Johann "Pottie" Potgieter was over the moon with his win at the first round of the 2017 SA Downhill National Cup Series in Helderberg on Sunday 29 January. Photo: Theo Bruwer

“It was an unbelievable day for me yesterday,” said Potgieter. “We had had the Western province race the weekend before and obviously Stefan Garlicki was on form again, so I knew that I would have to put in 110% to beat him,” he added.

He mentioned how close the friendship is between him and Garlicki, but also said that the rivalry on the track is strong. “We keep each other on our toes,” he said.

Potgieter paced himself well, and preserved as much energy as he could ahead of the final race. “I gave it 90% in the seeding run and just tried to get the technical bits pinned and not to break myself on the pedalling sections,” he said.

After placing second in the seeding run behind Theo Erlangsen, Potgieter knew that he had to put in just a little bit extra to win at the end. He said: “I managed to nail the technical bits, I had a moment here and there, but luckily I stuck it and where I had to pedal I just gave it my everything. As I crossed the line there was no more breath left and I thought to myself that if it wasn’t enough, then well done to the other guys – they rode really well.”

In the Junior Men's category, Cullen McMaster impressed with nine minutes on the second placed rider in his category in Helderberg on Sunday 29 January. Photo: Theo Bruwer

After hearing he had finished with the fastest time, Potgieter said that he could not have been more “stoked”, especially after two years of injuries. “The last time I won a national was in about 2012 or around there if my memory serves me correctly. It was an awesome feeling to know that I could still do it.

“Now that I’m back, I’ve got my bike set-up dialled and all of that as well. I felt really good on the bike yesterday as well. But as you know, guys like Stefan – he’s a really quick nowadays and he puts in the hard work and is really hard to beat, so I am incredibly stoked.” He said.

In the overall Women’s category, Rika Olivier impressed all as she powered to victory with 13 seconds over Sabine Thies, and Simon Futter two seconds behind to grab the third spot on the podium.

In the Junior Men’s race, Cullen McMaster had just under nine seconds over Nicolaas Van Pletzen, who had 400 split seconds on third placed Francios du Toit.

ccs-58780-0-89290700-1485942426.jpg Sabine "Beani" Thies claimed second place in the Women's Overall category at the first round of the 2017 SA Downhill National Cup Series in Helderberg on Sunday 29 January. Photo: Theo Bruwer

To see the full set of results, click here: