Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'Howick MTB Classic'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • General
    • The Bike Room
    • Sponsored
  • New to Cycling
    • Ask Anything
    • What Bike to Buy
  • Gear & Bikes
    • Technical Q&A
    • New Gear
    • Buyer’s Advice
    • Post Your Bike & Projects
    • Bike Shops & Services
    • Retro / Vintage Bikes
  • Events & Training
    • Events
    • Pro Cycling
    • Training, Health & Nutrition
  • Riding
    • Group Rides
    • Routes & Trails
    • Share Your Ride & Travels
  • Discipline-Specific
    • Gravity
    • Fixie & Singlespeed
    • Commuter
    • Multisport
  • Safety & Awareness
    • Stolen Bikes
    • Cycling Safety
    • Fraud Alert
    • Lost & Found
    • Good Causes
  • Help Desk
    • Site Announcements
    • Help & Support
  • Off Topic
    • Chit chat

Categories

  • Adventure and Travel
  • Tips and Advice
  • Event and Industry News
  • Tech
  • Promotions
    • Custom Content Partnership

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Website URL


Location


Full Name

  1. White revelled in the technical riding of KZN’s oldest mountain bike event on the calendar and ended up finishing close to two minutes ahead of young Dean Wortmann with defending champion Jedson Tooms claiming third, while Sthembiso Masango and Sipho Khupiso rounded out the top five. Tyronne White leads at the Sappi Howick MTB Classic 40km on Sunday, 4 March. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media In the women’s race, Bianca Haw cruised to a convincing win by almost twenty minutes over Chloe Bateson, who in turn just edged out Nadine Nunes for the runner-up spot. However, the men’s event was a day of drama and frustration for Marais. Marais, who is currently the second ranked mountain biker in the country, faced problems before the racing even started when he and Andrew Jonson locked handlebars while still in the neutral zone on the way out of Howick. Both riders fell and Johnson was forced to withdraw with an injured arm and wrist. Marais picked himself up and raced into the lead once the riders hit the trails and were allowed to race, and it seemed as if his troubles were behind him as he built an advantage of about a minute over Wortmann. White rode a well-judged race and moved past Wortmann and into second position over the latter half of the route. He was chasing Marais when the leader went over a small branch and it kicked up into his spokes with about 12km to go. The stick caused a puncture, but more seriously also broke the carbon-fibre rear swingarm of Marais’ frame. A group of racers navigate a rock garden during the Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday, 4 March. "It was such a technical course! It was a proper mountain biking and in places you could not have any lapse in concentration or you would go down," said race winner Tyronne White. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Marais borrowed compressed air “bombs” from White to reinflate his tyre and was able to finish, but with a severely compromised frame he was out of contention and limped home in sixth overall. It would be a disservice to White to claim he was simply the beneficiary of Marais’ bad luck. The talented Ballito rider was in his element on this route. The short steep climbs and technical sections suited his skills perfectly and he was a worthy winner. “Stuart (Marais) and Andrew (Johnson) fell before the end of the tar which allowed Dean (Wortmann) and I get a lead on the first climb,” said White after the finish. “But Stuart is very strong and riding so well at the moment that he managed to catch us and ride away. “I loved the route - it was such a technical course, it was a proper mountain biking and in places you could not have any lapse in concentration or you would go down. “Unfortunately with about 12km to go Stuart had a flat and I was able to get in front and hold on to win.” In contrast, Haw was able to dawdle to an easy victory, but she was forced to push a little harder than expected when she discovered her boyfriend, Andrew Houston, just behind her. Bianca Haw was a comfortable winner of the women's title at the Sappi Howick MTB Classic 40km on Sunday, 4 March, working hard to stay ahead of her boyfriend Andrew Houston. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “I did not know how I would be feeling today so I rocked up in baggies (loose riding shorts), so if I was not feeling good I could just go slowly,” said Haw (Red Bull) after sprinting across the finish line half a bike length ahead of her boyfriend. “Housie (Andrew Houston) had just done Non-Stop Dusi on Friday and he told me his legs were tired so he would be going slow, but I looked behind me and he was on my wheel … so the race was on.” On Saturday, in blistering conditions, the enduro riders had their fun in the sun and a surprise participant was three time Downhill World Champion Greg Minnaar who, not surprisingly, was far too quick for the opposition and cruised to a convincing win. Minnaar was never really challenged over the six timed sections and as he prepares for the start of the 2018 downhill season, the man who has won more World Cup events than any other rider was able to grab a 38-second victory over Sam Bull with Sharjah Jonsson just less than a minute further back. In the women’s event young Sabine Thies won the first leg by 14 seconds and was never behind after that, despite giving back some of that advantage to Steffanie Grossmann in the second leg. Thereafter, Thies produced the top time in each leg to claim a solid 46-second win over Grossmann, while Kath Fouries’s consistent riding gave her third. In a tight and closely contested 20km men’s trail run, Perfect Dlamini and Kwenza Ngubane fought for superiority before Dlamini managed to eke out a narrow nine-second win at the finish line with Muzi Madikwa third, less than 20 seconds further back. In the women’s trail run Isla Shill was able to enjoy her two-minute win over Lisa Daniel with Kim Westbrook third. Results MTB Marathon 40km Men 1 Tyronne White 1:58:29 2 Dean Wortmann 2:00:11 3 Jedson Tooms 2:00:45 4 Sthembiso Masango 2:03:38 5 Sipho Khupiso 2:03:45 Women 1 Bianca Haw 2:12:30 2 Chloe Bateson 2:31:26 3 Nadine Nunes 2:31:58 20km Men 1 Nicholas Burczak 1:10:30 2 Rupert Taljaard 1:15:08 3 Thami Kunene 1:15:42 4 James Lycett 1:15:51 5 Brett Jarview 1:18:45Women 1 Elaine Byrne 1:48:15 2 Megan Horsley 1:49:27 3 Jane Collier 2:06:57 MTB Enduro Men 1 Greg Minnaar 17:19 2 Sam Bull 17:58 3 Sharjah Jonsson 18:53 Women 1 Sabine Thies 23:06 2 Steffanie Grossmann 23:52 3 Kath Fourie 24:09 Trail Run 20km Men 1 Perfect Dlamini 1:22:26 2 Kwenza Ngubane 1:22:35 3 Muzi Madikwa 1:22:54 Women 1 Isla Shill 1:48:30 2 Lisa Daniel 1:50:17 3 Kim Westbrook 1:53:56 10km Men 1 Mathanga Mbaloli 41:42 2 Khambule Thuliang 42:25 3 Mdu Zondi 46:58 Women 1 Ndumiso Mbambo 50:39 2 Jordan Peek 55:58 3 Carmen Cardwell 57:14 5km Men 1 Zungu Msawonosi 21:00 2 Bernard Ndlovu 21:11 3 Sphesi Zungu 22:08 Women 1 Sphumelele Gumede 25:00 2 Lusanda Gumede 26:20 3 Rachel Woodburn 26:25 More information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za or www.facebook.com/howickmtb.
