Rocking Start for SA XCO & DHI Series

Venues have been confirmed for the remaining South African cross-country and downhill races as part of the SA national series.

Following a fantastic start at the first round in Cape Town at the weekend, which raised the bar in terms of technicality, organisation and crowd support, organisers will no doubt rise to the challenge to deliver an equally high standard in all aspects of the remaining events, offering the competitors and supporters optimum value.

2008 mountain bike Olympians Burry Stander (Specialized) and Yolande Speedy (Epic Sports) claimed the titles of the opening XCO cup race, which was held at the Willowbridge Mall “Slammer” track in Durbanville. Johann Potgieter (Mongoose) delivered a superb run and took top honours in the DHI event held at Contermanskloof on the outskirts of Durbanville.

Saturday’s race saw Stander win the 7-lap elite men’s race on the very challenging 4.2km course in 01 hour, 24 minutes and 19 seconds, clocking the fastest lap of the day in 11 minutes 50 seconds.

“I’m very happy with my form and my performance today. This is the best I have ever felt at this time of the year. It is a big year with the Olympic Games in London so there is no lack of motivation or focus,” said Stander, who will be an Olympic medal contender come August.

Team Contego’s Philip Buys finished second in 01:26.02 with Marc Bassingthwaighte (01:29.57) third. Buys recorded the second fastest lap time, only one second slower than Stander, in 11:51.

Rourke Croeser (Orange Monkey) won the 6-lap U23 race in 01:30.46, with James Reid (360Life) and Brendon Davids (Specialized Sho-air) filling second and third places respectively.

Yolande Speedy made her return to XCO racing with a commanding performance, breaking 16-minutes in four of her five laps, completing her race in 01:18.40, and winning by a margin of 5:20 against her closest rival.

“My race went really well,” said Speedy. “It was the first time I’ve raced XCO on my 29” bike and it handled the course well. It was also a proper cross-country course and good to see an increase in the technical level.

Candice Neethling (BMC SA) won the U23 race, completing four laps in 01:05.45.

All credit went to Western Province on presenting an excellent event and setting the standard at the onset of the series.

Click here for the SA XCO Series #1 Results

Sunday’s downhill race at the popular Contermanskloof track saw all the top contenders lining up to open the local season with maximum points.

In the elite race, it was Andrew Neethling, Stefan Garlicki, Jonty Neethling and Johann Potgieter vying for the fastest descent of the day. Unfortunately for Andrew, Stefan and Jonty, they all suffered punctures in the qualifying run, giving Johann the confidence boost he needed ahead of the finals.

Potgieter’s final run was sublime, and he clocked the fastest time, 1,16 seconds ahead of Andrew with Garlicki finishing third.

“The event was awesome, with about 87 riders taking part,” said Pottie. “The weather was good, and the course in excellent condition. I am so stoked to take the win – Andrew (Neethling) is an awesome athlete and ranked number 9 in the world at this stage, so to beat him is unreal!” Potgieter will tackle the RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup opener in Pietermaritzburg next month before he heads off to Europe to compete.

Click here for the SA DHI Series #1 Results

Dates and Venues for remaining events – 2012 SA XCO & DHI Series