Kargo Pro MTB Team's Alan Hatherly currently leads the Pro-Elite Men's category by just 15 points, and hopes to retain the top spot at the third round of the Stihl 2016 SA XCO Cup Series, which takes place at Wolwespruit Bike Park in the City of Tshwane on Saturday 26 March. Photo: Chris Hitchcock.

The first two rounds of the series – which were held in Mpumalanga at Mankele MTB Park and in the Western Cape at Helderberg Farms – have shown the intent of the riders at the sharp end of the sport to deliver great performances across the age categories. Particular great interest has come from the Pro-Elite, Junior and Youth categories with massive entries in each, as well as the younger Nippers and Sprogs age categories, which bodes well for the development of the sport.

Now, with less than three months and five selection races to go for our Olympic contenders, the competition is peaking. Currently, on the SA National MTB Points Log and Rankings, Alan Hatherly (Kargo Pro MTB Team) with 340 points is leading the Pro-Elite Men by just 15 points over James Reid (Team Spur - 325) with Phil Buys (Scott Factory Racing powered by LCB) third (300); and Frankie du Toit (Kargo Pro MTB Team) leads the Pro-Elite Women’s Log with 305 points while Cherie Vale (Novus OMX Pro Team) sits in second place with 295.

Hatherly, who recovered well from a bad start at round two at the weekend, was happy with how his race ended up. “I didn't quite get the start I was hoping for,” he said. “This meant that I was chasing hard in the first couple of laps, trying to get back to the group. So I had to remain calm and be confident that I could make my way through the group. I progressively picked the pace up and caught everyone one by one and managed to reach the front group with Phil (Buys) and Simon (Andreassen). With one-and-a-half laps to go, I opened up to move myself into second place and I’m really happy with how it went.”

Hatherly has consistently finished in second place in both rounds, while Reid won at Mankele and finished fifth at Helderberg Farms. Buys’ consistent third place in both events sees him sitting 40 points behind the leader after two rounds.

The Pro-Elite Women’s Log saw two different international competitors take the top spot in Mankele, where Annie Last (GBR) of the Novus OMX Pro Team secured a victory with Du Toit second and Vale fifth, suffering from an illness in the lead up to the race. At Helderberg Farms, it was Esther Süss (SUI) of Wheeler who claimed maximum points with Vale back to her usual self to claim second place. Du Toit’s crash on the start line saw her fighting her way back to eventually finish in fourth place. Together with her second place in Mankele, Du Toit leads the Women’s Log with Vale second.

Online pre-entries for the third round of the Stihl 2016 SA XCO Cup Series at Wolwespruit Bike Park are open, and close on Tuesday 22 March 2016 at midnight. Click here to enter: Late entries will be accepted at registration, with a nominal charge of R50 in addition to the entry fee.

For event information, please visit, or contact Dellah Paul on 082 781 5656 for administration info.

The City of Tshwane invites you to participate in a fun new event on the mountain bike calendar, at the Wolwespruit MTB Park. An exciting weekend of racing, hosted by The City of Tshwane, will include the third round of the STIHL 2016 SA National Mountain Bike series, a UCI Category 1 MTB cross-country race that forms part of the Olympic qualification for our Elite Men and Women Riders. Then, on Sunday 27 March 2016, there is an open event for solo riders and teams of two or four. More information about this exciting new event will be revealed shortly.