The first round the of CSA-MTB National Cup Series took place on the new and exciting course at Willowbridge in Durbanville (W Province), and produced several new and exciting results from riders, particularly in the younger age groups.

There was strong interest and participation in the age groups from Nipper [9-10] through to the Juniors [17-18]. In the Nippers, and riding in his first ever National, Travis Stedman won his race by 2 -minutes from Michel Potgieter, also a first-time rider at national level.

These riders obviously have great potential, and it will be interesting to follow their progress through the season. The Vosloo girls continue to impress, with sisters Saffron [sub Junior Girls] and Savannah [Junior Women] each leading their age categories in the series.

The Youth Men category, as always, is well supported and very competitive. With several riders having moved up to Junior now from 2011, there is scope for new talent to shine. Louw Kriel, a seasoned rider, came through tops at Willowbridge with Alan Hatherly less than 1 minute behind.

As Alan will concentrate only on XCO this year (in 2011, he also rode DHI), there is bound to be some exciting racing between him and Louw, with Matthew Lombardi and Sybrand Strauss snapping at their heels, as well.

The Junior Men group has also seen all the top 2011 Juniors moving up to U-23, and this has brought a whole bunch of talented riders to the fore. While Dylan Hattingh won the first round, there are at least 5 more strong contenders in the Junior Men. Kyle Dorkin and Patrick Belton have shown great from at recent events in KZN, including at the UCI World Cup, and will be challenging for podiums at Fountains in Pretoria.

With Yolande Speedy ruled out by injury, we can expect Samantha Sanders to be up front in the Elite Women’s race; not far off her pace, are newcomers to the national circuit, Nadene Cahill and Julia Colvin. The U-23 Women’s group is led by Candice Neethling, a former bronze medallist at World Champs when she was still a Junior.

With Burry Stander likely to be putting his focus back onto the World Cups, the men’s Elite group will have to up their game a bit to contain Philip Buys, who has improved significantly over the last year, and has been riding consistently well and at high pace.

In the U-23 Men, after having mechanicals and falls recently, Rourke Croeser is due for some better luck to reward his potential and form. He has the ability to be right up amongst the top Elites. But James Reid produced an excellent performance at the recent UCI World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, and we can expect him to be mixing it with the leaders at Fountains

In the Downhill competition, we can expect locally-based riders like Johann Potgieter to dominate, but a rider like Stefan Garlicki, while relatively new to the national circuit, has loads of talent and certainly has the ability to claim a podium finish at Pretoria. Like Burry, our 2 top downhillers, Greg Minnaar and Andrew Neethling will already be focussing on the World Cup circuit and are unlikely to be racing in Pretoria.

Tiaan Odendaal was our top Junior at the Pietermaritzburg World Cup, and is likely to retain his top spot in the national series.

All-in-all, there is certainly some interesting racing awaits us on the 14th April at Fountains, and at the Downhill on 15th April on the new track at Waterkloof!

To enter online, please visit http://csams.cyclingsa.com/enter-an-event.aspx, and for any further info, please contact Fritz Pienaar on 083 275 2123.