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Nolan Hoffman (Team Abantu) is expected to shine in the 30 lap, 10km Scratch race at the Cyril Geoghegan track this weekend.
Friday night sees the second of three inter provincial meetings at the Cyril Geoghegan Cycling track with Elite teams from KwaZulu-Natal, Western Province, Free State, Winelands and Central Gauteng competing for the coveted Presidents Cup. Another innovation is the inclusion of Masters and Ladies categories.

The second of the track events takes place on Sunday morning. The Durban Track Grand Prix, supported by the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation will once again cater for all ages with the youngest being 8 years old, and the very capable Wendell Bole (64) being the oldest.

The cream of this country’s track cycling will be on display in the Elite category with no fewer than 30 riders hoping for selection as part of the South African Team to compete in the African Continental Champs to take place in Pietermaritzburg from 21 to 25 January. The Grand Prix takes on an international flair, with young visiting American rider, Jacob Henley, being groomed for American road team racing having entered as well.

The Elite racing starts off with the sprint qualifiers and 2 of the podium positions are expected from the very capable Cape Town duo of Jean Smith and Mathew De Freitas.

Team Abantu speedster, Nolan Hoffman, arguably one of South Africa’s most polished cyclists, intends cleaning up this weekend. In the recent Amsterdam 6 Days Of Racing, Hoffman and his team mate ended up 8th overall and won 3 events during the six-nights. Hoffman has stated that this years “treble” is in his sights, by setting his eyes on the final major road race of the year, the 94.7. He was victorious in both this year’s Argus, and Amashova road races, a feat very rarely seen.

Having a strong team around him makes it all that more difficult to beat him. Known more as an endurance track rider, his pure speed should be tested against the likes of Smith and De Freitas should he enter the invitational Keirin, an exciting event in which riders qualify for a final and up to 8 riders are led out by a motorbike for 6 laps. With approximately 500m to go the motorbike pulls off leaving the speed merchants to fight for the glory.

Hoffman is expected to shine, in the 30 lap (10 km) Scratch race, with the likes of hard man Dawid Maree at his side. A shortened distance for him to make any real break away impact on the field, he and his team mates can expect stiff opposition from the likes of Yorkshire Team riders, Boyd Roberts and Theuns van der Bank, , and another Cape town rider, Evan Carstens. The SA Omnium champ has an uncanny knack of reading the races and knowing who to follow when the moves go.

This skill will stand him in good stead for the next event on the Elite programme, the 15 km Points race, as well, where riders sprint for 5, 3, 2 and 1 point every pre stipulated number of laps, and with the size and quality of the field, he will be cautious not to make the same errors that robbed him of the national title in April.

The organisers have applied for the 120 year old, prestigious Durban Club trophy to be released from the Durban Club, and will hopefully, as tradition has it, be presented to the winner of the Scratch race.

The 1500m race is the penultimate event of the afternoon and once again all eyes will be on Hoffman, however he will definitely have stiff competition from the likes of the sprinters like Smith, and Carstens should the real racing be left to the final lap.

The Ladies category is once again expected to be a one sided affair with multiple national champion, Maroesjka Matthee from City Cycling Club in Cape Town expected to dominate the spread of ladies across the age band. One of the oldest hoping for glory, in this category is her team mate, Myrtle Hagedorn, double bronze medal winner at last month’s Master’s World Championships, in Manchester.

The organisers are also very encouraged by the number of Masters Men’s Category riders, and are able to split the field into 2 age groups. The Junior riders have also been catered for, with a very promising field of quality u19’s hoping to impress for the Continental Championships selection as well.

The weekends track racing will be split on Saturday with the Engen Cycle in the City Criterium. Race action hits the Promenade of Durban Beachfront, North of Sun Coast at 12h10. Besides the Elite category where the top professional riders are expected to ply their trade at 16h10, another eight prior events are to be held. The first, being for the U19 licenced riders.

Once again Hoffman’s skill will be on display, but there is no way the likes of Professional outfit, Bonitas will allow him to have it all his own way. Ace sprinter, Hermann Fouché, who takes on Hoffman in the track Grand Prix as well, is expected to provide the crowds with a spectacular finish.

The curtain raiser to the Elite event, is undoubtedly the Fixed wheel race, where some of the track riders are expected to compete over the circuit for their 20 minute and 1 lap event. These riders will race without brakes on this circuit.
The track racing on Friday night commences at 18.00, and 09.30 on Sunday.