The racing at the front of the 60km MTB marathon proved to be thrilling with the top five in the men’s race all finishing within two minutes of each other, but it was the young Australian who had too much power and took the overall win.
With his cross country background 60km was a big ask for the former junior world cross country champion, however he dug deep to take a satisfying win.
“It was really hard for me and the last twenty kilometres were tough,” Wright said. “I got onto the front for the final five kays and got myself a little bit of a gap and was lucky enough to hold it until the end.”
Having been born in South Africa, Wright moved to Australia seven years ago and he was happy to be back racing in the Karkloof.
[caption]It was a great performance from Australian cross country ace Cameron Wright as he took the overall honours in the 60km Sappi Marathon at the 2019 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media
“I probably haven’t ridden here in eight or nine years and it was pretty hard not really knowing where to go!
“It’s great to be back and I’ve got another month in South Africa which is great!” he added.
Second place’s Henry Liebenberg’s race wasn’t without drama but he showed good temperament to get himself back in the race.
“Unfortunately just before Lebanon I got a slow flat so I had to stop and bomb it quickly,” he said. "I had to work hard up Lebanon and caught the group at the top.
“There was some tactical riding after that but Cam just had a bit more in the single track and on the dice to the line.”
Stuart Marais also came unstuck when he got a stick in his spokes but 2018’s runner up put in a big effort to finish in third.
The ladies race was also laced with drama with Tiffany Keep taking a wrong turn when she was in full control of the race.
She ended up riding an extra four kilometres which meant that Frances Janse van Rensberg was able to come through, and to her surprise, take the ladies title in her first 60km marathon.
"Tiffany and I weren't too far apart but I couldn't see her so this is a huge surprise!
"Being my first 60km race I didn't really know what to expect so I took it easy," she said.
"I had a crash so I had to take it easy after that but it was a lot of fun. I got pretty tired but loved the single track and it was a great day out."
In the shorter races, it was Mitchel Potgieter who was the fastest rider over the Sappi 40km Half Marathon on Sunday, over six minutes ahead of Chad Stevenson in second and then Jordan Brandon Bold finished in third.
Chloe Bateson was in a league of her own in the women's race as she finished eighth overall in the 40km half marathon with Jean Hackland coming home in second place and Bronwyn Evans finished in third.
Completing the family appeal of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival there was a great turnout for the aQuellé 20km Family Ride as well as the very popular aQuellé 10km Kids Ride.
More info can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.
60km Sappi Marathon
1.Cameron Wright (AUS) 2:39:53
2.Henry Liebenberg 2:40:09
3.Stuart Marais 2:40:29
4.Travis Stedman 2:40:45
5.Tyronne White 2:40:45
6.David Low 2:46:55
7.Sthembiso Masango 2:50:38
8.Brennan Anderson 2:55:12
9.Trevor Rowe 2:55:12
10.Bradley Potgieter 2:56:39
1.Frances Janse van Rensberg (U18) 3:25:49
2.Rouxda Grobler 3:34:29
3.Tiffany Keep 3:36:03
4.Courteney webb 3:41:44
5.Andrea de Boer 3:43:09
6.Steph Blane 3:53:04
7.Brenda Potts 3:56:13
8.Debrah Thomas 3:58:28
9.Michelle Scott 4:03:18
10.Isla Mackeller 4:05:54
aQuellé 40km Half Marathon
1.Mitchel Potgieter 1:53:23
2.Chad Stevenson 1:59:38
3.Jordan Brandon Bold 2:03:23
4.Kade Charleton 2:05:43
5.Lindokuhle Ngubo 2:06:24
6.Andrew Green 2:07:12
7.Gareth Cook 2:07:13
8.Chloe Bateson 2:10:49
9.Jason Lowe 2:11:20
10.Jordon Wisdom 2:11:23
1.Chloe Bateson 2:10:49
2.Jean Hackland 2:23:03
3.Bronwyn Evans 2:27:03
4.Allegra Wykerd 2:31:22
5.Lindsay Everson 2:33:32