Max Knox is Victorious at the Nissan Series Opener

Nissan and Advendurance pulled out all the stops to put together an action packed and exhilarating event for mountain bike riders this past weekend. The venue that was based in Gauteng at the Tygervalley School was set to kick off the 2011 NISSAN TrailSeeker Series.

The Hazeldean race has always been a favourite due to its central location and fantastic single tracks, and this did not change as it attracted over 2000 riders and the riders found themselves enjoying even more mind-blowing, hand-built trails, exhilarating river crossings and fast farm roads.

Earlier in the Week speculations on who would win the season opener had many say that Max Knox of Team Ghost-DIN would not be able to use brute force to win this race, instead he would also have to outthink his competitors. This past weekend again Knox shoved his class by not only outwitting three fully represented squads namely MTN with no less than 4 riders, Team RE:CM and lastly Team Garmin adidas with two hometown riders and one Namibian. He showed that his power is unmatched and that that not only is he able to outride them but also out think them and this shows that big things are to come for the remainder of the year as he takes an early lead in the series.

Max gives us a inside look into the race…

“Well after much preparation I finally found myself on the start line of a Nissan series opener race. I had heard a lot in the build up of what to expect on the day and knew a very fast and challenging day of racing was in store for all the pro riders.” Knox commented.

Photo Ballistic Bike Trading

“Having done many Advendurance events in the past I knew what to expect on that front, but was super impressed on the day with not only the fantastic effort and organisation of the race but with the amazing turn out on the day which did the organisers good justice and fair reward for all their hard effort.”

“The Ghost crew was out in full force in support of me as this is considered our home series and I was super motivated to do them proud and represent! I knew looking at the surrounding areas and the packed start grid with good pro’s the race would be a tactical affair at the beginning with all the flat sections.”

“I was very surprised with how well the course was put together and I would say fairly testing for even the brave as the weather did not play along on the day.”

“The racing was made hard at the start by Adrien (MTN) who set a cracking pace making team RE:CM and myself chase hard while his team mates got a chance to save energy for later in the race. At about the half way mark a 6 man lead group had formed with all the main teams represented who would eventually fill the podium spots later in the day…..”

Photos by Zoon Cronje

“There were a few attempts from the guys with 2 riders on a team to split the bunch up but we all stuck together, at about the 50km mark I decided to put in a big effort to see if I could get a gap so that I could ride a steady rhythm over what I had heard was a tough last 20 km, I managed to squeeze out about 20 seconds initially and put my head down from there.”

“The bike handled really well through the last rough sections and I popped out at the finish area to win the first round of the series.”

“A really great feeling to win over such a strong field and in front of all the people who believed in me and came to support!”

“The 2nd and 3rd spot came down to a thrilling sprint finish about 1minute and 33 seconds behind me, this was between Waylon (RE:CM) and Adrien (MTN). “

Photos by Zoon Cronje

“A great race and I’m really excited to head into round 2 as the leader. Till then some good winter miles lay ahead of me with the Ghost Mankele avalanche coming up in 2 weeks which will shore to be another awesome weekend of mountain bike racing!”

1.      02:31:40 Knox Max (GHOST-DOITNOW)

2.      02:33:13 Woolcock Waylon (RE:CM)

3.      02:33:15 Niyonshuti Adrien (MTN)

4.      02:33:33 Macdonald Neil (RE:CM)

5.      02:34:34 Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (MTN)

6.      02:36:17 Holtzhausen Renier

7.      02:36:46 Keey Charles (MTN)

8.      02:37:21 Buys Philip (Garmin adidas)

9.      02:39:07 Kruger Hendrik (ASG)

10.  02:40:49 Johansen Ryan