  2. Local MTB star Jedson Tooms used his local knowledge and technical skills to win the Sappi Howick MTB Classic title for a second time while XCO star Bianca Haw raced away to take the women’s marathon title to add to the enduro title she won on Saturday. Click here to view the article
  3. Racing on a new course between the Curry’s Post Road and the N3 freeway, Tooms (ROAG/Quattro) paced his race well and took advantage of spills around him to take the lead and cross the line at Howick High School unchallenged. Jedson Tooms combined technical skills and local experience to win the 2017 Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday 5 March. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “There was a big pack together early on,” said Tooms. “I had to play catch-up after dropping a chain twice. “A couple of the other guys crashed in front of me on a slippery uphill section. “The single track here was absolutely amazing!” added the Howick local. “The technical sections really force you to raise your technical skills. “This course was forced on the race organisers but they made it spectacular,” he added. The win was a second in his local major for Tooms after he edged out Travis Walker in a sprint finish a few years ago. Tooms was quick to acknowledge the absence of several local pacesetters like Andrew Hill and another Howick local Stuart Marais, but was thrilled to claim the top step of the podium in his own backyard. RMB Change A Life rider Sthembiso Masango was elated to grab second place, ahead of former Sharks centre Jeremy Thompson. Sthembiso Masango was delighted to claim second place at the 2017 Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday 5 March. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “Man, they did an amazing job on those trials,” enthused Thompson, whose fun on the trails was interrupted by a high speed collision with a tree. “There was lots and lots of single track, with some really cool technical sections. That’s the way we love it,” Thompson added. Bianca “Yankee” Haw showed signs of her return to top form, as she ground away from the other women’s race contenders to take the women’s marathon title to go with her win in the enduro the day before. Bianca Haw was peerless in the women's race at the 2017 Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday 5 March. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “Our race started really fast,” said Haw (Red Bull). “The first climb was hard. I was riding with Tiffany Keep at that stage and she was really strong. “I managed to get away on one of the climbs and then just worked at keeping the gap,” she added. Haw had a few anxious moments as her lead shrank after several crashes in the slippery sections, muddy after overnight rains, and on tricky sections on loose pine needles. “The technical section through the rocks were really great. I need to up my technical skills! Today made me feel quite rusty,” said Haw. Haw is about to leave for a few months XCO racing in the European spring, in Italy, France and Germany. Keep duly wrapped up second place, while another regular to podium at this race Christie Leigh-Hearder secured the last spot on the women’s podium. The Howick MTB Club did an excellent job in organising all the aspects of the 2017 Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday 5 March. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The 20km race was won by Bradley Scott from Anthony Horter. Howick MTB club trail builder Sbu Vilikazi duly completed his first MTB race, finishing an impressive 12th overall, on the bike donated and built for him by local riders, and conceded that he needed to do more training. “It was good fun but I need to train more. Basically my training was done on one day – on Friday!” said the enthusiastic local hero. On Saturday the Sappi Howick Classic Enduro drew rave reviews as the big field took on the new and largely unknown course on the left hand side of the Curry’s Post Road that consisted of four timed stages and a fifth untimed descent. Downhill pacesetter Tiaan Odendaal took the men’s title from Keira Duncan and Sam Bull, thriving on the fast technical timed sections. “I had an absolute blast today,” said Odendaal. “I am very happy to take the win. I really enjoyed the fast flowing trails and felt really good on them. “It was an excellent event, and I am already excited for the next one,” he added. The men's podium at the 2017 Sappi Howick MTB Classic Enduro on Saturday 4 March, from left Keira Duncan, Tiaan Odendaal and Sam Bull. Gavin Ryan/ QuickPics The women's podium at the 2017 Sappi Howick MTB Classic Enduro on Saturday 4 March, from left Kathryn Fourie, Bianca Haw and Charné Dreyer. Gavin Ryan/ QuickPics The women’s title race provided a thrilling showdown between Haw and rising star Beanie Thies.The pair was almost inseparable as they pushed each other on the fast technical timed sections, until Thies’ chance of pulling off a major upset win ended with a technical mishap, when her timing chip failed to register on the timing system on one of the timed stages. Runner-up Kathryn Fourie said the event was well supported by riders across all the age categories, all of whom praised the new trails prepared for the event. “The stages were unique, fast paced and all had different types of challenges. The cherry on the top was Stage Five, which was untimed and just done for fun. “It was absolutely insane! It’s a fully European style of trail and is seriously steep and gave people an opportunity to try out proper Enduro style trail, with no racing pressure. “This is the kind of trail that will lift the standard of riding for everyone. The Howick MTB Club have promised to put in more trails of this style, in anticipation of another event later in the year. We can’t wait!” said Fourie. SUMMARY OF RESULTS Sappi Howick Classic 40km 1.Jedson Tooms 2:00:03 2.Sthembiso Masango 2:00:49 3.Jeremy Thompson 2:01:21 4.Dean Wortmann 2:03:58 5.Bongmusa Zikhali 2:04:36 6.Grant Underwood 2:06:16 7.Cian Leveridge 2:08:56 8.Andrew Kenward 2:09:30 9.Bianca Haw 2:10:11 (1st woman) 10.Warren Price 2;10:24 Women 1. Bianca Haw 2:10:11 2.Tiffany Keep 2:13:21 (1st Jnr) 3.Christie-Leigh Header 2:17:20 Sappi Howick Classic 20km 1.Bradley Scott 1:09:50 2.Anthony Horter 1:10:21 3.Craig Pike 1:11:32 4.Omar Wilson 1:13;17 5.Judy Gous 1:16:45 (1st woman) 6.Lungisani Xaba 1:17:18 7.Riley Smith 1;17:31 8.Ian Smith 1:17:47 9.Reuben Price 1:18:14 10.Matthew Strydom 1:18:50 Sappi Howick Classic Enduro Men 1.Tiaan Odendaal 2.Keira Duncan 3.Sam Bull Women 1.Bianca Haw 2.Kathryn Fourie 3.Charné Dreyer More information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za or www.facebook.com/howickmtb.
