Engen race delivers drama

2011-10-08 00:00

THE Engen Dynamic Cycle Challenge, which took place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban last weekend, went down to a sprint finish in which Arron Brown (MTN Qhubeka) once again beat his arch-rival, Nolan Hoffman (Tasol GT Team). Light rain and a windy route delivered drama as cyclists experienced slippery roads. Coming down from Westville North, 20 km into the race, the peloton reached speeds of up to 70 km/h going towards New Germany. Various attacks went off the front, but were immediately pulled back, the most dangerous coming at 48 km when seven riders opened a gap of around 10 seconds.

The leaders, including Jason Bakke, Jani Tewelde, Johan Rabie, Arron Brown and Hanco Kachelhoffer, were threatening to get away until the peloton pulled them back at the halfway stage of the race. Martin Weseman (MTN Qhubeka) Richard Baxter (Tasol GT), Hanco Kachelhofer (Bonitas) and Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (MTN Qhubeka) made a decisive break as the peloton at the 60 km mark as the riders left the Bluff area. The quartet quickly opened a gap of 45 seconds (at 64 km along Prospection). MTN Qhubeka were content to let the four riders go as they had two in the lead group who were working hard to widen the gap. At 75km they had moved to a lead of 50 seconds. Bonitas and Tasol GT decided to close down the gap. By 85 km the peloton had taken 11 seconds out of the lead of the quartet.Two kilometres later the gap was down to 29 seconds. With less than 10 km left the peloton were 18 seconds down and eventually swallowed the leaders with 6 km left.

The women’s race was all but over when Liese Olivier of MTN Qhubeka crested the climb after 20 km and proceeded to open a gap over Cherise Taylor. Olivier crossed the finish line almost four-and-a-half minutes ahead of the rest of field. Second was Jeaun-Marie Breytenbach, with An-Li Pretorius rounding out the podium.

Last weekend’s poor weather did not stop over 350 riders from riding the scenic midlands routes in the Michaelhouse MTB Classic. Brandon Stewart won the 50 km course in 2:04:24, five minutes clear of second-placed Andrew Hill (2:09:46) with Travis Walker placing third (2:15:30). Natashcka Mowat put in a good effort to claim the honours in the women’s race (2:57:04) against hardy competitor Julia Colvin in second (3:02:53) and Angela Egeland in third (3:14:56).

The 20 km race was won by Christopher Mlotshwa, while Andrea de Boer was first woman home. Among the sub-juniors Julian Jessop was in first place with Catherine Pellow-Jarman winning the sub-junior girls’ race.

The St Johns Stihl Bundu Bash takes place today at Baynesfield Estate. For details log onto www.roag.co.za

Albert Falls Dam hosts two types of races, the main event being the final event in the Time Freight Multisport Festival tomorrow. Racing starts from 9 am. Registration is open between 7 am to 9 am and late entries will be accepted on race day. Multisporters can choose between the ultra distance, long course or short course events.

The Time Freight Express MTB Race New is new on the calendar. Dubbed “The Fast One”, this second event at Albert Falls offers 35 km, 20 km or 10 km races — it’s really about whizzing through the bushveld on some really fun and fast game tracks and paths with some great prizes up for grabs.

The rugby will be shown on a big screen and races start at 9 am. More info for both events at maxcluer.com

The 25th Amashova Durban Cycle Classic — the “Comrades” of the cycling world — kicks off from the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 6 am next Sunday, October 16. The 38 km East Coast Radio Amashova family fun ride starts from Hillcrest High School at 5.30 am.

Traffic officers will close various roads along the 106 km route from 4.30 am for limited periods. Marshals will be on hand to direct motorists to alternative routes. There are still opportunities for last-minute entries. Those wanting to enter could sign up during registration at an additional cost. For further information, log on to www.shova.co.za or call the Shova organisers during office hours at 031 312 8896.

Cyclists should note that the final event of the KZN Lassen Series, due to take place from Camperdown tomorrow, has been cancelled.

Photo: supplied

Liese Olivier on her way to winning the women’s race at the Engen Dynamic Cycle Challenge, which took place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban last weekend.

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