The last time I raced a 24 hr race was about 9 years ago in George. Although my team won that race, how could I forget the pain of waking up in the middle of the night to relieve your equally broken teammate. So, 9 years down the line and 9 years less of a racing snake saw me suffering through the laps but enjoying every minute of it. A big thanks to the Dirtopia team for hosting a great event.
Team Crank.co.za and Team RSAWeb arrived at Wiesenhof on Saturday, eager to get on their bikes but weary of the sweltering heat. We quickly setup camp, registered and got ready for the 12am start. I was selected to ride the first lap. It was a lemans style start which was pretty chaotic but I managed to get us a good start coming in 4th about 15 sec behind the first team. The heat definitely took its toll on the riders through the afternoon. However, we continued churning out very respectable lap times and had a rider on the course for the full 24hrs which is quite a feat. The night brought about a very different experience. It was nice and cool, quite and there was very little traffic on the course…except for the heard of stampeding buffalo and zebra that Katherine came across. Sunday was much cooler than saturday which helped the riders make their way towards 12pm. Team Crank.co.za was a social 8 person team and completed 24 laps while Team RSAWeb took things a bit more seriously completing 45 laps and missing out on the mixed category win by a mere 3minutes!
Congrats to all the winners of the different classes, especially Maroon Machine for taking the overall victory with 52 laps and Chris van Zyl for taking the solo title with 36 laps, respect. Hanlie Booyens came home 3d overall in the solo class with a very impressive 33 laps.
On Sunday there was also the 3 hour race that was raced on the same course. Nico Pfitzenmaier blitzed through 8 laps in the 3 hours taking the win from Louis-Bresler Knipe while Bernelee Swart won the ladies, completing 6 laps.
The lap was roughly 7.5 km long with 75% singletrack. It was super fun. You started off with some nice flat, fast singletrack that quickly turned upwards and ended off with a switchback climb that got harder and harder as the laps went on. After that there was some fast jeep track that lead into awesome flowing singletrack that took you into the forest. The rest of the lap was pretty undulating all the way back to transition with a slight sting in the tail up to the dam wall.
24 hours of Wiesenhof is an event not to be missed, look out for it early next year and start getting your teams together. We will be there again. Here are some photos from the weekend:
For full results go to www.dirtopia.co.za