  4. KwaZulu-Natal's oldest mountain bike event, the Sappi Howick MTB Classic is set to rock the small KZN Midlands town of Howick this weekend as elite riders and weekend warriors plan their assault on the array of events on Saturday and Sunday, 4-5 March. Click here to view the article
  5. The two-day event comprises of a number of different events catering to varying riding abilities with Saturday playing host to the budding discipline of MTB Enduro whilst Sunday hosts the more traditional 40km Marathon, 20km Half Marathon and the hit 10km Fun Ride. Young Jedson Toomes will be on the start line looking to better his fourth place overall in 2016 at the 2017 Sappi Howick MTB Classic happening this weekend from 4-5 March. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The ever-growing Enduro discipline will take place on the Saturday along a new, revamped course between the Curry’s Post Road and the N3 freeway due to the harvesting of plantations, however riders will be pleased to know that organisers have unearthed trails that were covered in tree-fall debris. Last year was the first year that the Sappi Howick MTB Classic hosted the Enduro and the event was well received by all that took part and course designer Gavin Ryan hopes that 2017 will be no different as the discipline continues to evolve and attract new riders. The business end of the weekend’s action comes on Sunday with the 20km ride as well as the exciting 40km Marathon which has a history of attracting some of the province’s top riders on the day. The 2016 edition of the race was won by 2016 Olympian Alan Hatherly; however since he relocated to the Western Cape recently he has been lost to the local KZN racing circuit. The 31st edition of the Howick MTB Classic will provide riders of varying abilities a chance to test themselves on some of the oldest mountain bike track in the province. The track is also a playground for many riders on a weekly basis proving its worth amongst the best in the region. The Sappi Plantations provide the perfect backdrop for some exciting riding at the 2017 Sappi Howick MTB Classic happening this weekend from 4-5 March. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media As is the case with the Enduro course, the 20km route has also received a large revamp with the emphasis on up-skilling riders as they hopefully graduate to the more physically and technically demanding 40km Marathon. The 20km ride will incorporate a couple brand new sections of riding including a section overlooking Midmar Dam, providing riders will all they need from a Sunday morning’s racing. The flagship 40km Marathon is set to produce another exciting race with the elite entries trickling in slowly with 2016’s fourth place finisher Jedson Toomes currently touted as a potential winner of the men’s crown. In an eleventh hour entry, Bianca Haw has popped her name into the hat for the Howick MTB Classic. The young Red Bull rider has been working hard in the past few months as she hoped to return to her best form with a big season ahead of her. One girl who will provide Haw with a tough tussle is youngster Tiffany Keep. Keep, who is an athlete on the successful Elite Athlete Development Programme based out of the Prime Human Performance Institute, has been in fine form both on the mountain bike and the road bike over a number of months. It will be a tough tussle between the two and the men’s race will in all likelihood take shape on the morning of Sunday’s race. More information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za or www.facebook.com/howickmtb.
  6. Hatherly (Kargo Pro Cycling) won a three way sprint to the line from Stuart Marais and Tyronne White to retain the title he won last year. Alan Hatherly led for most of the race to defend his title at the Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Hatherly said that competing in the KZN XCO champs the day before had taken its toll on him. "It was pretty tough in the beginning," said Hatherly. "I definitely felt it in the legs so I decided to ride with the group for most of the day." "Stuart (Marais) had a very good race," said Hatherly. "It was only in the last five kays or so that I was warmed up. It came down to the end sprint and luckily I managed to get home ahead of him. "I could definitely see it was Stuart's home ground! He was fast on the descents," said Hatherly. "It was a lot of fun on the super single track in this part of the country." He added that the conditions and updated layout had made for a faster race. "I found it a lot faster than last year. The single track was a lot more Cross Country in style. That's what we need to get used to our tyres and our bikes." Frankie du Toit made it a double for the Kargo Pro team as she raced away to post an emphatic four minute win in the women's race over schoolgirl Chriestie-Leigh Hearder, with Andrea de Boer wrapping up the last spot on the podium. Andrea de Boer enjoying her race onto the women's podium at the Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media "We had a bit of a neutral zone in the beginning so I stuck with the group," said du Toit. "The race started on the climb and that's where I went as hard as I could.""I managed to get into the single track with quite a fast group of guys and I stuck with them. I didn't see any ladies the whole race!" She lauded the move of the race date to earlier in the year. "The conditions are far more pleasant to ride in. I remember it being freezing on the start line last year!" In the 20km Intermediate race, Clinton Bullard charged home ahead of Dreyer Botma and Sam Moore while Elisabeth Raymakers edged out Judy Gous and Tarryn Bray for the women's spoils. While the more experienced participants soaked up the technically challenging nature of the 'raw and unplugged' 40km and 20km routes, families, novices and the stars of tomorrow enjoyed their morning in the saddle during the 10km Kids race. The 2016 Sappi Howick MTB Enduro took place on Saturday the 5th of March in perfect weather conditions with an excellent turn out. 102 Enduro racers took to the hills to experience three lengthy stages, designed to suit riders of all levels and accessible on all types of mountain bikes. In the ladies overall division it was young sub-junior Charné Dreyer who took top honours over sub-vet Kathryn Fourie in second and senior Kim Westbrook in third. Dreyer, a Howick local, has recently started posing a serious threat to the senior women, having come third overall at the last Greg Minnaar Cycles KZN MTB Provincial Enduro at St Ives. “I’m so pleased for Charné," said Westbrook. "She’s really been putting in the time and training hard so it’s great to see that paying off”. Tyronne White raced onto the overall men's podium at the Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Unfortunately, the event date clashed with the second KZN MTB Provincial XCO, meaning riders such as sub-junior Sabine Thies and junior Sharjah Jonnson were absent from the days racing. In the men’s overall division, Downhill senior rider Tiaan Odendaal took first place over senior Craig Paul and Downhill World Cup racer Sam Bull. Despite a more pedal orientated Enduro race, it seems the Downhillers can still hold their own against the cross-country riders when they need to. A group of riders during the Sappi Howick MTB Enduro take time out to pose for photos at the Sappi phot frame. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Nigel Hicks, KZN MTB Downhill commissaire, also rode the event with a group of friends. “I thoroughly enjoyed the day out with my mates, it was hard work in the pedal sections but the trails are running well and the whole vibe of the event was relaxed and fun. We enjoyed messing about at the Sappi frame and taking some pics, it was fun all round”. Adding to the festivities, title sponsor Sappi's social media competition saw those a little further back in the field take time out during their ride to snap a photo of themselves when they passed the Sappi photo frame at the Shafton Fire Tower and post it on the HMBC Facebook page using #HMBC and #InspiredByLife to stand a chance of winning one of several prizes, including an Apple iPod. Living up to its reputation the Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro tested the riders with technically demanding sections of single track. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media More information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za or www.facebook.com/howickmtb. SUMMARY OF RESULTS 2016 SAPPI HOWICK MTB CLASSIC & ENDURO SAPPI HOWICK MTB CLASSIC 40km Classic Overall 1. Alan Hatherley 1:46:48 2. Stuart Marais 1:46:49 3. Tyronne White 1:46:55 4. Jedson Tooms 1:51:12 5. Sean Merredew 1:51:16 6. Marco Joubert 1:53:13 7. Andrew Warr 1:53:52 8. Carl Calverley 1:56:27 9. Mazwi Smimango 1:57:54 10. Callan Deacon 1:58:03 Women 1. Frankie du Toit 2:09:06 2. Chriestie-Leigh Header 2:13:07 3. Andrea de Boer 2:19:26 4. Nadine Nunes 2:28:48 5. Sarah Drew 2:31:14 20km Intermediate Men 1.Clinton Bullard 1:05:35 2.Dreyer Botma 1:05:53 3.Sam Moore 1:05:59 Women 1.Sarah Ryan 1:06:00 2. Elisabeth Raymakers 1:06:53 3.Judy Gous 1:14:53 SAPPI HOWICK ENDURO Overall 1.Tiaan Odendaal 24:17 2.Craig Paul 24:34 3.Sam Bull 24:34 Women 1.Charné Dreyer 30:12 2.Kathryn Fourie 31:09 3.Kim Westbrook 32:50
