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  1. The new commission’s focus is to execute a successful 2018 KZN Enduro and Downhill Series, as well as aiding and assisting local venues with the hosting and implementation of Gravity events throughout the year. The new KZNGRAVITY commission will be spearheaded by three avid KZN riders, bringing back the motto “Operated By Riders, For Riders!” Chairman – Nigel Hicks Nige has made an indelible impression on the South African Downhill scene, it’s hard not understand why when you find out he’s been racing Downhill at national and regional level since 1992 and was Masters World Champion (30 – 34) in 2013.Since 2010 he has had a large hand in making the KZNMTB series a success. And a large spade. And a hoe. And a rake. And like one million kilometres of tape. And a depressing amount of leave days. Further to this Nige brings to the table the experience of organising, managing and building the 2011 to 2014 World Cup and World Championship Downhill Events held at Cascades Bike Park. Logistics Manager - Kathryn Fourie Kath is from Howick in KZN, and lives a hop and skip (or a fast uphill pedal) from some of the best trails in the country. Her interest in riding has resulted in her position as a project manager of the Sappi Mountain Biking Project, which she enjoys thoroughly.Kath has been riding bikes since 2011-ish, and was fooled into doing DH at the beginning of 2012 and somehow continued doing it even after falling on her head numerous times. Kath has two (that’s right TWO) Downhill World Championship bronze medals to her name from 2013 and 2015. Treasurer – Alistair Brand Al has been involved in all forms of cycling from, Road to Track, XCO, Enduro and DH since about 2011. Having served on the commission in 2017 Alistair continues on in the role of Treasurer – making sure that your entry fees go to making each round GREAT.Alistair’s focus is on growing the sport in the youth and sub-junior categories to bring in new talent to raise the future pinners of the sport. 2018 Series and Championship Rounds The 2018 series will incorporate 3 rounds with a standalone KZN Championships Event to round out the season. The three Series rounds will take place at 4 venues around KZN. With a split back to the 2-day format, with Enduro held on the Saturday and Downhill on the Sunday.ENDURO R1 – 3 March 2018 - Round 1 of the Enduro Series kicks off on the 3rd March 2018 hosted by Howick MTB Club as part of their Howick MTB Classic event. Howick MTB Club is one of the oldest clubs in the Country, and its trail network has been around for more than 25 years. The focus for Howick is always to present the best flow and gnar on natural singletracks in the SAPPI forestry plantations that encompass the Natal Midlands town. DH R1 – 4 March 2018 – As has been the case for the past 4 years, the season opener for DH will take place on the 4th March 2018 the beginner-friendly St Ives track at St Ives Lodge and Boma in the picturesque Natal Midlands. The venue is great for spectating with 90% viewing coverage of the track whilst also taking in the game and stunning panoramas from the St Ives Venue. ENDURO R2 – 28 April 2018 - Round 2 of the series sees the inclusion of the epic trails at Cascades Bike Park in PMB, built by Olympic XCO Track designer Nick Floros. Having a variety of steep and technical trails interspersed with flowy bike park lines this round will have something for everyone – including the CLIMBERS – be sure to be fit for this one as the trails take in the greatest elevation changes of the season. DH R2 – 29 April 2018 – Cascades MTB Park DH needs no introduction. The site of the infamous 2013 World Championships where the internet was nearly broken by the advent of prototype wagon-wheel DH bikes which has set the scene for technological progression in the last 5 years. A multitude of options are available for use at the venue and the track will be decided closer to the time – but one thing is sure – it’s going to be FAST and STEEP! ENDURO R3 – 16 June 2018 – Round 3 sees the welcome return of Karkloof MTB Club who will host the final stop of the series. One of the go-to riding destinations in SA, Karkloof are back on board and hungry to throw up some great trails following on from the Karkloof Classic event that will be held a month prior to the KZN round. This link between the 2 events will give new riders a chance to practice and get used to the style of trails before the KZN Series round. DH R3 – 17 June 2018 – Karkloof DH track, the invention of none other than master trail builder Hylton Turvey