Sibling rivalry at world famous Cascades track

2017-04-26 06:00
Local Pietermaritzburg racing brothers Jonathan (left) and Christopher Philogene will continue their series tussle for the top place on the Downhill points log this season.PHOTO: InkBlack Visual Art

Local Pietermaritzburg racing brothers Jonathan (left) and Christopher Philogene will continue their series tussle for the top place on the Downhill points log this season.PHOTO: InkBlack Visual Art

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THE world famous venue of Cascades MTB Park will play host to the third and final round of the 2017 KZN MTB Enduro and Downhill Series on Sunday, April 30 and Monday May 1 where Pietermaritzburg racing brothers, Jonathan and Christopher Philogene, will continue their series tussle for the top place on the Downhill points log this season.

Older brother Jonathan currently leads the provincial series log by just 30 points over Christopher, and with this last race remaining to determine the ultimate winner, it’s going to be tough out there.

Jonathan (20) explains that even though Downhill racing is an individual sport that determines one winner, they function as a team with a strong support structure locally from their family, friends and sponsors Lapierre SA, Fox and Good 2 Go.

“Being so tight, you always have to find ways to better your brother on race day because our preparations are all the same,” said Jonathan.

“As long as one of us wins, we’re happy. We share race lines and experiences, so it really is the better man that wins on the day. Like his older brother, Christopher (18) describes the influence Greg Minnaar has had on their lives and their desire to have careers in downhill racing.

“Greg is a great rider on and off the bike, and knowing that it’s possible to accomplish international success like he has, is great encouragement for us. He has shared some positive words with us and having that backing from a home-town boy like Greg is uplifting,” said Christopher.

Both riders agreed on the intensity of the Cascades racing track. “Cascades has been around for a while, and is known to be a pedally track. Fitness will play a big role. The track is in our back yard and we ride there often and practice a lot, so I’m feeling confident,” said Christopher.

“I’m super excited to be racing at the World Cup venue. It’s a lot faster and rougher than what we are used to on some of the other tracks, and much more intense. I haven’t ridden there for a while, but there are nice technical sections and some really big jumps. Fitness will come into play,” added Jonathan.

Cascades has been the home of local mountain bikers for many years, with it’s myriad of trails throughout the hillside that lure cyclists from all walks of life. Most famously, the venue has played host to the 2013 UCI MTB World Championships, where local hero Minnaar scooped his third world title in front of his fans.

For the provincial series, event organiser Alastair Brand says that there will be some changes to the trails and tracks for the upcoming races. Sunday’s Enduro race will consist of four stages, with stages one and two starting at the top of the park; stage three begins halfway up the hill, and both stages three and four will be different to what the regular contenders are used to. There will be one uplift for the riders on the day.

Monday’s downhill course will be based on the old SA Nationals track, with some slight changes to it. The track will start at the very top of Cascades at “Eye Boggler” and will finish at the very bottom in the bowl, utilising the jump track.

Well known sections like Cloud 9, Pebble Beach, Eye Boggler, Dr Evil and the Tables will all be incorporated into what is said to be a long track.

Online entries are open, and close today April 26. Please note that due to logistics at the venue, the enduro and downhill will be held over two days.

On Sunday April 30, the enduro practice starts at 9am and racing starts at 12pm. On the Monday, downhill practice starts from 7.30am to 9am and racing starts at 10am.

For information and details to enter, please visit ROAG tinfo.aspx? EventID=1933. - Supplied.

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