  7. KwaZulu-Natal's mountain biking fraternity celebrated the Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro's 30th anniversary in style on Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 6 March as Alan Hatherley and Frankie du Toit claimed the 40km Classic titles while Tiaan Odendaal and schoolgirl Charné Dreyer won the first ever staging of the event's Enduro race. Click here to view the article
  8. The Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend when the all new Enduro event takes place on Saturday, 5 March followed by the ever-popular ‘raw and unplugged’ Classic on Sunday, 6 March. Click here to view the article
  9. Kargo Pro Cycling's Alan Hatherly hopes to be back to defend his Sappi Howick MTB Classic title on Sunday, 6 March. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. Moved to earlier in the year to avoid the winter cold of the KZN Midlands and with the added Enduro event, organisers are looking forward to a stellar weekend’s festivities to mark the province’s oldest mountain biking event’s second decade of support from the MTB fraternity. 2015 men’s winner Alan Hatherly and his Kargo Pro Cycling team mate Marco Joubert are hopeful they will be on the start line on Sunday and to be a part of the occasion, provided all goes well for them at the KZN XCO event the day before. Callan Deacon rode to second place in 2015 and will hope to again be at the sharp end of the field of the 2016 Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday, 6 March. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Last year’s runner-up Callan Deacon of Callan’s Bike tech in Hilton knows the region’s spectacular trail network well and will again hope his local knowledge will see him produce another strong performance. ROAG Racing’s Jedson Tooms will be another keen to tackle the tough, technical 40km route that offers some of the best sights and scenery of the region while providing participants with a challenging yet rewarding morning in the saddle. ROAG Racing's Jedson Tooms and the rest of the 2016 Sappi Howick MTB Classic participants are in for a mountain biking treat comes Sunday, 6 March's 40km event. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Hatherly and Joubert’s Kargo team mates, Frankie du Toit and Hayley Smith have confirmed they too will be in action in Howick this weekend and the pair, bringing with them some strong form, are set to start Sunday’s 40km contest as favourites for the women’s title. Sunday’s action will also see hundreds take on the popular yet still challenging 20km Intermediate route while the 10km Kids Ride will see families by the dozen enjoy their dose of off-road cycling adventure. Kargo Pro Cycling's Frankie du Toit (front) and Hayley Smith (background) will start the 2016 Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday, 6 March as favourites. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Preceding that, Saturday’s Enduro has the local MTB community bubbling with excitement as the three-stage event that starts and finishes at the Karkloof Farmers’ Market takes riders through the heart of the region’s popular trail system. With the likes of Hilton Frost and Kim Westbrook set to lead the men’s and women’s Enduro charger respectively, organisers are also looking forward to welcoming parents and children, novice Enduro participants and parent/child combinations to the event as well. Mark Millar and the rest of the Sappi Howick MTB Enduro entrants will be eager to be a part of the event's first ever staging on Saturday, 5 March in celebration of the Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro's 20th anniversary celebrations. Paul Botma/ Gameplan Media Participants are also reminded of title sponsor Sappi’s social media competition during the event. While the racing snakes battle it out at the front of the field on both Saturday and Sunday, less serious riders are encouraged to snap a photo of themselves when they pass the Sappi photo frame. Built at the Shafton Fire Tower, the frame is a fun way to take a break from pedalling and create a few digital memories and, by posting the images on the HMBC Facebook page using #HMBC and #InspiredByLife, riders then stand a chance to win one of several prizes including an Apple iPod. The Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro takes place on Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 6 March 2016. More information can be found at http://www.howickmountainbiking.co.za or www.facebook.com/howickmtb.
  10. The 2016 Sappi Howick MTB Classic takes place on Sunday, 6 March and the women’s field is looking increasingly competitive as the entry list fills up ahead of the race’s 30th anniversary celebrations. Click here to view the article
  11. The route for the 40km tussle suggests it will be a technical and challenging day in the saddle, giving those with strong rock riding skills and legs that won’t give up an added advantage. Kargo Pro Cycling's Frankie du Toit (front) and Hayley Smith (background) are looking forward to taking on the trails of the Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday, 6 March. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Joining their Kargo Pro Cycling male teammates, Hayley Smith and Frankie Du Toit have confirmed their participation with the pair likely to be strong forces to be reckoned with. Both Du Toit and Smith have graced podium steps regularly the province over and with the former having already impressed in her first year competing as an Elite. “I'm excited to race at the Sappi Howick MTB Classic this weekend as the route is always fun and technical!” explained Du Toit. “I'm in quite a heavy week of training and am racing the KZN provincial this Saturday, so the Sappi Howick MTB Classic will be a challenging way to end this week off but I'm super excited to do my first Classic of the year!” she added. Du Toit and Smith have just returned from a challenging weekend at the second leg of the STIHL SA XCO Cup Series in Cape Town where they placed fourth and fifth respectively in the Pro-Elite Women’s category. “Unfortunately Frankie had a crash right in the beginning of her race, which left her fighting for fourth place,” explained Du Toit’s Kargo Pro Cycling team manager, Shaun Peschl. “It’s all learning in the first year of racing as an Elite though!” While it is unconfirmed if 2015 women’s winner Cindy Theunissen will be competing this weekend or not, a number of other strong local riders will be tackling the 40km and 20km races. “The Howick trail network creates strong riders of all ages and genders because of the type of terrain that comprise the trails and because of the community of riders that support each other,” explained Howick Mountain Bike Club rider Jackie Shaw. “The ladies are pushed to keep up with the men which means that our local female riders are not shy of rock gardens or fast descents”!” While it remains unclear if women's Sappi Howick MTB Classic defending champ Cindy Theunissen will be part of the 2016 race on Sunday, 6 March, a wealth of KZN's other female MTB talent will be on the start line for the clash. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Sarah Drew, a strong Sub-Vet rider who has recently started competing again in 2016, enthused that, “The Sappi Howick MTB Classic is such a good race; it’s a solid 40km where you need to concentrate on the technical aspects and then pin it in the open areas.” “I’m looking forward to the race on Sunday, particularly as it’ll be the first race on my new bike!” she added. While the Sappi Howick MTB Classic is known for its technical aspects, the 20km offers a brilliant platform for women – and men – wanting to try out their first mountain bike race or to build up their base of 20km rides. Megan Els, 2014 Motorbike Cross Country Championship winner, explains that for her the Howick trails offer something unique. “Mountain biking in general is so different to the motorbike industry,” said Els. “It’s far more social and the vibe is what’s so important!” “You can ride with your friends at a different pace and you progress after every ride. “The 20km race offers me beautifully prepared trails thanks to all the effort goes into preparing the trails for the race, and that alone makes the event worth riding, as well as the social element!” While the 40km looks to be competitive with the young guns likely to lead the pack, those out to enjoy perfectly prepped trails are in for a treat with the weather looking favourable for the weekend ahead. Participants are also reminded of title sponsor Sappi’s social media competition during the event. While the racing snakes battle it out at the front of the field, less serious riders are encouraged to snap a photo of themselves when they pass the Sappi photo frame en route. Built at the Shafton Fire Tower, the frame is a fun way to take a break from pedalling and create a few digital memories and, by posting the images on the HMBC Facebook page using #HMBC and #InspiredByLife, riders then stand a chance to win one of several prizes including an Apple iPod. The Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro takes place on Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 6 March 2016. More information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za or www.facebook.com/howickmtb while entries can be submitted at www.roag.co.za.
