Jonkershoek Nature Reserve in Stellenbosch was abuzz with activity as the country’s top downhillers descended on the valley to take part in the first national DHI of the season on Sunday 10 February.
As with the cross-country racing the day prior, wet conditions were the order of the day, although this did not put a dampener on the action that was delivered by the 95 entrants.
It was Andrew Neethling who bursted out of the start gate to deliver the fastest time and claim the early season win, recording 2 minutes and 17.82 seconds for the descent on the steep and technical track. Consistently a top-ten World Cup finisher on the international downhill racing circuit, Neethling sure had the challenge laid out for him as his peers set decidedly fast qualifying times on the slippery track.
“My seeding run did not really go as planned,” said Needles. “The track was pretty slick for seeding and I had a pretty big mistake near the bottom coming to a stop. My final run went to plan, which was nice. It had dried up a ton and conditions were great so I pushed hard after the first few turns. It is always nice to get a win.”
Neethling will continue his training preparations as he gears towards the UCI World Cup season and the UCI World Championship, which will be held in Pietermaritzburg in August.
Stefan Garlicki and Johann Potgieter had a close dice with only 0.05 seconds separating second and third place, with Garlicki finishing second. Rika Olivier was the fastest woman on the course, clocking 2 minutes 50.63 seconds on her final run.
Participants will now prepare for the African Continental Championships, which will be taking place at the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal in a month’s time.
Summary of Results – SA-MTB DHI #1 – Jonkershoek
Pro Elite Men
Pro Elite Women
1. Rika Olivier 2 minutes 50.63 seconds
2. Nadia Botha 03:17.51
3. Arne Greyling 04:41.12