Exciting young downhiller Tiaan Odendaal will lead the charge as KZN’s mountain biking community continues the launch of enduro racing in the country at this weekend’s CSA KZN All Africa MTB Challenge at Cascades MTB park in Pietermaritzburg.
Odendaal, who finished second behind renowned cross-country rider Philip Buys at the race format’s ‘KZN debut’ last weekend at the Mr Price Karkloof Classic MTB Festival, will hope to go one better in his hometown on Saturday morning.
“It was great to win the juniors section at Karkloof but this weekend at Cascades there is only one section so I’m going to have to push a little harder and try go for the overall win this time,” said Odendaal.
“I’m keen to try get a good result again this weekend and try keep up a good standard of racing,” he added.
Despite having existed overseas for some time already the concept is still new to many South African riders however having now experienced his first enduro race, the talented youngster believes enduro racing has the potential to really take off locally as well.
“It is really is such a cool concept,” said Odendaal. “There wasn’t a downhill event at Karkloof this year so I thought I might as well give the enduro a go and I really enjoyed it and I’m sure it will grow pretty quickly in South Africa.
“With you having to cycle to the top before being timed coming down it’s a great way for both cross-country and downhill riders to come together and race against each other, which we haven’t really been able to do before.
“There are quite a few similarities I could relate to as a downhill rider but it definitely isn’t a downhill event and I reckon any type of rider will be able to cope with it because the track is pretty simple and definitely isn’t anywhere near as technical as a proper downhill course,” he added.
Odendaal will be eager to impress on the course he is familiar with and will be out to make amends for his slightly disappointing 74th place finish at the RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup held at the same venue earlier this year.
“The world cup was a little disappointing for me this year. I was five seconds late for my start so I didn’t have such a good start, which wasn’t great, so hopefully things will go a little better this weekend,” said Odendaal.
“Even though Cascades is basically in my own backyard I try not to ride it too often but I’ve heard Nick Floros has built a really cool track with a whole lot of new single track which should be awesome.
“I saw a bit of the top section the other day and then rode a bit of the bottom section today and it looks great,” he added.
The enduro takes place on Saturday 28 April and forms part of the two-day CSA KZN All Africa MTB Challenge that, along with the SA National Track & Para Cycling Championships and the SA National BMX Championships, makes up the new CSA KZN All Africa Challenge.
More info can be found at www.cyclingsa.com