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Image credit: Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA

“I put in a big effort on the first day, digging deep within myself. So on Stage Two and Stage Three I just needed to ride conservatively,” said Kleinhans. “Stage Three was scenic, not technical, but still a little challenging. Frantisek Rabon helped me on the climb about 8km from the finished and was rewarded with a Stage Three win. The last two years I’ve always been in good shape at this event, but both times have been disappointed by mechanicals”.

“The competition has always been strong at Ride The Rock,” continues Kleinhans. “Originally when I entered I thought it would be between Nico Pfitzenmaier and me, but then Adriaan Louw entered, Frantisek Rabon, Andrew Hill, Konny Looser and even the XTERRA guys, Dan Hugo, Stuart Marais and Bradley Weiss. Having all these top riders here makes the win even more special, while starting the year with a win definitely boosts the confidence. ISUZU Ride The Rock is different to any other event. The terrain, rock formations and sunsets are spectacular. If my calendar allows it I’ll definitely be back next year”. Adriaan Louw (riding for Swift Fairview) claimed the second spot on the podium, while Dan Hugo finished third.

According to Booyens the 2014 ISUZU Ride The Rock was definitely tougher than previous years. “The route is rougher, more rugged with loose technical sections. It’s hard going. It’s different in the Cederberg, you feel more relaxed and go away keen to ride your bike. I think circumstances just played in my hands this year. This is one of my favourite events. I’d definitely like to be back next year,” says Booyens. Vera Adriaan claimed the second spot on the podium, while Flora Duffy finished third.