Mountain bike Cup Series action heats up at Thaba Trails

The third round of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series took place amidst great weather conditions at Thaba Trails in Gauteng at the weekend.

With the absence of many of the top performers due to their participation at the UCI World Cup races in Europe, there were some fresh new faces on the podium.

Noticeable in the cross-country elite men’s pack was regular marathon competitor Max Knox (Specialized), who traded the longer endurance miles for the short track racing. The cross-country conditions seemed to favour Knox as he claimed a solid victory in the men’s race, finishing his 6-lap race almost a minute ahead of Team Jeep’s Patrick Belton (under-23), in 1 hour 39 minutes 49 seconds.

Third went to Stuart Marais (elite) in 01:41:24, with fourth and fifth places going to u23 competitors Jason Meaton and Stephan Reyneke in 01:42:44 and 01:45:30 respectively.
Knox said: “It really was a great track, well done to Wendell (Bole). It was perfect for all age categories – the harder you went, the more technical it became. It was a real course to get everyone out there and enjoying cross-country racing. This is not the last time you will see me at a cross-country race, I’ll be back for more.”

In the junior men’s race, Dylan Rebello took top honours in the 4-lap race, finishing in 01:08:25. Sybrand Strauss won a close tussle for second place, crossing the line in 01:09:28, three seconds ahead of Alan Hatherly.

Julian Jessop won the 4-lap battle in the youth men category in a time of 01:12:31. He was followed by Michael Ferreira in 01:15:07 with Matthew Lombardi wrapping up the podium places in 01:17:29.

The pro-elite women’s race saw quite a differentiation in the race times for the top five riders, who finished within ten minutes of the leader. Elite category rider Samantha Sanders (Valencia) took the victory over the course of her five laps, finishing in 01:39:14. Sanders was followed by Bell’s Hayley Smith (u23) in 01:45:44, with BMC-SA’s Ashleigh Moffatt (u23) finishing third in 01:54:25. Sarah Hill (u23) and Susan Sloan (elite) rounded out the podium in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Bianca Haw commanded the junior women’s race once again by posting an eleven-minute lead over second-placed Marie-Christin Kempf. Haw’s winning time for the 4-lap race was 01:22:27. Third place went to Michelle Benson.

The youth women’s race took place over three laps, with Frankie du Toit taking top honours in 01:04:33. Genevieve van Coller and Saffron Vosloo finished second and third respectively.

Sunday’s downhill race at the same venue witnessed some gripping racing from the gravity descending thrill seekers. Event organiser Wendell Bole went the extra mile for this event by not only building a brand new downhill track at Thaba Trails, but by securing this as a permanent venue for downhill mountain bikers virtually in the heart of Johannesburg.

Some exciting racing ensued and it was KwaZulu-Natal’s Timothy Bentley (sponsored by Specialized and Fox) who claimed top honours by almost four seconds in 2 minutes 00.22 seconds. Hayden Brown and Ryan Frerichs crossed the line with the second and third fastest times respectively in 02:03.39 and 02:04.67. Rounding out the podium was Jonty Neething (02:05.05) in fourth place and Alasdair Fey (02:05.62) fifth.

Jean-Pierre du Plessis posted the fastest time for the junior men category in 02:06.12, which placed him 6th in the overall results. Andrew Martin was second in 02:12.39 with Gregg Brown third (02:18.39).

The women’s race saw Nadia Botha add another downhill cup series victory to her name when she claimed the fastest descent in 02:58.90. Kathryn Fourie finished second in03:20.12 with Stacey Bryant third (03:50.29).

The final round of the Cycling SA-MTB Cup Series will be taking place at Mankele Mountain Bike Park in Mpumalanga on 22 and 23 June.

Summary of Results – 2013 SA National XCO Cup 3 (Thaba Trails)
Click here to download the full XCO results: http://www.cyclingsa.com/App_Resources/Uploads/FILE00002442.pdf 

Pro-Elite Men (6 laps)
1 Max Knox 01:39:49 (Elite)
2 Patrick Belton 01:40:33 (U23)
3 Stuart Marais 01:41:24 (Elite)
4 Jason Meaton 01:42:44 (U23)
5 Stephan Reyneke 01:45:30 (U23)

Junior Men (4 laps)
1 Dylan Rebello 01:08:25
2 Sybrand Strauss 01:09:28
3 Alan Hatherly 01:09:31

Youth Men (4 laps) 
1 Julian Jessop 01:12:31
2 Michael Ferreira 01:15:07
3 Matthew Lombardi 01:17:29

Pro-Elite Women (5 laps)
1 Samantha Sanders 01:39:14 (Elite)
2 Hayley Smith 01:45:44 (U23)
3 Ashleigh Moffatt 01:54:25 (U23)
4 Sarah Hill 01:56:48 (U23)
5 Susan Sloan 02:00:11 (Elite)

Junior Women (4 laps)
1 Bianca Haw 01:22:27
2 Marie-Christin Kempf 01:33:23
3 Michelle Benson 01:41:24

Youth Women (3 laps)
1 Frankie du Toit 01:04:33
2 Genevieve van Coller 01:08:47
3 Saffron Vosloo 01:10:35

Summary of Results – 2013 SA National DHI Cup 3 (Thaba Trails) 
Click here to download the full DHI results: http://www.cyclingsa.com/App_Resources/Uploads/FILE00002441.pdf 

Elite Men 
1 Timothy Bentley 02:00:22
2 Hayden Brown 02:03:39
3 Ryan Frerichs 02:04:67
4 Jonty Neethling 02:05:05
5 Alasdair Fey 02:05.62

Junior Men 
1 Jean-Pierre du Plessis 02:06:12
2 Andrew Martin 02:12:39
3 Gregg Brown 02:18:39

Elite Women 
1 Nadia Botha 02:58:90
2 Kathryn Fourie 03:20:12
3 Stacey Bryant 03:50:29