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Frankie du Toit (Kargo Pro MTB Team) stamped her authority on the women's race from early on, winning the U23 and overall race at the opening round of the 2016 KZNMTB XCO Provincial in the forests of Hilton on Saturday 6 February Photo credit: Gavin Ryan/Quick Pix

Hatherly (U23) was in a four-way tussle with his teammate Brendon Davids (Elite), Stuart Marais (Elite) and Travis Walker (Elite) early in the Men’s race, where the U23 and Elite classes completed the same number of laps. While jostling for positions during their thrilling six-lap race, Davids suffered a mechanical and Walker crashed into a tree in the tight single track while Hatherly chiselled away at extending his lead.

“I had a really big week this week,” said Hatherly. “The race started off quite hard and I took the first two laps pretty easy just to suss out the field and see where my legs were before I opened up. I managed to open a gap near the end of the second lap on the last climb up towards the finish. I got a bit of a gap with Brendon Davids and the two of us were working together. Unfortunately, because of his mechanical he had to drop back. From there I went on my own, got into a good rhythm, got all the technical sections dialled in and raced to the finish. I’m really happy to take the win.”


ccs-62657-0-37236600-1454865401.jpgElite men's winner Brendon Davids (Kargo Pro MTB Team) put in a momentous performance to claw his way back into contention at the opening round of the 2016 KZNMTB XCO Provincial in the forests of Hilton on Saturday 6 February Photo credit: Gavin Ryan/Quick Pix

ccs-62657-0-17540400-1454865406.jpgGenevieve van Coller (Absolute Cycling) finished 2nd overall in the Women's race at the opening round of the 2016 KZNMTB XCO Provincial in the forests of Hilton on Saturday 6 February Photo credit: Gavin Ryan/Quick Pix


Davids put in a momentous performance to claw his way back from fourth place to second overall, contending with the high race pace despite dropping his chain four times. He claimed the Elite category victory. Marais finished in third place while Walker claimed fourth overall, finishing second and third in the Elite category respectively.

“I had a pretty good start,” said Davids. “Alan managed to get a gap on the second lap and I had a bit of an issue and lost some time. I managed to chase back. Every lap I seemed to have an issue at the same area, but I rode through it and managed to come right. It was good to get a hard session in while chasing through the pack and setting milestones to catch the next guy, and then the next guy.”

The women’s race was a different scenario with Frankie du Toit stamping her authority from early on. With no mechanicals or crashes to contend with, her smooth run saw her take the overall women’s victory by more than two minutes from her closest rival, Genevieve van Coller (Absolute Cycling - U23) with Hayley Smith (Kargo Pro MTB Team) claiming third place (U23).

“The track was a bit longer than what we’re used to and there was a lot of single track and it was quite flat,” said Du Toit. “So it was fast racing – you had to accelerate out of every corner and there was no chance to rest. But it was good, and the tracks were flowing. It’s nice to see the level of racing going up. Coming into the season I’m feeling strong and it’s always great going into a season like that.”

On the importance of supporting and participating in the Provincial Series, Du Toit said: “You can’t have a national series without a provincial series and you have to start somewhere so this plays a large role in developing the riders. For me I use it as training and it’s also a great racing experience. I’m really enjoying the provincial series – KZNMTB are really doing a great job with it!”

Winning the Elite Women’s race was Scottburgh’s Candice Parker-Dennison, who maintained a consistent pace despite not practicing on the course prior to the race. “I really enjoyed the race today. It was a bit muddy at the beginning and the roots were quite slippery but I did the drop off and managed the technical sections, which was really cool – it’s a very good start to the season! I just started my new job so it’s very difficult to balance my work and my cycling but I’m going to do the best that I can.”

In the Junior categories, Dean Wortmann (Jowetts Cycles) and Chriestie Leigh Hearder (Absolute Cycling) claimed the men and women’s victories.

“I had a very good race and felt really strong out there,” said Wortmann. “The course was tough with some very sharp corners. I did fall once in the pine forest but it was just a bit of a lack of concentration. But otherwise I overcame that and got my rhythm back and it was really good.”


ccs-62657-0-49481000-1454865521.jpgAlan Hatherly (Kargo Pro MTB Team) came from a four-way tussle to convincingly claim the overall Men's victory at the opening round of the 2016 KZNMTB XCO Provincial in the forests of Hilton on Saturday 6 February Photo credit: Gavin Ryan/Quick Pix

ccs-62657-0-18480500-1454865530.jpgStuart Marais finished 3rd overall and 2nd Elite at the opening round of the 2016 KZNMTB XCO Provincial in the forests of Hilton on Saturday 6 February Photo credit: Gavin Ryan/Quick Pix


Hearder said: “I had a really good start in this race and I tried to keep up with the top ladies, but soon found that I lost the strength in my legs. I just pushed hard and worked to get a good time for myself. I absolutely loved the forest, even though it was very tight. I was worried about the trees but it was so much fun. I had practiced the day before on the A-lines, but got to the jump and panicked and then took the B-line,” she laughed.

Teammates Cian Leveridge and Tiffany Keep (Team PAW) both claimed the men and women’s Youth categories.

“It was a hard race, and the course was nice,” said Leveridge. “It’s really nice coming back home to race on these types of courses where it’s nice and twisty, after being in Australia for eight weeks. The race itself was quite tough, as I didn’t know where anybody was, so it just kept on pushing me to go faster.”

Keep said: “There was no chance to rest on the course today. It was very tight and very hard, but it made for a fun day out. The trail flowed smoothly through the trees, and I had fun, which is all that matters.”

Round two of the 2016 KZNMTB Provincial XCO Series takes place on Saturday 5 March in Waterfall (near Kloof). For any further details, please visit www.kznmtb.co.za. For more information, contact Rebecca van der Linde info@kznmtb.co.za.