Stewart and MacDonald win MTB race ‘by a whisker’

2012-11-03 00:00


REIGNING champion Brandon Stewart and new partner Neil MacDonald won the FedGroup Berg & Bush mountain bike race from the Harrismith area in the Free State, to Winterton in KwaZulu-Natal by a whisker last weekend. The RE:CM-FedGroup-Itec Connect duo beat nearest rivals Waylon Woolcock and Andrew Hill of TIB-RE:CM by a mere 17 seconds overall on a testing and muddy route that had to be hastily modified due to extreme weather conditions. The final stage of 56 km from Emseni Cape near Spioenkop to Winterton came down to a sprint finish between the two top teams with Woolcock and Hill crossing the line first in 2:11:4 to take their second stage win in a row. Stewart and MacDonald, who took the leaders’ red jerseys after winning the opening stage by 20 seconds, crossed the line two seconds behind to secure overall victory in 7:42:08. Former Sharks centre Jeremy Thompson and team-mate David Leiman, riding under the Thule banner, finished third in 2:20:43 to secure the final podium position in 8:08:47.

Stewart, who hails from Hilton, said it was fantastic to win his sponsor’s race, especially since it was Randburg-based MacDonald’s first outing at the event.

Mixed category winners Justin Porteous and Mariske Strauss (Cranked4Christ-JoJo) finished strong ly in 2:23:50 to secure seventh place overall in 8:27:40.

Pietermaritzburg couple Martin Dreyer and his wife Jeannie (USN-Hi-Tec) followed them home in 2:26:25 for second on the day and third in the category in 8:45:41. Local pair Brad Stroberg and Bridgette Stewart (FedGroup-Itec Connect) were third on the stage in 2:29:39, but finished a minute clear of the Dreyers overall to secure the runner-up spot.

In the women’s race, defending champions Sarah van Heerden and Brenda Potts (Jeep-Enviroshore) added a third uncontested victory to their names when they took stage honours in 2:40:30 for a combined time of 9:14:44. Jackie Moore and Janine King (Salomon-Krawlys) came home in 2:47:26 to finish second among the women’s teams in 9:40:24, with privateers Joyce Benade and Desiree Briedenhann finishing in 3:02:35 for a combined time of 10:57:31 and third in the category.

The Challenge MTB (as part of the Triple Challenge route) takes place tomorrow morning. 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. Late entries will be taken at registration at the Camperdown Hotel tomorrow morning between 7.30 am and 9 am. The race starts at 9 am. Entries and further information on

A full weekend of mountain biking takes place at the Mountain Splendour Mania between November 16-18. Further event details on


KZN’s premier ultra distance multisport race, the Triple Challenge, takes place tomorrow between the start in Pietermaritzburg to the finish at Inanda Dam. The event comprises four races in one; the multisport race over a 20 km trail run, a 53 km mountain bike and 20 km paddle, the Multi-X race which finishes with a seven kilometre trail run (in place of the paddle leg) and the stand alone Challenge Trail Runs over 10 km and 20 km and the Challenge MTB race over 53 km.

Setting the pace at the front of the multisport race will be the Change A Life squad headed up by defending champion Nhlanhla Cele, who will be supported by team-mates Erik Zondi and Kwanda Mhlophe. Trevor Hellens is one of the most prolific podium finishers at the Triple Challenge and will be back on the start line this year. Among the women, defending champ Jean Hackland and runner-up Jane Swarbeck will sadly not be contesting their titles. Their dramatic sprint finish last year will long be remembered. However, top surfski paddler Michelle Burn (née Eder) has made the Triple Challenge her end-of-season goal and will face a tough challenge from Marion Young.

The men’s Multi-X field contains some of SA’s top names in multisport and is sure to produce an exciting race. Defending champ John Ntuli (Change A Life) will have his work cut out for him as he faces a strong men’s line-up which includes Daniel Carleton (Team Jeep) who placed fifth in his age-group at the World Xterra Championships last weekend. Other top names to watch out for include Justin Porteous (2010 winner), Derrin Smith, Gareth Harrington and Olympian Terence Parkin. The women’s race will undoubtedly be dominated by the multi- talented Jeannie Bomford who will be up against strong mountain bikers, Sarah van Heerden and Melanie Palframan.

The winners are expected at the finish at Inanda Dam from 9.30 am. Entrants should note that pre-race registration for Triple Challenge participants only takes place today at Athlete House, 31 Christie Road, Pelham, Pietermaritzburg between 9 am and 11 am or at 4ever Cycles, 12 Old Main Road, Hillcrest between 12.30 pm and 2 pm. Participants in the Challenge Trail Runs and Challenge MTB races will need to register tomorrow morning prior to their respective starts. For further information and race details log on to


Next up on the local calendar is the Engen Dynamic Cycle Challenge which takes place from Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban next Sunday. Three race distances include 20 km, 50 km and 100 km. Entries and further information on This is an ideal test for local cyclists.

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