  12. Organisers of the 2016 Sappi Howick MTB Classic are relishing the inclusion of the first ever Sappi Howick Enduro as part of the now weekend-long programme of events as the popular ‘raw and unplugged’ KZN Midlands mountain biking event celebrates its 30th anniversary on Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 6 March. Click here to view the article
  13. The newly added Sappi Howick Enduro will take place on Saturday, 5 March – the day before the traditional Sappi Howick MTB Classic – with the Howick Mountain Bike Club (HMBC) confident their recent release of the official Enduro stages on social media will aid in attracting a wide range of riders on all types of bikes to the fresh event. Mark Millar (pictured) and his fellow Enduro enthusiasts from throughout KZN and abroad are relishing the code's Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro debut on Saturday, 5 March. Paul Botma/ Gameplan Media. “Enduro is a different kind of racing which allows friends to ride socially together while at the same time still enjoying the thrill of timed racing,” Gavin Ryan, HMBC Trail Steward explained. “Moms and dads can ride up liaison stages with their children and then race down the timed sections knowing their children will be waiting at the bottom for them with the time keepers, it’s quite unique being able to ride an event in that style.” The 2016 Sappi Howick Enduro comprises of three stages, all of which descend from the iconic Shafton Fire Tower. Stage 1 is a selection of fast and flowing trails on steep terrain which then enter into tighter trails with bar catching potential, stage 2 directs riders towards the Karkloof trail networks down the well-known “Sheep’s Pass” while Stage 3 is the longest collection of trails that has a number of surprising technical sections with the race ending at the Karkloof Farmers Market. The HMBC’s selection of trails for the event also means that riders will need to be committed to smooth, fast riding through tight corners in order for them to be competitive. “We’ve been mindful of making the stages doable for those on big, mid and small travel bikes alike, so anyone can give it a bash confidently!” said Ryan. “We want to grow the discipline of Enduro racing and hence we’ve created fun but still challenging sections!” “While we’ve made it beginner friendly, there are still some tricky sections where those with skills to pay the bills will benefit!” he laughed. Kim Westbrook, overall ladies winner at the KZN MTB Provincial Enduro held at St Ives last weekend, is one rider to have already confirmed she is keen to try her luck on the Howick trails at the new event. “I’m really excited because Howick has natural, rugged, tight trails that are always challenging to ride fast and are so satisfying when you read the lines right and hit them at speed!” said Westbrook. PYGA rider Hilton Frost, who came second to World Cup Downhill racer Greg Minnaar at the recent St Ives Enduro, is another looking forward to being part of the 2016 Sappi Howick Enduro’s action. “While I’ll be setting up our PYGA stand in the morning, I will definitely be racing later in the day!” said Frost. “I’m not missing this event; I’ve never had a chance to race Enduro on the Howick trails and they are perfect for this kind of riding so I’m sure it will be an awesome race!” Title sponsor Sappi will also be running a social media competition during the event. Between their timed runs, riders are encouraged to snap a photo of themselves at the new Sappi Photo Frame and post the image to the HMBC Facebook page, with #HMBC and #InspiredByLife included in the post, in order to stand a chance of winning several prizes such as an Apple iPod. “Built at the Shafton Fire Tower, the frame presents a fun way to take a brief break from pedalling and create a few digital memories of the Sappi Howick Enduro adventure!” said Matthew Drew of the Sappi MTB Project. “The idea is that riders will stop and do something fun like a hand stand, yoga pose or just showing off their Enduro steeds on the two meter wide platform behind the frame. “Hopefully this will enable us to capture the fun of the Enduro event through the competitors very own photos!” The Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro takes place on Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 6 March 2016. More information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za or www.facebook.com/howickmtb while entries can be submitted at www.roag.co.za.
  14. It was in 1986 that the Howick Mountain Bike Club (HMBC) held their first mountain bike race, sending about 100 keen mountain bikers on hard tails off into the hills of the Shafton plantations to crunch out 40km of trails and jeep track. Since then, the event has become known as a challenging race with many technical elements, making the Howick trail network synonymous with the catch phrase ‘raw and unplugged’. In 2016 the HMBC have extended the Sappi Howick MTB Classic over two days to include the Sappi Howick Enduro on Saturday, 5 March. Many riders, such as Thami Kunene (pictured), will be eager to celebrate the Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro's 30th anniversary in somewhat warmer conditions than years gone by as the race shifts from June to 5 & 6 March in 2016 while an Enduro event has been added to the weekend's festivities. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Enduro racing is a more relaxed style of racing, where riders can ascend together at any pace to the top of several timed stages that are predominantly descents with the winners then determined by the total time of all of the descents. With the rise in popularity of the Enduro racing format over the past two years, the HMBC have realised the potential that Enduro’s hold for the overall event. “The way the trail network is set up in Howick makes it ideal for Enduro racing as generally all our long descents come down from a central point at the Shafton Fire Tower,” said Gavin Ryan, the HMBC Trail Steward. “Riders simply finish racing one stage and casually work their way back up to the same point to start another descent. “We held a trial Enduro event in October last year that was really successful and we received such good feedback from the riders that the decision was taken to include it as part of the Sappi Howick MTB Classic weekend. We’ve designed the Enduro to be accessible to first time Enduro riders too, so we encourage everyone on any kind of bike to give it a go before then staying on and trying out the 40km Classic on the Sunday too as it’s a really exciting race,” he added. Another big change to the popular event sees it now being staged in March as opposed to the traditional calendar placement of June. “We found that over the past few years the June date was quite close to the Comrades Marathon, and clashed with some of the KZNMTB provincial series events. “But, more than that, the conditions in 2015 were bitterly cold and we decided to choose a weather period that would be less stressful to the riders! “It’s also nice to hold a race at the beginning of the race season, before people experience event fatigue as our races are serious, but they’re also really fun – and we want people to enjoy them! “We may be turning 30, but we’re still evolving!” said Gordon Beard, HMBC Chairman. The Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro takes place on Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 6 March 2016. More information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za or www.facebook.com/howickmtb while entries can be submitted at www.roag.co.za.
