately caused the field to split.

“It soon became a group of five of us at the front and then it was a three horse race.

After Davids lead proceedings into the final few hundred metres before making a crucial mistake that saw him finish third last year, the U23 athlete was pleased with his effort this time around.

“One place better than last year and while it is still a little disappointing having not won, it’s still nice to have got a really good result,” said Davids.

Knox rounded out the podium ahead of TIB Insurance’s Andrew Hill before Travis Walker and Stuart Marias finished fifth and sixth respectively to make it three out of the top six for the Kargo outfit.

The women’s race was one of attrition for Dreyer who almost didn’t make it to yesterday’s start line after having been struck down by a nasty stomach bug, however, the USN/Hi-TEC rider dug deep and bravely fought her way to a rare back-to-back Illovo Eston title.

“It really is a very special win for me today,” said a drained Dreyer afterwards.

“I wasn’t sure if any of the girls were on my tail at any stage of the race so I just put my head down and tried to stick with the guys coming past me and keep my momentum going, which really seemed to help me and pulled me to the finish.”


60 km Illovo Marathon

Men: 1. Rourke Croeser 2:24.01

2. Brendon Davids 2:24.03

3. Max Knox 2:24.17

4. Andrew Hill 2:28.39

5. Travis Walker 2:30.03

6. Stuart Marais 2:30.04

7. Derrin Smith 2:36.09

8. Ryan Piercey 2:36.23

9. John Ntuli 2:37.54

10. James Burne 2:38.04

Women: 1. Jeannie Dreyer 2:51.02

2. Natalie Bergstrom 3:01.30

3. Frankie du Toit 3:05.22

4. Desiree Verwey 3:07.36

5. Isabel Moolman 3:10.13

Junior Men: 1.Alan Hatherly 2:46.04

2. Murray Church 2:53.20

3. Kelvin Green 2:54.20

Junior Women

1. Frankie du Toit 3:05.22

40 km aQuellé Half Marathon

Men: 1. Joshua Nelson 1:36.32

2. Phillip Marais 1:43.12

3. Gareth Cook 1:43.21

Women: 1. Julieann Hampson 1:58.02

2. Catherine Pellow-Jarman 2:00.29

3. Tanya Ortlepp 2:02.56

18 km Tala/aQuellé Family Ride

Men: 1. Jett Bradshaw 47.10

2. Torin Mecklenborg 48.48

3. Mark Fourie 50.29

Women: 1. Tiffany Keep 48.42

2. Megan Bircher 53.16

3. Sabine Thies 53.55.

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