will be utilised for the final stop of the KZN Series in 2018. This track has an amazing pedigree and will once again produce some amazing racing in the SAPPI forests around Karkloof. ENDURO CHAMPS – 14 July 2018 – Giba Gorge once again plays host to what will surely be an exciting end to the years racing. With new trails continually being opened in the park, this event is one not to be missed as it will likely throw in many a curve, berm, ski-jump, bank and a drop or two, before a well-deserved beer and party at the fantastic Giba Trail Centre. A true MTB Festival Weekend awaits. DH CHAMPS – 15 July 2018 – Giba Gorge has been a stalwart of KZN Gravity racing for almost a decade, and is therefore a worthy host for the KZN Champs round for 2018. As for the DH Track – discussions are underway with the potential for something new, and STEEP … keep listening for updates. KZN GRAVITY as well as KZNMTB dates are shown below:
  2. In a bold move, it has been decided that KZNMTB will split for 2018, separating KZNGRAVITY into a standalone commission that will report directly to CyclingKZN. In order to assist in this transition phase, KZNMTB have graciously offered financial support to the newly created commission for the upcoming 2018 season. Click here to view the article
  3. KZNMTB Provincial Cup Series Elite Men's winner and defending champion Stuart Marais (centre, front) will be heading to Aloe Wildlife Estate to battle it out at the 2017 KZNMTB Provincial Championships on Saturday 24 June. Gavin Ryan/QuickPix Defending Champ and overall 2017 Cup Series Elite Men’s winner, Stuart Marais, will be heading to the trails with guns blazing ready to battle it out with some of the province’s best cross-country fanatics. Other names to look out for are those Cup Series winners such as Master Men’s winner Andrew Mackinnon and Grand Master Women’s winner Francis Marsburg. Cian Leveridge and Tiffany Keep always give their all in the Junior category and Sub Junior overall winner Chloe Bateson has had an impressive season so far. Travis Stedman and Sabine Thies have wracked up top honours in the Youth Categories. A name to look out for in the Youth category, Sabine Thies, will be in action at the 2017 KZNMTB Provincial Championships at Aloe Wildlife Estate on Saturday 24 June. Gavin Ryan/QuickPix Sean Merredew and Nadine Nunes are top scorers in the Sub Vet's categories, and Ewan Cochran and Natalie Bergstrom are strong names in the Veteran's category. The U23 supporters will be looking at names like Komborero Bere, Dean Wortman and Christie-Leigh Hearder.Aloe Trails, close to the Lion Park, is an exquisite venue owned by hosts Hennie and Erika, which caters to mountain bikers, runners and hikers alike. There is a variety of wildlife on the reserve to spot, and the aloe plants which surround the area are truly something to behold. There are fantastic ablution facilities available, and a great restaurant for those who need some replenishments after their ride. Those who are coming to either ride or support are reminded to please drive carefully on the Lion Park road, as there are animals that roam freely in the area. To see the overall KZNMTB Provincial Cup Series overall results, click here: http://www.kznmtb.co.za/downloads/results/category/14-2017-kzn-prov-series?download=173:2017-kzn-mtb-xco-series-overall-results Entries for the KZNMTB Provincial XCO Championships are open. To enter, click here: http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1915
  4. The Batch A Podium at the KZNMTB Provincial Cup Series XCO on Saturday 3 June. Photo: Supplied After Marais, Henry Liebenberg and Sthembiso Masango (who is part of the SA National team that will be going to compete in the UCI MTB Marathon Championships in Germany this year) claimed second and third place in the batch respectively. Marais said: “Provincials are always a lot of fun. For me it was beneficial because we have a national cup here in two weeks so its good to get some racing done at this course before hand. It’s always just so good to race at home.” When chatting about the rest of the 2017 season, Marais said that his major focus would be on the last national cup as well as the SA National MTB Championships. It will be after these events that the team to be selected for the UCI MTB XCO World Championships will be decided. “It all hangs with that decision and I hope I crack the nod,” he added. The Batch B Podium at the KZNMTB Provincial Cup Series XCO on Saturday 3 June. Photo: Supplied Batch B was won by Change a Life's Sipho Kupiso, and teammate Ndumiso Dontso came across second, with