Looking back at 2012 there are some outstanding results and so many categories. Max Knox (Specialized) won the South African marathon mountain bike title and also won the MTN ultra-marathon series overall. Kevin Evans (FedGroup-Itec) won a stage in the Absa Cape Epic as well as finishing second overall. He also won the Cape Pioneer Trek, Joburg2C and Sani2C.

So can Knox or Evans lay claim to being the best in the pro category?

This could be an interesting debate but it will never lead to any satisfactory conclusion because whoever is participating cannot be really objective.

It is not human nature to be objective.

Thanks to the Kia SA Rankings there is no need to speculate any more as to who is the best. The involvement of Kia in mountain biking is an easy marriage. Both mountain biking and the Kia brand are showing significant growth apart from the obvious lifestyle synergies.

David Sieff from Kia Motors South Africa at the Kia Ranking Media Launch

Photo credit: Zoon Cronje

According to Kia Motors South Africa marketing manager David Sieff: “We are committed to mountain biking and the growth of the sport. We currently also sponsor the FedGroup-Itec professional mountain bike team as well as four mountain bike events”

“We wanted to encourage further growth and competition that would benefit various categories and jumped at the opportunity to help develop what will be known as the Kia MTB ranking system” Sieff added.

Kia will not only be putting up cash prizes for category winners at the end of the season but also the use of two vehicles or the top male and female rider during the year after they are crowned the best MTB racer.

The Kia Rankings Site is built onto the well-established SASeeding engine that will allow any race in South Africa to become a part of the ranking system. Since the end of 2009 SASeeding have compiled over 500 race results into a seeding structure for seeding over 36 000 participants. “We have now linked to the same race results to generate the first accurate ranking system for mountain bike events in Southern Africa,” said Fritz Pienaar.

“The KIA SA Ranking MTB system is directly linked to the SAS Seeding engine.

“Using the results from all the participants, we compare the performance of each participant and create one list in the order of each person's results for that year.”

The KIA SA Ranking system compares favorably to the ranking system used by the ATP and WTA to rank the world’s top male and female tennis players.

What is exciting is the fact that the Kia rankings will be updated on a weekly basis. So there is no guarantee that Knox who won MTN Barberton ultra-race will still be leading on the KIA SA Rankings next week. If for example Matthys Beukes (Contego) gets a good result over the weekend he could claim the number one ranking.

The formula used for the rankings is mathematically so sound that it even takes into account thewinning margin between the first and second placed riders.

The bigger the time gap the more ranking points the winner will accumulate.

The male and female rider who finish the season as the number one ranked pro-elite rider on the KIA SA Ranking system will each receive a R40 000 cash prize.

But that is not all as both riders will also get to drive a KIA Rankings branded motor car for a year.

The KIA SA Rankings is not just about the pro-elites. It also makes provision for all the other various categories. This means that cycling buddies don’t need to argue anymore as to which of them is the better rider.

The next step for the system is to develop a mobile app so that everyone can check their ranking from their mobile phone.

Pienaar encourages all race-organizers to register their respective events for the KIA Rankings, so that the bragging can begin!

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