Former champion Neil MacDonald, riding with new partner Brandon Stewart, notched up his second overall victory in the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race at Scottburgh on Saturday.
The FedGroup-Itec riders completed the 910km journey from Heidelberg in Gauteng to the KwaZulu-Natal south coast in 34:11:05, taking four stage wins in the process.
Lady Luck smiled on race leaders Neil MacDonald and Brandon Stewart as mechanical problems beset their nearest challengers on the penultimate stage of the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.
After a rocky start at MacKenzie Club near Ixopo, the FedGroup-Itec riders overcame a number of obstacles on the 102km stage, which included a much-anticipated technical descent into the Umkomaas River Valley.
They cruised alone into the finish at Jolivet Farm in the Highflats region in 4:06:51 (31:08:21) to claim their fourth stage win and consolidate their overnight lead.
Day seven proved to be the lucky number for Louis-Bresler Knipe and Kevin van Hoovels when they took their second stage win in the Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.
The Contego riders, who are both cross-country specialists, came to the fore on a fast and technical 78km stage from Hazeldene farm near Underberg to MacKenzie Club in the vicinity of Ixopo.
They outsprinted race leaders Brandon Stewart and Neil MacDonald of FedGroup-Itec to take a four-second victory in 2:59:15, with RE:CM’s Waylon Woolcock and Lourens Luus a further second off the pace.
Brandon Stewart and Neil MacDonald strengthened their grip on the Old Mutual joBerg2c when they claimed their third stage victory on day six of the mountain bike race in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday.
The FedGroup-Itec riders completed the 91km stage from Kamberg to Hazeldene farm near Underberg in 3:21:00 to take a comfortable three-and-a-half minute lead after 24:02:11 of racing.
RE:CM’s Waylon Woolcock and Lourens Luus, who were unlucky to suffer technical problems in the closing kilometres of the previous stage, trailed them home in 3:23:53. Third on the day was the Bridge duo of Nico Pfitzenmaier and Timo Cooper in 3:26:09.
Neil MacDonald and Brandon Stewart claimed their second stage win and with it the overall lead on day five of the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race on Tuesday.
The FedGroup-Itec duo turned up the heat on the 98km stage from Winterton to Kamberg in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, which featured a total ascent of more than 1 500 metres.
With only RE:CM’s Waylon Woolcock and Lourens Luus able to keep pace on the final climbs, the stage looked set for a ferocious dogfight between the two teams until the overnight leaders suffered a technical setback with six kilometres to go.
There was high drama on day four of the Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race as Louis-Bresler Knipe and Kevin van Hoovels took advantage of a wrong turn by the lead group to snatch victory on the first of the climbing stages on Monday.
The Contego riders were eventually chased down but held their nerve in a dramatic four-team sprint to the finish on the 122km stage from Sterkfontein Dam in the Free State to Winterton in KwaZulu-Natal.
Knipe and Van Hoovels took the win in 4:46:32, a second ahead of race leaders Waylon Woolcock and Lourens Luus of RE:CM, with Brandon Stewart and Neil MacDonald of FedGroup-Itec a further four seconds back.
Former winner Waylon Woolcock and national marathon champion Lourens Luus stormed into the finish to take the stage win and overall lead on day three of the Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race on Sunday.
The RE:CM riders claimed victory on the gruelling 130km queen stage between Reitz and Sterkfontein Dam near Harrismith in the Free State in 4:34:02.
They were followed home by overnight leaders Brandon Stewart and Neil MacDonald (FedGroup-Itec) in 4:34:25, with Charles Keey and Darren Lill (Cannondale-Blend) third in 4:34:40.