ccs-58780-0-00640900-1486546720.jpg KwaZulu-Natal downhiller Struan McMaster is seeking to continue his recent form on the downhill track at the upcoming 2017 KZNMTB Gravity Series opening round to be held at St. Ives in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Sunday 12 February. Photo credit: McMaster Photography.

The 19-year-old was the highest KZN finisher in the Elite Men category at the SA National Cup Series opening round held in Helderberg (Western Cape) two weeks ago. He finished fourth overall behind three of the local riders, which included National Champion Stefan Garlicki.

“The National went really well, considering,” said McMaster. “I came out of last year a little out of form so coming into this year, I trained harder. I really didn't know what to expect at Helderberg, but arrived there with an open mind. My brother and I worked on the lines the whole weekend and it all pieced itself together and came out so well on race day. We weren’t expecting a good result like that!” he said.

Struan’s brother, Cullen, finished sixth overall and first in the Junior Men category.

Anticipating this Sunday’s race in the Midlands, McMaster attested that the downhill course is relatively tricky. “It’s a less technical track compared to the other courses, which makes it a much faster track with closer finish times. It’s a track that you have to be very precise on as little mistakes can cost you a lot of time,” he said.

McMaster has been racing downhill for the past three years after being introduced to the extreme sport by friends who had attended the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at Cascades MTB Park in 2013. Coming from a motorbike background, they encouraged him to give it a try, and he hasn’t looked back.

“I brought a lot of my motorbike racing skills across,” he said. “Now I’m learning how to select the best and fastest racing lines and to better my cornering. I’m getting faster now and progressing as I go. I enjoy the harder, technical stuff, like the rock gardens – they challenge me a bit.”

McMaster is currently studying an online course in graphic design when he is not training or racing his bicycle.

To enter the Downhill and Enduro races, visit the ROAG online entry portal here: http://roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1932