Split second downhill cup series victory for Jonty Neethling

Cascades Mountain Bike Park in Pietermaritzburg provided perfect conditions again today for the second round of the Cycling SA-MTB National Downhill Cup Series leaving the deciding of the final outcome to the performance of the riders with the track in pristine condition.

With a field of sixty riders participating, it provided for a solid day of racing action. The qualifying times of the elite men were just outside of the 4-minute mark and the pressure of the race produced a number of times in the top five below 4 minutes.

Cascades Mountain Bike Park in Pietermaritzburg provided perfect conditions again today for the second round of the Cycling SA-MTB National Downhill Cup Series leaving the deciding of the final outcome to the performance of the riders with the track in pristine condition.

With a field of sixty riders participating, it provided for a solid day of racing action. The qualifying times of the elite men were just outside of the 4-minute mark and the pressure of the race produced a number of times in the top five below 4 minutes.


Gregg Brown (Team Jeep) finished fifth in the junior category at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

Cape Town rider Jonty Neethling, sponsored by Monster Energy, Fox and Morewood, qualified outside of the top five and confessed to have taken a cautious approach to the seeding run. He certainly held nothing back in the race final proving that even after just returning from a shoulder injury, which has sidelined him for a few months, that he will remain a serious contender for the SA series title. Neethling posted a winning time of 03 minutes 56.34 seconds.


onty Neethling (sponsored by Morewood/Monster Energy/Fox) took top honours in the downhill race at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

It wasn’t all plain sailing as fellow Capetonian Stefan Garlicki (Investec), who was top seed for the race, was given a clear run after second seed Timothy Bentley (brand ambassador Specialized/Fox) went out with a crash, injuring his shoulder. Garlicki, who leaves next month to start his overseas racing campaign, looked in great form, missing out on the top spot by less than a second.


Hayden Brown finished fifth in the close elite men’s category at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

Not to be left out of the action, Tiaan Odendaal snatched third place ahead of fourth placed Alasdair Fey and fifth placed Hayden Brown, who all finished within half a second of each other.

Local Nadia Botha (Velolife) won the women’s race by just over ten seconds from Kathryn Fourie, claiming the top spot in 00:05:29.38.


Nadia Botha was elated with her victory in the elite women’s category at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

Neethling, who had surgery on his shoulder in January because of a trapped vein, said he took it easy in the seeding run. “I knew there was a big pedal section so I rather wanted to save my legs for the final. I was a bit nervous at the top, but when I made it through the first section, the nerves were gone and I let it loose. It was a really fun race today. I don’t think any of us enjoy the pedaling sections, but it’s the only way we can prepare for the world champs. Cascades is such a good track. I was hoping for a top five so I am very happy with the result.”

Second placed Garlicki was pleased with his run. “It was so close. I’m really happy, but when you’re so close its kind of frustrating at the same time. I was very happy. Even though I made one minor mistake, the rest of the run was all good. I couldn’t have done much more than I did today.”

Chris Nixon, racing in the competitive veteran category won his class by less than a second at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

The women’s race winner Botha has been racing downhill for five years now, and was also pleased with her result. “The track was amazing – super dry, which was nice, and way better than the African Continental Champs weekend, which was wet and muddy. There was enough grip and I had a lot of fun.”

Summary of Results – 2013 SA National DHI Cup 2

Elite Men

  1. Jonty Neethling 03:56.34
  2. Stefan Garlicki 03:56.59
  3. Tiaan Odendaal 03:59.38
  4. Alasdair Fey 03:59.56
  5. Hayden Brown 03:59.81

Junior Men

  1. Theo Erlangsen 04:09.26
  2. Andrew Martin 04:10.41
  3. JP du Plessis 04:13.06

Elite Women

  1. Nadia Botha 05:29.38
  2. Katherine Fourie 05:39.69
  3. Kate Stephenson 05:51.31