The breathtaking forest trails at the 2017 Ashburton Investments National MTB Series Kaapsehoop. Credit:

Matthys Beukes put the Pyga Euro Steel showdown to rest when we walked away with the Kaapsehoop title. He made an early attack in the race, and managed to get a slight lead on Buys from the 35km mark.

He admitted that his victory did not come easy, however: "I had to push extremely hard in those final 2km, and just managed to come out on top!"

Buys, who finished in a close second place, showed nothing but pride for his teammate: “All I can say is well done to Matthys! He had a rough season last year, and he made sure to make up for everything he missed out on."The first stage of the event had all eyes on Team Pyga Euro Steel's Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes who have entered into an epic battle for the series title. A lot is at stake for the mountain biking heroes, who took their place at the Kaapsehoop start line today with less than a 200 point difference on the series standings.

It was Beukes who came out on top for the first stage of the event, with Buys taking second. Beukes did not fail to live up to his climbing abilities, and was a tough competitor to beat. He tackled the day's 1600m elevation gain with ease, and widened the gap on his teammate on the final climb to the finish line.

Elite male riders HB Kruger, Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes. Credit:

Reflecting on the season, he added, "So happy with the way it has all ended. This series is important to us - it has the most diversity, prize money and represents our sponsors really well. It's also the ideal opportunity for youngsters to start smashing us elite riders, It's been awesome to see guys like Wessel Botha come out here and actually challenge us,” he added.

Team BCX's HB Kruger showed incredible form in the second stage of the event, and managed to narrow the gap on the leading riders to finish less than a minute behind Buys. Rising star Wessel Botha proved to South Africa's mountain biking giants that he is a force to be reckoned with, and finished the stage with a well-deserved fourth place.

It was another successful day for Dormakaba's mountain biking star Candice Lill, who walked away with the Kaapsehoop event title and a second place in the popular series. Yolandi du Toit took second and Vanessa Bell charged across the finish line to snatch the final spot on the podium.

Elite lady riders Vanessa Bell, Yolandi Du Toit and Candice Lill. Credit:

Lill admitted that she was presented with more of a challenge from her female competitors than the first stage: “Yolandi went really hard at the start today, so I stayed with her for quite a while. I managed to get away on a single track that lead to a climb, and had a panic attack when I got a puncture. I sorted it out, luckily, and it felt incredible to keep my lead,” said Lill.

Du Toit described the final stage to be extremely tough. "Today was more challenging for me than yesterday. Despite having better conditions, we climbed 1600m in 54km!” she said.

Kaapsehoop was a race of unparalleled beauty that boasted exquisite singletrack trails through the De Kaap Valley.

Sections of the race took riders through the Blue Swallow Reserve, a countryside that is characterised by rolling hills and Blue Swallows that the area is renowned for.

With a clearer visibility in the final stage of the event, Beukes made sure to boast about the beauty of the trail: “We could actually see just how beautiful Kaapsehoop is today, and the trails here are just incredible. Even with all the pressure, I found myself often looking out and taking it all in,” he said.

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