  15. 2016 sees the 30th anniversary of the Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro welcome several exciting changes, including a new home on the calendar – Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 6 March – and the introduction of a three-stage Enduro event. Click here to view the article
  16. Cross country sensation Alan Hatherly continued the trend of tomorrow’s stars dominating the Sappi Howick MTB Classic when he surged to a commanding victory in Sunday’s 40km hit-out while the experienced Cindy Theunissen claimed the women’s spoils. Click here to view the article
  17. The young Kargo Pro MTB rider added his name to the ever-growing list of Under-23 rising talents to have won the ‘raw and unplugged mountain biking’ clash after Luke Roberts, Patrick Belton and Kargo Pro MTB team mate Brendon Davids claimed the past three years’ honours respectively. Kargo Pro MTB's Alan Hatherly romped to a comfortable victory in Sunday's Sappi Howick MTB Classic. // Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. Having only recently return from a successful UCI MTB World Cup trip to Europe, Hatherly came into the clash looking to maintain his international cross country race pace ahead of his upcoming Swizz World Cup clash. A blistering start by the young lad saw him well clear of the rest of the field within the first few kilometers and able to focus fully on his pre-race plans as he overcame the early morning cold and charged through the vast stretches of memorable single track through Sappi’s plantations. “The course makes the riding here very much like a cross country race because you'll push hard for 500m or so and then you've got to brake and get through a bit of a technical section and then look to try get your pace back up again as quickly as possible,” said Hatherly. “I was surprised at how quickly I managed to get away from the guys at the beginning but once I got away I just looked to try keep my pace up as best I could. “With us doing a lot of the sections in reverse to how we have previously I was surprised at how much longer the race was, which was probably a good thing for me as far as my training goes, so overall it was a really good exercise for me,” he added. Hatherly’s dominance soon saw the race become about second place for the rest of the field and in the end it was young Callan Deacon who held off Brennan Anderson, Lance Chapman and Howick local Jedson Tooms (ROAG Racing) for the second step on the podium. Former Sharks rugby star Jeremy Thomson continued his remarkable run at the event when he bagged yet another top ten finish, crossing the line in seventh overall while Sappi-sponsored Thami Kunene performed admirably in the saddle to clinch a 35th placed finish, one place ahead of women’s winner Theunissen. Much like Hatherly, Theunissen was a lone figure at the front of the women’s clash throughout as she made light work of the enjoyable 40km course. Cindy Theunissen was untouchable in the women's race of Sunday's Sappi Howick MTB Classic and eventually claimed a thirteen minute victory. // Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. The race for second in the women’s contest was another fascinating affair as a sprint finish saw Nadine Nunes narrowly edge out Riana Niehaus for second while Tanya Ortlepp crossed the line just seconds later in fourth. The Sappi 19km Intermediate ride was again a popular choice for the less experienced, skilled and adventurous with Leonard Robberts and young Sarah Ryan claiming the men’s and women’s race victories respectively. The 2015 Sappi Howick MTB Race takes place from Howick High School on Sunday 7 June with participants able to choose from the 10km Family Ride, 19km Sappi Intermediate Ride and the 40km Sappi Howick Classic. Entries can be submitted online via www.roag.co.za by 3 June and more information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za.
  18. The young Kargo Pro MTB charger had hardly touched down after his recent European stint that saw him impress at the first two World Cup events in Czech Republic and Germany respectively when he was already looking towards his next South African assignment to maintain his outstanding form. Kargo Pro MTB's Alan Hatherly will look to use Sunday's Sappi Howick MTB Classic as part of his preparations for his upcoming UCI MTB World Cup assignment in Switzerland. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. “I initially was going to go up with Brendon (Davids) to the South African Marathon Champs in Van Gaalen but after getting back home from Europe and chatting to both my coach and my team manager, Shaun Peschl, we decided that it was probably best for me to give them a miss,” says Hatherly. “Having set my focus for the year entirely on cross country and with me having been in Europe the last couple of weeks, we just felt that it probably wasn’t the best idea for me to try go race 115km without fully preparing for an ultra-marathon event like nationals.” Instead though the tough yet fast-natured Sappi Howick MTB Classic will provide Hatherly with enough of a cross country-type outing that will keep him in the groove as he builds towards his Swiss challenge. “I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s Howick Classic. “It’s a super fun event with some great single track and I know exactly what to expect having ridden it a good few times before.” Hatherly’s recent European expedition saw the youngster finish 37th and 24th in Nové Mesto na Morave and Albstadt respectively, crossing the line as the second first year Under-23 competitor on both occasions. The Kargo Pro MTB rider will now turn to the local racing scene to maintain his good run of form. “The trip was definitely a good experience! I learnt a lot – which you just can’t do back here in South Africa because the guys over there are just so fast and the fields are so big. “This weekend will be more of a training ride than an actual race for me where I’ll try simulate a World Cup environment as best I can and look to go as hard as possible right from the start. “Obviously once you’re on that start line you naturally want to race though so I’ll definitely also be hoping to try pick up a win at Howick as well. Hatherly will look to follow up his participation in Sunday’s Sappi Howick MTB Classic with the Safire Baynesfield MTB Classic – the fourth leg of the 2015 Quattro ROAG Series – next weekend before wrapping up his brief stint back home with the fourth round of the Stihl SA Cup Series at Cascades in Pietermaritzburg which also doubles as a Junior World Series event. The 2015 Sappi Howick MTB Race takes place from Howick High School on Sunday 7 June with participants able to choose from the 10km Family Ride, 19km Sappi Intermediate Ride and the 40km Sappi Howick Classic. Entries can be submitted online via www.roag.co.za by 3 June and more information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za.
