Exciting MTB Racing Heats Up Chilly PE Nationals

Not even the chilly start to the morning could deter the cross-country athletes at the Hayterdale Trails near Addo for the third round of the CSA-MTB National Cup Series at the weekend in Port Elizabeth.

The organiser, Mountain Events put heart and soul into this event, creating specially made magnificent trails with drop-offs, wooden bridges, rock gardens, and then of course the great climbs with flowing singletrack sections as reward.

This year, the weather was gracious enough for the organiser’s efforts to be enjoyed by both the XCO and DHI riders alike.

“We keep receiving excellent feedback from the riders, which is really great, and the event ran like clockwork,” said Mountain Events’ Brad Jackson.

Taking the Pro-elite men’s XCO race was KwaZulu-Natal’s under-23 rider Luke Roberts (RE:CM), who completed his 6 laps of the 5.5km course in a time of 01:38:38. Eastern Cape rider Jason Meaton (Coaches Corner), also in the U23 category, finished over 2 minutes later in 01:41:00, whilst Elite Renay Groustra (RSAWeb) from the Western Cape finished third overall in 01:41:13.

Groustra was the first Elite home, and also recorded the fastest lap of the day in 15 minutes 58 seconds; just one second quicker that Roberts, with Roberts clocking 15:59 in both his first and second lap.

Winning the junior men’s race was KwaZulu-Natal’s Patrick Belton (Team Jeep), who dominated the race from the start and finished five laps in a commanding time of 01:24:56.

The newly crowned junior African Continental Champion was pleasantly surprised by the XCO track, and clearly enjoyed it. “The race kicked off at a hard pace as always and I managed to get away on the first steep technical climb,” said Belton. “From there I settled into a good pace and managed to extend my lead.”

Belton finished just under 3 minutes ahead of second place Paul Rodenbach with Dylan Hattingh rounding out the podium.

The only Pro-elite woman to race at the third leg of the Nationals was Team Jeep’s Angela Egeland (KZN). The U23 rider clocked 01:35:08 for her 4 laps.

The junior women’s race was close, with Bizhub FCF’s Linda van Wyk walking away with top honours. The Eastern Cape local crashed hard during a practice lap on Thursday, but rose to the occasion and delivered a fine performance when it mattered on race day.

After a conservative steady start, Van Wyk found herself in the lead on the second lap, maintaining the lead until the end of the race to claim the junior women’s win, completing 3 laps in 01.06.24. The battle continued just over 2-minutes later when the race for second place saw Nicole Erasmus (Western Cape) finish just 9 seconds ahead of KZNs Savannah Vosloo (BMC SA), in 01:08:36.

“The track at Addo was definitely one of the best tracks I have ridden in the country. I am very happy with my effort at this race, but I know I can do even better,” said Van Wyk.

Click here for XCO Results

Click here for XCO Log (after 3 events)

Feedback from the downhill riders was that the venue at Hayterdale was one of the best downhill courses in the country. Although not a big field, with many of our downhill riders campaigning overseas at the moment, up-and-coming Alasdair Fey (Maverick) from KZN took top honours in his first year as an Elite rider.

Fey recorded a time of 02 minutes 50.60 seconds, nudging Western Cape’s Jonty Neethling into second place (02.51.16) with junior rider Adi van der Merwe finishing third (02.52.18).

The Eastern Cape’s Wesley Augustyn (Augustyn Brothers) was third in the elite men’s category (4th overall), whilst KZNs Kyle Davids and Samuel Bull (both Team Jeep) were the second and third juniors home respectively, finishing 5th and 6th on the overall scoreboard.

Click here for DHI Results:

Click here for DHI Log (after 3 events)

Many of the XCO and DHI categories are still there for the taking, leaving the series championship wide open. The fourth and final round takes place in Pietermartizburg on 22nd and 23rd June 2012, and is bound to be a humdinger.