Pretoria welcomed mountain bikers from across the country at the weekend for the second round of the CSA-MTB National Series, with Philip Buys and Amy McDougall taking the cross-country Men and Women’s titles respectively on Saturday 14 April, and junior Tiaan Odendaal claiming the Downhill victory on Sunday 15 April 2012.
Fountains Valley in Groenkloof was the venue for the XCO, presenting a 5.5km course with some steep climbs, whereas the downhill participants raced less than 5-kilometres away from the XCO track at 139 in Waterkloof, alongside the N1 highway.
The cross-country kicked off the weekend’s action, on a course that was laid out in a reverse direction compared to previous years. The riders produced exceptional racing across all the competing age categories, with a great turnout in the junior and youth boys’ age groups, keeping the spectators enthralled with the riveting action that ensued as the youngsters continued challenging each other until the very end.
This bodes well for the development of our young talent in this exciting Olympic discipline.
In the Pro-Elite category, it was Team Contego 28E’s Philip Buys who confirmed his form by dominating the men’s 7-lap race and taking top honours, along with posting the fastest lap of the day at 13:01. This was Buys’ first race since competing in the UCI MTB World Cup in Pietermaritzburg last month.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect before the race, because I took a break from racing and had some proper training time,” said Buys. “But my training has gone well these past few weeks and standing at the starting line I felt confident.”
Namibian Marc Bassingthwaighte started strong and took the lead early on, but Buys took charge before the start of lap two and held the lead position until the finish line. “I put in one strong effort to get away and then I settled into a comfortable rhythm. From there on it was fun and games until the finish. I felt the power in my legs, but I know there is still more to come.”
Bassingthwaighte and Renay Groustra (RSAWeb) rounded out the podium in second and third places respectively.
Amy McDougall (Team Decca Ghost), who only began cross-country racing in 2010, was all smiles when she won the women’s Pro-elite race. “I had raced in a National here at Fountains in 2010 and I got lapped, and came last in Pietermaritzburg last year, and then 5th in Rietvlei in July. But I love this type of racing, and I quit my job in April 2011 so that I could race more seriously,” said McDougall.
McDougall was absent from the opening round at Willowbridge in Durbanville, Western Cape earlier this year as she did not feel strong enough nor did she have the resources to travel far for races, but that might all change for the Pretoria local with her new sponsorship.
“I started riding for Team Decca Ghost the week before the race and rode my new Ghost HTX Team Edition bike at Mankele for 15 hours as an “initiation” so I didn’t exactly taper,” continued McDougall. “The biggest help was going to the course on Friday with my coach Paul Cordes to practice it until I knew exactly what to do in all the tricky bits and where to push and where to conserve my energy.”
Having raced many provincials at the Fountains course, McDougall loved the change of direction. “It wasn’t too technical and the climbs weren’t too bad but there wasn’t much space to rest so I was in the red most of the time! I felt strong but it was all in keeping my lap times consistent, where my competition faded and went slower towards the end my lap times stayed very much the same so the gap increased with each lap.”
McDougall finished the 5-lap race in 01:22:54, two minutes ahead of second-placed U23 rider Ashleigh Parker-Moffatt (Team BMC SA) with Simone Vosloo (Team BMC SA) finishing third a further 5-minutes behind.
A notable performance by U23 rider Shaun-Craig Silver saw him winning his class in 01.38.18, placing 4th overall in the Pro-elite category and putting in one-and-a-half minutes between the second U23 competitor Arno Du Toit (5th in Pro-elite).
Young Travis Stedman, racing in the Nippers category, did exceptionally well in only his second national race, posting consistent lap times of 00.09.45, 00.09.58, 00.09.28 and 00.09.32 to take the victory.
RESULTS – XCO – Pro Elite Men
1 Philip Buys 01.33.47
2 Marc Bassingthwaighte 01.34.55
3 Renay Groustra 01.36.50
4 Shaun-Craig Silver 01.38.18
5 Arno Du Toit 01.39.48
RESULTS – XCO – Pro Elite Women
1 Amy Mcdougall 01:22:54
2 Ashleigh Parker-Moffatt 01:24:55
3 Simone Vosloo 01:30:10
4 Angela Egeland 01:32:11
5 Andrea De Boer 01:36:51
2012 SA XCO Cup Series #2 – Results ‘Fountains’ can be downloaded here.
Junior Odendaal Stands on Top Step of Downhill Challenge
Another great demonstration of South Africa’s young talent came through on Sunday when junior rider Tiaan Odendaal (Turner Loaded SA) stood atop the podium, beating his closest rival by nearly 5-seconds on the relatively short course, posting 02:04.77.
The downhill turnout was considerably smaller than in previous events mostly due to many of the regular competitors preparing for their international racing campaigns, but this gave the juniors their time to claim their place in the spotlight.
Odendaal, who has always delivered good results in his previous races on the Highveld, was ecstatic with his performance and victory: “I am really stoked with my win this weekend. This was the best result I have achieved in the CSA-MTB National Cup Series thus far and I am very happy about it.
Having a UCI World Cup in his “back garden” in his hometown of Pietermaritzburg, Odendaal believes it has helped him to raise the bar when it comes to his racing, and has opened many doors for him to consider DHI racing as a career.
“I am currently preparing and training for DHI races in the USA during June of this year, so other than mentally believing in achieving, I did my normal pre-race training.”
After experiencing a puncture during his practice run, Odendaal adjusted his tyre pressure and everything else ran smoothly. “I had a good idea that I was riding well as some of the riders commented that I was looking quick and very smooth during practice, which gave me a confidence boost,” said Odendaal. “It was my goal to win in the lead up to the race and I was very glad that all went well and I had an excellent run.
“This track is very different from all the tracks in Pretoria that I have ridden so far, and is by far the most fun track. There were some cool jumps and berms, which I enjoyed a lot and I would like to give a huge thanks to the track builders and the event organiser. It was a super cool event on a fun to ride track. It was not too technical and the pedalling sections were short with nice flowing berms and a few well named rock gardens and jumps.”
Fellow junior Sam Bull finished in 2nd place with Alasdair Fey (new to the Elite category this year) claimed an ultra-close third place, missing second place by a split second.
RESULTS – DHI – Overall
1 Tiaan Odendaal 02.04.77
2 Sam Bull 02.09.67
3 Alasdair Fey 02.09.68
4 Travis Browning 02.10.67
5 David Hogan 02.11.08
2012 SA DHI Cup Series #2 – Results ‘139’ can be downloaded here.
There were several new faces on the podiums for round no. 2, which can only enhance the interest and challenge going through to the 3rd Leg of the series at Addo near Port Elizabeth on the 26th and 27th May 2012.