  19. Participants of the 2015 Sappi Howick MTB Classic that takes place on Sunday 7 June in the heart of the KZN Midlands are in for a trail treat. Click here to view the article
  20. Not only has the event’s 40km route received a complete overhaul, but riders can also expect to enjoy the unique scenery, flora and fauna of the Howick region during their race. Puffer Adder Pass is certain to get the blood of participants of the 2015 Sappi Howick MTB Classic pumping however, despite the climb having been named after the region's inhabitants, Sunday 7 June's increased heart rate will be for cycling reasons only as the legless reptiles remain in hibernation. // Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. Renowned for its twisting stretches of pristine single track and endless mountain biking entertainment, the Howick clash is also looked forward to by hundreds annually due to its remarkable sights and sounds with views that will add to riders’ breathlessness once they summit the event’s various lung-buster climbs. “The vistas of the Mngeni Valley and Karkloof regions that riders will see during stages of their cycle are a special feature of the race and add value to Sappi Howick MTB Classic participants’ experiences,” explains race director Gordon Beard. “We are blessed in the Howick region to have some of the best trails in the country to explore by bike but the views that the race exposes riders to is another major reason why cyclists keep coming back to our event year after year,” he adds. Cyclists won’t only have the horizon’s offerings to enjoy but will ride through the various ecosystems of the Sappi forests as well. Large stretches of the route’s single and jeep tracks flow through open areas, stream crossing, grasslands and near wetlands, giving riders the opportunity to get up close and personal with nature. “A variety of buck, birds of prey, rabbits, porcupine, bush pigs, jackal and the occasional caracal have all been spotted in the Howick forests while we've even seen an otter down at the Weir Way dam!” says local mountain biker Kath Fourie. “Some of the trails have even been named after animals found in that particular area, such as Porcupine Way and Jackal Road. With this in mind Puff Adder pass that links the Howick and Karkloof trail networks, may cause a few butterflies in the tummy for some. Beard confirms that participants have nothing to worry about though. “The infamous Puff Adder Pass is very rocky and puff adders are attracted to the area because of the warmth that the rocks hold from the sun, while the terrain is ideal for hiding should they need to. “Participants of the Sappi Howick MTB Classic need not lose any sleep over this though as the hundreds of MTB wheels that will be heading through the area and with it now being winter, our legless friends won't be out on race day!” Early sections of Sunday 7 June's Sappi Howick MTB Classic will present participants will spectacular views of the picturesque Midmar Dam. // Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. For the race’s title sponsors, being involved in an event of this nature is the perfect fit for Sappi’s objective of engaging with activities that traverse it’s properties while living their tag line of ‘Inspired by life’ at the same time. “Sappi has established a strong relationship with the mountain biking community, a relationship that has developed over the last 25 years,” says André Oberholzer, Sappi Group Head Corporate Affairs. “Many people love to be outdoors and away from traffic and the stress of urban areas, and among those people are cyclists. “Sappi land offers the environment they are looking for and we’ve been amenable to the development of trails on our land for a long time. “We trust everyone who takes part in the 2015 Sappi Howick MTB Classic will thoroughly enjoy their ride and enjoy their adventure through the Sappi forests,” he adds. The 2015 Sappi Howick MTB Race takes place from Howick High School on Sunday 7 June with participants able to choose from the 10km Family Ride, 19km Sappi Intermediate Ride and the 40km Sappi Howick Classic. Entries can be submitted online via www.roag.co.za by 3 June and more information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za.
  21. Known to most as a raw and unplugged mountain biking experience, Thomson appreciates the simplicity of the route and the true mountain biking test that the event offers participants. “I am absolutely going to be there!” confirmed the former rugby ace enthusiastically. “The Sappi Howick MTB Classic is one that you can’t miss out on!” Prime HPI's Jeremy Thomson is relishing a return to the magical trails of the Howick region when he takes on Sunday 7 June's Sappi Howick MTB Classic. // Photo credit: Jetline Action Photo/ Gameplan Media. “I’ve taken part in this event a lot over the years and I love the trials up there.“There’s a great mix of terrain that helps to keep the course fresh and the organisers always change it up a bit each year as well,” he adds. 2015’s participants are set to enjoy a near-new cycling experience as the 40km event’s route receives a complete make-over. Many of the region’s renowned trails will however still be included – many in a the reverse direction to what they have been ridden in over the past three years – including spectacular stretches on single track through the vast Sappi plantations in the area. “Some of the single track in Howick is right up there with my favourites of all time and I cannot wait to ride them again!” explains Thomson. Having achieved a ninth at last year’s event to go with his tenth in 2012, Thomson has proven time and again that he has what it takes to mix it up with some of the province’s regular top achievers at the annual Howick showdown. Another top 10 finish in 2015 will undoubtedly be lingering in the back of Thomson’s mind, despite the Prime HPI rider still recovering from some time out of the saddle. “I am busy coming back from a bit of a break after a tough start to the year,” says Thomson. “I rode the Cape Epic with Mathew Barrow in March and recently I have been enjoying three weeks away from the bike so I will come into the Howick event a little bit underdone but I will be out there to give it my best shot, as I always do!” The 2015 Sappi Howick MTB Race takes place from Howick High School on Sunday 7 June with participants able to choose from the 10km Family Ride, 19km Sappi Intermediate Ride and the 40km Sappi Howick Classic. Entries can be submitted online via www.roag.co.za by 3 June and more information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za.
