‘Years may come and years may go’ but the winner of the MTN Ride Crater Cruise ultra-marathon (106km) never seems to change.
In Parys, on Saturday (13 October), Kevin Evans (Nedbank360Life) won the Ride Crater Cruise for an unprecedented fourth time consecutively. His winning time was 3 hours 27 minutes and 21 seconds. James Reid (Nedbank360Life) was second (3:27:45) and Neil MacDonald (RE:CM) third (3:27:48).
This was actually my fifth victory,” said Evans. “Remember the year when the race was neutralized because of a locked farm gate and seven riders were declared the combined winners. I was one of the seven.”
Moments after finishing, Evans admitted that his ‘fifth’ Ride Crater Cruise victory was certainly his hardest. “This time I really had to dig deep to win.”
However, those who watched the race unfold may have different opinions. They were impressed by the way in which Evans made his winning move at exactly the same spot as in preceding years, namely at a bridge about 12 kilometres from the finish.
Evans said: “There was a lot of ‘firepower’ in the breakaway group. I attacked earlier on, but was chased down and then had to do a rethink. When we came to the bridge, I decided to put all my energy into one huge effort and to make it count. Luckily for me it worked.”
Nico Bell (Westvaal Columbia), who finished sixth, said that the moment Evans attacked, the rest of them were put into a classic checkmate situation.
“David George and James Reid (Nedbank360Life) were both in our group and this put us in a difficult situation. “If the rest of us should have decided to chase Kevin down, we would have given the two of them a free ride. If we were to catch up with Kevin one of them, or both, could immediately launch a counter attack.
“That was the reason why nobody really put in a big effort to give chase to Kevin.”
Reid’s second-place finish was the big surprise of the day. Even though this was only the second time that the 19-year-old competed in an ultra-marathon, he rode like a seasoned professional.
Reid and Lourens Luus (Valencia) had won the Three Towers stage race the weekend before.
“That certainly counted in my favour because it served as a good, hard three-day training camp,” said Reid.
According to Reid the racing in the Ride Crater Cruise was not as hard as he had expected.
“During the first two hours the racing was not very serious and the last 90 minutes of racing felt like an intense cross-country race, which suited me fine. I just bided my time. When I was sure that Kevin had a commanding lead I attacked and, to my surprise, I managed to open a gap.”
Despite his success, Reid said that, at least for the foreseeable future, he will not compete in many ultra-marathons. “At least for the next two years cross-country racing will remain my top focus. My main goal will be to win a medal in the u.23 category of the World Championship.
“Another goal for me will be to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.”
MTN Ride Crater Cruise 2012 Leading results
1 Kevin Evans (Nedbank 360Life) 03hr27min21sec
2 James Reid (Nedbank 360Life) 3:27:45
3 Neil MacDonald (Team RE:CM) 3:27:48
4 David George (Nedbank 360Life) 3:27:49
5 Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN Qhubeka) 3:27:50
6 Nico Bell (Westvaal Columbia) 3:27:56
7 Lourens Luus (Valeria) 3:27:58
8 Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN Qhubeka) 3:29:27
9 Philip Buys (USN Spike) 3:30:50
10 Melt Swanepoel (Squirt Lube Merida) 3:31:02
1 Theresa Ralph 3:48:47
2 Yolandi du Toit (bizhub FCF) 3:50:51
3 Candice Neethling (BMC South Africa) 4:00:00
4 Amy McDougall (Ghost Bryton) 4:03:55
5 Karien van Jaarsveld (MTN Qhubeka) 4:08:39