This weekend saw the 2nd race of the MTN ultra marathon series happen in Barbeton. Last weekend it was Kevin Evans leading the pack to the finish but this weekend saw some more exciting racing with Max Knox outriding a classy field to retain his title.
The Barbeton course starts with a big climb of about 10km. Straight away DCM Chrome riders put the pace on and split the race up. This formed a lead group containing Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade), Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN/Energade), Burry Stander (Specialized/Mr Price) and Renay Goustra (GT). Once up at the top of the climb, conditions took a turn for the worse. It was here that Renay Goustra punctured forcing him out of the lead group.
Jacques Janse Van Rensburg and Brandon Stewart both had punctures on the next technical section through the game reserve and Adrien Niyonshuti also lost a little time in the tough conditions, leaving only Burry Stander, Kevin Evans and Max Knox entering into the feed zone at 75km.
The next 45km loop starts with just as big a climb as the first loop, and then back into the reserve for the same final 30km. As the leading 3 riders started the climb, Max Knox made his move and powered away from Burry and Kevin, riding an impressive 5 minutes into the duo over the 6km climb. This left Burry and Kevin fighting for the remaining two podium positions. In the final kilometer however, a fun rider crashed into Burry causing him to lose ground to Kevin. In a very sportsmanlike manner, Kevin sat up and waited for Burry before they continued their sprint to the line where Burry edged out Kevin for second.
Rwandan Adrien Niyonshuti come home in 4th place, with evergreen Paul Cordes 5th overall. Yolande Speedy(MTN/Energade) was in a class of her own to win the ladies race.