  22. A third appearance in four years at the Sappi Howick MTB Classic is one former Sharks centre turned passionate mountain biker Jeremy Thomson is relishing when the 2015 edition of the KZN Midlands clash takes place on Sunday 7 June. Click here to view the article
  23. Trek SA's Brendon Davids stormed to a convincing win at the 2014 Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday after he put his recent stint of bad luck behind him to claim the overall prize at the finish at the Howick High School. // Image credit: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media Davids has been battling in recent weeks with a streak of bad luck and illness and the Trek SA star spoke about this recent stint and the relief of registering a win with the South African MTB Marathon championships coming up next weekend. “It has been a pretty rough few months for me,” a relieved Davids said at the finish of the race. “I have had a run of some pretty bad luck and last week I had a bit of a stomach bug but it was good to shake the bug and come out here after a tough block of training this week. "Unfortunately I couldn't got to the World Cup in Germany for certain reasons so I came here today to get a good solid training session with the SA marathon champs next weekend and then the national cross country series coming up so it was good to get a good solid day in,” the local rider said. It has been a number of years since Davids last competed in the Sappi Howick MTB Classic and he was happy with his outing on Sunday. The track’s around Howick have become popular over the years and Davids echoed the sentiments of a number of other riders when asked about the track. "It is a really fun course and it was well organised, I think the organisers really stepped up to the plate this year with a very well marked and balanced course. "Today was ideal, a lot rougher than Karkloof and I managed to iron out all the kinks and make sure my bike is running well and I just wanted to play it smooth in the single track to make sure nothing could hamper me from a good result today,” a satisfied Davids added. Following a number of solid results in 2014 another local, Stuart Marais of Kargo Pro MTB Team, claimed the second step on the podium behind Davids. Marais was happy with the form that he showed over the 40km course even though he was unsure of the route following a mishap in training on Saturday. "It didn't go to badly for me today, I tried to ride the course yesterday but it seems that I rode the 20km route instead of the 40km so after the first two kilometres today I didn't know where we were going,” Marais mentioned. The 26-year-old produced a solid ride by his own standards but unfortunately for him was unable to hold on to Davids but had enough power to beat off the chasing bunch and consolidate his silver medal position behind an impressive Davids. "Brendon (Davids) and I decided to open it up a bit after the first few kilometres and drop as many of the guys as we could and we opened up a bit of a gap. “About five to 10 kilometres in Brendon opened up and I just couldn't stay with him and from there I was just by myself and trying to keep the pace up and keep away from the guys,” Marais said happily. Team Thule’s Tyronne White claimed the lowest step on the podium but was happy with his performance after he spoke about the strength of the cross country riders but he too lauded the organisers for producing a top-notch track. "It went well out there today, we are building up to SA Marathon Champs and these cross country boys off the start are insanely quick and unfortunately I couldn't hang with Brendon (Davids) and Stuart (Marais) - they really strong at the moment - and I rode with Tim Stark and Callan (Deacon) and I got away on one of the single tracks and rode on my own. Time Fright VELO Life's Alexandra Mapstone was as surprised as anyone else when she crossed the finish line first to take the overall winners prize in the ladies 40km at the Sappi Howick MTB Classic. // Image credit: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media "It is an unbelievable course! That single track is the most fun I have ever had, it was really spectacular and I will definitely be back to ride these trails more often!" Time Freight VELO Life’s Ashley Mapstone looked somewhat surprised when she crossed the finish line in first place in the women’s race after she was unaware that USN/Hi-Tec’s Jeannie Dreyer had pulled out of the race at the eleventh hour. "It feels really great to win, I didn't expect it and I didn't feel too good at the beginning so I just decided to take it easy and coming in to take the win is great!” a surprised Mapstone said. "My tactics were to just ride at a good constant pace and be careful of the rocks because there were some pretty rocky sections and just make sure that I didn't get punctures. "It was a fantastic course and for a course to have that much single track is great!" Jumping on the praise wagon was former Sharks and Springbok star Jeremy Thomson who was quick to point out the advantages of a course like the one at the Sappi Howick MTB Classic as the less professional riders were mixing it with the more prominent riders at the end. "There is a lot of rocky single track, you could call it unsophisticated but it is really enjoyable. It gives us guys who aren't quite on the top end and whose technical skills aren't quite as good a chance to get up front. "It was just awesome out there! Sappi just do an incredible job with the trails here. It is one of my favourite courses because it throws a bit of everything at you,” the former backline stalwart added. The Greendale 19km race was won comfortably by up and coming mountain bike star Jett Bradshaw as he powered his way to a five minute win over second placed Malcolm van der Merwe. The women’s race was a close affair with Shale Biggs managing to hold off a charge from Team Roag’s Sarah Ryan who settled for second overall but first place in the Sprog Girls section. SUMMARY OF RESULTS SAPPI HOWICK MTB CLASSIC 40km Overall 1. Brendon Davids 1:46.06 2. Stuart Marais 1:48.11 3. Tyronne White 1:52.39 4. Callan Deacon 1:55.10 5. Tim Stark 1:58.01 Women 1. Alexandra Mapstone 2:26.22 2. Cindy Theunissen 2:32.47 3. Nadia Botha 2:33.37 19km Men 1. Jett Bradshaw 1:05.57 2. Malcolm van der Merwe 1:10.31 3. Jacques Dreyer 1:10.57 Women 1. Shale Biggs 1:14.28 2. Sarah Ryan 1:15.59 3. Sabine Theis 1:18.27 More info can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za
  24. Riders were greeted by some hospitable conditions at the start of the 29th edition of the popular Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday and it was local Under 23 star Brendon Davids who managed to shake off a recent run of bad luck to claim the men’s title in the 40km classic with youngster Alexandra Mapstone taking her opportunity well to ride away with the ladies title. Click here to view the article
  25. Image credit: Johan Pretorius/Gameplan Media Erdelyi, who obliterated the women’s field in 2013 to finish over ten minutes ahead of her nearest competitor, recently underwent keyhole surgery to establish the cause of major swelling and discomfort around her right knee and frustratingly is unsure just how long she will be out of action for. “My knee just keeps swelling up. It doesn’t matter whether I ride or not, it just swells up and then the only way to get it back down again is to have it drained,” explained the Time Freight VELOLife rider. “It’s very frustrating not being able to ride my bike and I’m very disappointed to be missing this year’s Sappi Howick MTB Classic! Erdelyi and her fellow Time Freight VELOLife team mates regularly traverse the region’s trails and so the former Hungarian national athlete knows the characteristics and features of the course well, aiding in the enjoyment of taking part on the annual Howick event. “We train on those trails at least once a week and a lot of races in the area use bits and pieces of the trails in their courses so I know the trails really well!” said Erdelyi. “Even though we ride the trails quite often, the race makes things even more fun. I really love that race!” The 2014 Sappi Howick MTB Classic kicks off a bumper four weeks of marathon mountain biking action in Pietermaritzburg and surrounds as this weekend’s race is closely followed by SA MTB Marathon Championships on Sunday 8 June and then the inaugural edition of the Rainbow Challenge and UCI MTB Marathon World Championships on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June respectively. Erdelyi is hardly surprised by the region’s jam packed schedule as she believes the area offers tremendous trails, MTB adventure and scenery. “I absolutely love the area. The trails are almost certainly the best in KZN and some of the best in the country!” exclaimed Erdelyi. The defending champion’s absence from Sunday’s race now opens the door for Erdelyi’s fellow Time Freight VELOLife rider, 17 year old Alexandra Mapstone, who will look to clinch a rare senior title after showing some solid form at the recent Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB Festival where she finished in an impressive tenth overall and was the third junior woman across the line. The popular Howick event offers participants the choice of the 40km Sappi Howick MTB Classic, 20km SPAR Intermediate Ride or the 10km Fun Ride and takes place at Howick High School on Sunday 1 June. More info can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za
My Profile My Forum Content My Followed Content Forum Settings Ad Messages My Ads My Favourites My Saved Alerts My Pay Deals Settings Help Logout