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.
South Africa’s national mountain biking cross-country (XCO) and downhill (DHI) season kicks off this weekend in the Western Cape in Durbanville on Saturday 9 February and in Stellenbosch on Sunday 10 February respectively.
It will be game on as the UCI Category 2 Elite event will attract South Africa’s top performers in the Elite men and women’s groups of this Olympic mountain biking discipline, providing participants a chance to better their UCI world ranking by earning XCO points at home early in the season.
CSA-MTBs National Cup Series culminates with the 4th leg in KwaZulu-Natal on 23rd and 24th June. Local track builders have been placing the finishing touches on the cross-country and downhill tracks this past weekend at World’s View in Hilton, the new venue for the event.
Participants and their supporters will now have a change of scenery at the World’s View venue that offers panoramic views overlooking the city of Pietermaritzburg below, including the previously scheduled Cascades world cup venue.
Not even the chilly start to the morning could deter the cross-country athletes at the Hayterdale Trails near Addo for the third round of the CSA-MTB National Cup Series at the weekend in Port Elizabeth.
The organiser, Mountain Events put heart and soul into this event, creating specially made magnificent trails with drop-offs, wooden bridges, rock gardens, and then of course the great climbs with flowing singletrack sections as reward.
Hometown hero Greg Minnaar sent the massive crowd into hysterical celebrations by winning the downhill title at the RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup, while Australian speedster Tracey Hannah completed a fairytale comeback to MTB downhill racing by winning the women’s title in emphatic fashion at the Cascades MTB course.
The world’s best mountain bikers spent a scorching hot day getting to grips with the cross country and downhill courses on the first official training day for the 2012 RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg that starts today (Friday).
Local downhill star Andrew Neethling posted the second fastest run in the afternoon time straining session, four seconds quicker than world champ Danny Hart, with the day’s fastest time being laid down by Frenchman Cedric Garcia, while the fastest woman on the day was Sabrina Jonnier (FRA).
South African downhill star Andrew Neethling made big strides in the UCI MTB World Cup in 2011, including claiming a first ever podium finish at Windham in the USA.
He’s looking to up the ante in 2012, starting at the RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg.