Where is Max Knox? Why is he not racing anymore? Is he injured?
These are questions that have cropped up in mountain-biking conversations since Knox’s ‘disappearance’ from the mountain-biking scene about five weeks ago.
The good news is that Knox is certainly not lost to South African mountain biking. There are simply times when a rider has to take a break and also take stock of his achievements, his sacrifices and, most importantly, set new goals for himself.
The well-known saying ‘A change is as good as a holiday’ explains why Knox is now racing for Team Ghost DIN.
Knox certainly did not waste any time in opening his winning account for his new sponsor. Over the past weekend (2-3 April) he won a race at Mankele in the Lowveld.
“To win at Mankele was no big deal. It has been five weeks since I last raced, so it was important to me to take part in an enjoyable race in order to experience the feeling of racing my mountain bike again and to give my legs a proper stretching session.
“One thing is certain, when you don’t race you really miss it. Ask me, I know.
“Mankele was a fresh start for me. I was amazed about how excited I was to be racing again. I felt like a schoolboy back at school on the first day after a holiday.”
This weekend Knox will be racing at Karkloof in KwaZulu-Natal. He will compete only in the marathon.
“I have enough UCI ranking points and therefore I am not going to waste any unnecessary energy by competing in the cross-country event.”
Listening to Knox when he talks about the Karkloof event, it becomes clear that he has something to prove. In his last four attempts at the Karkloof marathon he finished fourth every time.
“Don’t ask me why I keep on finishing fourth at Karkloof because I have no answer. Hopefully my luck will change.
“What might count in my favour this time round is the fact that I did not compete in the Cape Epic, so I will definitely go into the race with fresh legs.
“The fact that Kevin Evans and Burry Stander will not be racing in the marathon, means that it will be an open race. The two of them have dominated during the past few years.”
Knox is also looking forward to racing the three-day Sani2C with Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN/Qhubeka), winner of the Absa Cape Epic’s African Jersey.
Those in the know predict that Knox and Niyonshuti could become the next real deal in South African stage races.
Knox agrees, but immediately adds that the Sani2C will be their first real test.
“I have never raced with Adrien as a teammate. So we still have to see whether we will gel as a team. I am positive that we will be able to.
“I have the utmost respect for Adrien, because he is the one rider who just continues to improve all the time.”
Knox commented that he is looking forward to riding for the new Ghost DIN outfit. “They are a young team with high aspirations, they also have excellent support and the high quality equipment I need to win races” he added.
Images courtesy of Zoon Cronje