ccs-58780-0-62131900-1487688386.jpg The Batch A Podium at the first cup race of the 2017 KZNMTB Provincial XCO Series in Hilton on Saturday 18 February

The new batching format proved to be a challenge for some. Riders no longer raced against only their age group, but also raced against those with similar strength and riding ability - regardless of age. This format also however proved to be an exciting challenge for others, offering fresh new competition to those used to winning their respective age groups in the past.

The 6,6km lap race started and finished in Elizabeth Drive, directly across from the Hilton Christian Fellowship (HCF) Church, and then continued with single track sections through the forest. The tech zone was easily accessible from the road, which made for great spectator viewing.

The winner of the first batch of the day, Batch C (four laps), was Junior Angus McLeod. McLeod claimed the victory ahead of many Sub Veterans, Veterans, u23, Master and Grand Master riders in his batch to finish in a time of fourty-nine minutes and fourty-two seconds.

Batch B (seven laps) victor was marathon enthusiast Brennon Anderson (Elite), his name not often associated with cross-country racing. Anderson beat RMB Change a Life Academy rider, Mboneni Ncobo to the post, with 2015 SA National Elite Women’s Champion, Cheri Redecker crossing the line in third place.

Batch A (also seven laps) was won by Stuart Marais in a time of one hour, and 19:07 minutes – the fastest time recorded from both A and B Batches on the day. When asked about his ride, Marais said: “Jedsom Tooms (third place) went quite hard off the start and probably around 1,5km in I was able to get past him. From there it was clean heels until the end.”

ccs-58780-0-62834100-1487688385.jpg Brennan Anderson claimed the B Batch victory at the first cup race of the 2017 KZNMTB Provincial XCO Series in Hilton on Saturday 18 February.

Marais spoke highly of the new format. “In the last lap I only caught two riders. In the past we would be catching guys by lap three. It was definitely much more of a fair race – we didn’t have to wait to pass anyone. It evens out the playing field so much,” he added.

The first Youth rider across the line in Batch A, and with the quickest Youth rider time over both Batch A and B, was Travis Stedman from Kloof.

“This year was a lot harder, because of the new format where we were now racing the upper age groups,” said Stedman. “I went out pretty hard on it, got to the first corner in fourth place, blew myself on the first lap but tried my hardest to hold in for the rest,” he added.

Stedman (who is also the 2017 Provincial Time Trial and Road Race Champion in his age group) also chatted about the new format of the race, and said that he definitely preferred it to the old system. “In the National cross-country series we are getting blown off the back, but this is definitely showing us what it’s going to be like with the speed and how to push ourselves for the National Cups and Championship to come,” he concluded.

The prize giving ceremony was batch specific, so winners of each batch were awarded accordingly. Riders however will still be categorized in their respective age groups for the overall KZNMTB Provincial XCO Series Log.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS FOR THE PROVINCIAL KZNMTB XCO #1 (Saturday 18 February)

Batch A (7 laps)
1. Stuart Marais (Elite) 1:19:07
2. Henry Liebenberg (u23) 1:21:13
3. Jedson Tooms (Elite) 1:23:17
4. Carl Calverley (Seb Veteran) 1:23:17
5. Komborero Bere (u23) 1:24:36
6. Gareth Cook (Elite) 1:24:51
7. Sean Merredew (Sub Veteran) 1:24:52
8. Jason Davies (Sub Veteran) 1:25:37
9. Dean Wortmann (u23) 1:26:51
10. Ewan Cochran (Veteran) 1:27:35

Batch B (7 laps)
1. Brennan Anderson (Elite) 1:24:51
2. Mboneni Ncobo (Elite) 1:27:59
3. Cherie Redecker (Elite) 1:28:14
4. Jakobus van Heerden (Veteran) 1:29:04
5. Wesley Parker-Dennison (Elite) 1:29:54
6. Casper Badenhorst (Veteran) 1:31:07
7. Simon Poole (Master) 1:32:16
8. Ryan Naude (u23) 1:32:32
9. Tiffany Keep (Junior) 1:32:35
10. Tyrone Johns (Sub Veteran) 1:32:37

Batch C (4 laps)
1. Angus McLeod (Junior) 0:49:42
2. Sam Moore (Youth) 0:53:02
3. Jordan Bold (Sub Junior) 0:53:37
4. Thomas Cheatle (Junior) 0:54:46
5. Jonathan Watts (Sub Junior) 0:56:13
6. Kusaselihle Ngidi (Youth) 0:56:14
7. Grant Muller (Youth) 0:56:32
8. Daniel van der Watt (Sub Junior) 0:56:33
9. Chloe Bateson (Sub Junior) 0:56:59
10. Riana Niehaus (Sub Veteran) 0:57:23

Nipper Boys
1. Luca Zietsman 0:24:25
2. Anthony Clayton 0:25:41
3. Rory Treleaven 0:27:11

Nipper Girls
1. Hannah Elliot 0:26:58
2. Jodi mackinnon 0:29:46

Sprog Boys
1. Liam Thuinissen 0:32:11
2. Evan Moolman 0:33:07
3. Keagan Brand 0:33:30

Sprog Girls
1. Emily van Heerden 0:34:24
2. Riley Smith 0:36:55

Results per category can be found on the KZN MTB Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KZNMTB/