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Just under 700 mountain biking enthusiasts signed up to partake in the much anticipated FNB Wines2Whales MTB Ride that took place from Monday, 04 November 2013 to Wednesday, 06 November 2013. Seen here: Mountain Bikers in action during Stage Three on Wednesday, 06 November 2013. Stage Three started at the Oak Valley Sport Field (Elgin) and ended at the Onrus Caravan Park (just outside Hermanus). PHOTO CREDIT ~ Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA

The FNB W2W MTB Ride started at Lourensford Wine Estate (Somerset West) on Monday, 04 November 2013. Just under 700mountain biking enthusiasts signed up to partake in this much anticipated mountain biking event. Teams of two riders (male/female/mixed) had three days to cross through (and over) 13 wineries, 26 private farms, six mountains, historic roads and mountain passes, nature conservation areas (including the Kogelberg Biosphere) before finishing within sight of the famous whales of Hermanus!

According to Dirks, Stage Three of the FNB W2W MTB Ride was great. “The pressure was off today. The weather was a lot cooler and it was only in the last 3kms that we had to ride against the wind. This is our first FNB W2W MTB event and the first time that Frikkie and I ride together, even though we’ve known each other for 15 years. We couldn’t get an entry into the FNB W2W MTB Race, so we entered the Ride instead. The event was perfect. We’ll definitely take part next year again, maybe even try for a Race entry and see how we do against the other riders,” said Dirks.

“I call my six year old, Knersus because she grits her teeth at me. So at the spur of the moment we decided to make our team name Team Knersus,” said Hartog. “The FNB W2W MTB Ride was very nice. It’s clear that a lot of work has gone into the W2W routes. I had a bad Stage 1 and Gerard literally had to wait for me. Luckily Stage 2 picked up and Stage 3 was great. This is the first time that we rode together, we definitely complement each other as a team,” said Hartog.

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The mountain biking prowess of Team Knersus’ Gerard Dirks and Frikkie Hartog secured them a Stage Three victory as well as an overall victory in the men’s team category of the 2013 FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Ride that ended at Onrus Caravan Park (just outside Hermanus) on Wednesday, 06 November 2013. Seen here: Gerard Dirks in action during Stage Three of the FNB Wines2Whales MTB Ride on Wednesday, 06 November 2013. PHOTO CREDIT ~ Jetline Action Photo

Team Knersus completed the three stages of the FNB W2W MTB Ride in a combined time of 11hours27minutes29seconds. Team IQ Green Solutions’ Rayal De Waal and Pieter Uys came in second, while Team SSM’s Gawie Van Der Schyf and Adriaan Theron finished third.

Team ISUZU 2’s Sandra and Graham Ransom took gold in the mixed team category with a combined finishing time of 12hours36minutes18seconds. Team These Island Destinations Hare’s Franci Joubert and Chris Nel came in second, while Team J10’s Nadia Visser and Charel Uys finished third.

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Team ISUZU 2’s Sandra and Graham Ransom took gold in the mixed team category of the FNB Wines2Whales MTB Ride on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 with a combined finishing time of 12hours36minutes18seconds. Seen here: Sandra Ransom in action during Stage Three of the FNB Wines2Whales MTB Ride on Wednesday, 06 November 2013. PHOTO CREDIT ~ Jetline Action Photo

Team NH The Lord Charles’ Caroline Schuermans and Janet Keet were on fire in the women’s race claiming victory in a combined time of 13hours13minutes03seconds. Team Derailed’s Auralia Edwards and Lee Ziervogel came in second, while Team CSM Consulting Services’ Vicki Mohr and Nadia Malan finished third.

Coming Up Next: Stage One of the FNB W2W MTB Race will start at 07h00 (in seeded groups A- L, starting at 10 minute intervals) atLourensford Winery (Somerset West) on Friday, 08 November 2013.

Top Teams to look out for: Renay Groustra & Nico Pfitzenmaier, Waylon Woolcock & Erik Kleinhans, Adriaan Louw & Jurgens Uys, Dominic Calitz & Heiko Redecker, Hanlie Booyens & Sharon Laws, Carla Van Huyssteen & Kim Westbrook, Candice Neethling & Eszter Erdelyi and Yolande Speedy & Paul Cordes.

“This was an incredible stage of the competition and we’re delighted that the weather played along to enable every participant to enjoy the scenery while competing for the ultimate prize. We commend each of the just under 700 participants who took part in this stage and wish to see them in future competitions. FNB is proud of the riders who took top honours in what is rapidly emerging as one of the most beautiful and competitive mountain biking competitions in the country,” said Stephan Claassen, FNB Provincial Head, Western Cape.