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The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race was launched in 2016 in collaboration with Fairtree Capital, the Simonsberg Conservancy, local landowners and event organisers Dirtopia to showcase and expand the expansive singletrack trail network on the Simonsberg Mountain. A field of 400 riders traversed more than 30 single track sections covering over 40km in the 2018 race.

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Former ABSA Cape Epic winner, Czech and European marathon champion, Kristian Hynek clinched the 2018 champion’s trophy in 4:42:26, with multiple USA champion Jeremiah Bishop second in 4:42:37 and three-time World Marathon Champion, Alban Lakata third in 4:42:50. The King of the Mountains trophy went to Belgium rider Frans Claes who rode the 2km uphill in only 3 minutes and 27 seconds.

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Ariane Luthi impressed with her riding over the two-day event finishing first on both days and winning the 2km Queen of the Mountain uphill sprint in a fast 4 minutes and 21 seconds. Her overall time was 5:21:29 secured her the Fairtree Contour Simonsberg ladies’ champion trophy for the second year running.

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Defending ABSA Epic champions teammates Jennie Stenerhag and Esther Suss finished overall second and third in 5:28:30 and 5:30:04 respectively. Although Jennie stuck with Ariane at the outset of the race, Esther caught up about 44km into the race on the downhill and finished 10 meters ahead of her teammate today.

The 40km men’s race was won by Durbanville youngster, Juan Louw in 3:57:27 with Morne van Greunen second in 4:07:13 and Unathi Msophi third in 4:31:31. In the 40km ladies’ race, it was Nikki Biesheuvel first in 4:54:23, Karla Fletcher second in 4:58:11 and Robyn Tully third in 5:18:25.

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BMT Academy rider Luyanda Thobigunya finished overall sixth both days in 2:29 and 2:38 respectively and received the award for the most promising development rider.

According to Fairtree Capital, the company is proud to be associated with such a world-class event that saw top class international riders bracing the podium this weekend. Herman Sandrock of Fairtree Capital complimented route developer, Meurant Botha of Dirtopia for keeping the race challenging and tough over the past three years, while honouring landowners for their vision of opening up their farms for the route.

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Next weekend (10 and 11 February) The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Trail Run Stage Race will give trail runners the opportunity to race in a unique conservation area right at the start of the annual stage race season. Starting and finishing from the Dirtopia Trail Centre at Delvera, the event runs over two days. The entry fee includes timing, breakfast, lunch, water points and a medal.

A total purse of R10 000 will be up for grabs for the overall winners with equal prize money for the ladies and men. Only runners, who complete both days of the same distance, qualify for prizes and trophies. No prizes will be awarded to those who mix their distances or complete one day.

For trail run entries visit www.dirtopia.co.za or www.fairtreecontour.co.za and for mountain bike race results www.trailtag.co.za.