Matthys Beukes and Candice Neethling won the men and women’s titles respectively after closely fought battles at the Van Gaalen round of the 2017 Ashburton Investments National Mountain Bike Series, at Skeerpoort in the North West Province on Saturday.
Beukes (Pyga Eurosteel) eventually triumphed in a race-long duel with Round 4 winner, Brendon Davids (Road Cover) to claim the win in a time of 02:55:34. Davids was just 0.1 seconds behind with Gert Heyns (Ascendis Health) rounding out the podium places.
“Brendon is so strong on the flats and there’s quite a lot of flat sections here. I was bleeding to keep on his wheel. On the last climb I thought it was game over for me, so I just put in one last attack and it worked out. I got a gap and just tried to hold my small lead to the end, which I only just managed to do,” said a weary Beukes, who now takes the Series lead going into Round 6.
In the women’s race a tight tussle saw Neethling (dormakaba) and Samantha Sanders (Valencia) duke it out in a sprint, with Neethling just edging ahead to take the win in a time of 03:29:14. Sanders was given the same time with South African champion, Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health) taking third place in 03:30:31. De Groot still holds onto the Series lead.
“I checked out the finish before the start and knew the first person into the last corner should win. So my positioning at the end was perfect for that sprint. It was a hot pace from the beginning in the women’s race today and I’m very happy to have won. It’s a really challenging route, which I love,” smiled Neethling.
Round 6 of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series takes place at Dullstroom, Mpumalanga on 2 and 3 September 2017. To enter, or for more information, visit www.nationalmtbseries.com
1 Matthys Beukes 02:55:34
2 Brendon Davids 02:55:35
3 Gert Heyns 02:59:00
4 Philip Buys 03:00:38
5 Nico Bell 03:02:00
1 Candice Neethling 03:29:14
2 Samantha Sanders 03:29:15
3 Robyn De Groot 03:30:31
4 Theresa Ralph 03:42:41
5 Sarah Hill 03:45:34
1 Marc Oliver Pritzen 01:40:03
2 Keagan Bontekoning 01:42:29
3 Chris Du Plessis Du Plessis 01:43:22
1 Danielle Strydom 02:00:04
2 Thana Groenewald 02:03:27
3 Frances Janse van Rensburg 02:08:50