Hill said the quality of all the events in the Series has been of a high standard, and has definitely set the bar for the rest of the country to follow in the same footsteps as the ROAG Series.

According to Hill, his favourite race in the Series this year was the Sunday Tribune Jeep Hill 2 Hill.

“Not because the conditions were great, but because I felt I did a good job amongst some of South Africa’s top racers. Mentally, I was prepared because of the SA Marathon Champs being so wet and cold two weeks before. This meant I had an upper-hand compared to most of the KZN riders and I made sure I used it well,” he said.

When asked how he felt being named as the overall men’s winner, Hill said it is always a great feeling when all your hard work pays off.

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“I’m positive it is my sponsors, TIB Insurance, who have helped me achieve so well this year,” adding that this year has been his most successful season to date.

Although the ROAG Series offers a platform for elite riders to join in on the competitiveness of the Series, one of its main objectives is to recognise young riders, and encourage them to pursue the sport of mountain biking. Hill said a Series like this is brilliant as you have to be consistent in your results.

“It’s very difficult for most athletes to go through a season without having one or two bad results. This type of set-up makes the younger riders realise it’s not all about winning one or two races, but being consistently placed at all the events and thinking more long-term. This, more importantly, makes riders plan better and look at the season as a whole and allows them to set goals to improve if they keep working hard. So keep working hard and well done to all the young riders who are doing so well in the Series,” he said, adding that the ROAG Series is doing a good job of getting more people to events, whilst creating a competitive environment. “This can only raise the profile of the sport, and ultimately get more people on bikes!”

When asked how he felt about being a role model to the younger riding generation, Hill said it is really special knowing you are a role model at some level.

“We all need role models as they help us set goals and strive to be better at whatever we do. It is important for any of the top riders to realise that they are always being watched and looked up to. So, in that light it’s very important to set a good example for the younger guys, and to make sure you don’t do anything, or act negatively in any way that might disappoint or be perpetuated by younger riders,” he said.

Hill said the ROAG Series has definitely raised his profile, saying he and TIB Insurance have had an overwhelming response from so many people.

“The association with the ROAG Series has been extremely beneficial. I’m going to see how next year pans out, but I have every intention to race the Series in 2013,” he said.

Hill began mountain biking six years ago as a means to explore the natural areas in South Africa.

“This aspect of mountain biking hasn’t changed for me, and I really enjoy visiting new places and getting to see things that people without bikes don’t necessary see. So for me, a bike is a tool to explore.”

The Series will culminate at the ROAG Series Celebration Dinner on December, 1 at Giba Gorge MTB Park, where overall leaders in the men’s and women’s category, Andrew Hill and Natalie Bergstrom, will each be presented with R20 000 apiece. All other category winners and runners-up will be rewarded, too.

For more information on the ROAG Series, please visit www.roag.co.za