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.
This year, the weather was gracious enough for the organiser’s efforts to be enjoyed by both the XCO and DHI riders alike.
“We keep receiving excellent feedback from the riders, which is really great, and the event ran like clockwork,” said Mountain Events’ Brad Jackson.
Taking the Pro-elite men’s XCO race was KwaZulu-Natal’s under-23 rider Luke Roberts (RE:CM), who completed his 6 laps of the 5.5km course in a time of 01:38:38. Eastern Cape rider Jason Meaton (Coaches Corner), also in the U23 category, finished over 2 minutes later in 01:41:00, whilst Elite Renay Groustra (RSAWeb) from the Western Cape finished third overall in 01:41:13.
Groustra was the first Elite home, and also recorded the fastest lap of the day in 15 minutes 58 seconds; just one second quicker that Roberts, with Roberts clocking 15:59 in both his first and second lap.
Winning the junior men’s race was KwaZulu-Natal’s Patrick Belton (Team Jeep), who dominated the race from the start and finished five laps in a commanding time of 01:24:56.
The newly crowned junior African Continental Champion was pleasantly surprised by the XCO track, and clearly enjoyed it. “The race kicked off at a hard pace as always and I managed to get away on the first steep technical climb,” said Belton. “From there I settled into a good pace and managed to extend my lead.”
Belton finished just under 3 minutes ahead of second place Paul Rodenbach with Dylan Hattingh rounding out the podium.
The only Pro-elite woman to race at the third leg of the Nationals was Team Jeep’s Angela Egeland (KZN). The U23 rider clocked 01:35:08 for her 4 laps.
The junior women’s race was close, with Bizhub FCF’s Linda van Wyk walking away with top honours. The Eastern Cape local crashed hard during a practice lap on Thursday, but rose to the occasion and delivered a fine performance when it mattered on race day.
After a conservative steady start, Van Wyk found herself in the lead on the second lap, maintaining the lead until the end of the race to claim the junior women’s win, completing 3 laps in 01.06.24. The battle continued just over 2-minutes later when the race for second place saw Nicole Erasmus (Western Cape) finish just 9 seconds ahead of KZNs Savannah Vosloo (BMC SA), in 01:08:36.
“The track at Addo was definitely one of the best tracks I have ridden in the country. I am very happy with my effort at this race, but I know I can do even better,” said Van Wyk.