Gareth Cook in third. The fastest female in B Batch was Tiffany Keep, despite having a nasty crash in the final rock garden section on the course. Kupiso said: “The race today was so much fun, and I really enjoyed the single tracks and rock gardens. I’ve been off the cross-country racing scene for a bit and this is my first time coming back. It was a great track. “I’ve been doing a lot of marathon racing, in particular the Absa Cape Epic, and then I decided to come and do this. I had such a great time out here today and am looking forward to KZN Champs.” Batch C saw Maritzburg College’s Johandre Marx claiming the first spot on the top of the podium, followed by Jordan Bold, and Kusaselihle Ngidi. The first woman over the line in Batch C was Beani Thies. She said: “I entered the race on Wednesday with full-blown flu. I actually didn't think I would race today. But who can say no to the awesome cross-country tracks at Cascades.” Sabine Thies placed first woman and fifth overall in Batch C at the KZNMTB Provincial Cup Series XCO on Saturday 3 June. Photo: Supplied Thies got to the start line and gave it her all, hoping for at least a top ten position. When she crossed the line in fifth place overall, she had surprised herself. “Nick Floros (course designer) always gives a surprise here and there and that is what I like. I just love riding at Cascades because I love a technical track,” she concluded. Summary of results from the third round of the 2017 KZNMTB Provincial Cup Series XCO Batch A 1.Stuart Marais 1:10.03 2.Henry Liebenberg 1:12.42 3.Sthembiso Masango 1:14.54 4.Komborero Bere 1:16.34 5.Brennan Anderson 1:17.31 6.Dean Wortmann 1:18.35 7.Mboneni Ngqobo 1:18.49 8.Sean Merredew 1:19.20 9. Travis Stedman 1:19.38 10.Carl Calverley 1:20.27Batch B 1.Sipho Kupiso 1:22.03 2.Ndomiso Dontso 1:22.49 3.Gareth Cook 1:23.44 4.Scelo Mhlongo 1:25.34 5.Angus Mcleod 1:25.53 6.Mazwe Smimango 1:26.13 7.Bongumusa Zikhali 1:27.04 8.Duane Stander 1:29.45 9.Mitchel Potgieter 1:30.03 10.Richard Wyngaard 1:30.57 Batch C 1.Johandre Marx 1:08.07 2.Jordan Bold 1:08.23 3.Kusaselihle Ngidi 1:11.46 4.Jonathan Watts 1:15.52 5.Sabine Thies 1:16.12 6.Daniel Van der Watt 1:19.33 7.Chloe Bateson 1:19.50 8.Sean Westerdyk 1:20.18 9.Brodan Symons 1:20.21 10.Brian Martens 1:21.50
  5. Speaking in the short recess before his second timed run, Philogene said: “It’s a very tiring track and very physical and there is a lot more pedaling required in the new section they have added, which is part of the Enduro track. It makes it tiring on your legs, especially where you have to tuck down for more speed and hold the squat position. I’m feeling good and going to try and keep it smooth and consistent all the way down, but I am happy with how the first run went.” Top contender Tiaan Odendaal suffered a crash on his first timed run, which ruled him out of contention, and Christopher’s brother Jonathan Philogene posted the second-fastest time on the first run, but came unstuck on his second run. His successful first run however secured him an overall second place. The Overall Men's Podium: 1.Christopher Philogene, 2.Jonathan Philogene, 3.Struan McMaster, 4.Timothy Bentley, 5.Sharjah Jonsson, at the 2017 KZNMTB Provincial Downhill Series at Cascades MTB Park on Monday 1 May Photo credit: Mylene Paynter. Struan McMaster was the third fastest after both runs, bettering his first run by five seconds in another sibling rivalry battle as his younger brother, Cullen McMaster was in fifth place after the first timed runs. “I started the morning getting my lines right and my first run was a little slow and I didn't push it too much. My second run I pushed it a bit and hit all my lines properly and I’m happy with the result. The Cascades course is amazing, it’s very close to what they race overseas, which is what we are all aiming for,” said Struan McMaster. When chatting about the brothers-in-arms in the top five, Struan quipped: “It’s not good when my brother beats me. It’s always good racing against the Philogenes though, they have some good racing over there.” Timothy Bentley (Elite) and Sharjah Jonsson (Junior) rounded out the Overall Men’s podium, posting times of 04:36.36 and 04:43.04 respectively. Youth woman Sabine Thies won the women’s race overall in a time of 05:45.84 on the technical track, with Sub veteran Kathryn Fourie claiming second place (06:16.63) and Veteran Dorette Crous rounding out the podium in 07:06.16. Relative newbie to Downhill racing, Crous shared her views on the technical race track. “It’s very physical and very pedally and you need to be quite fit to race here. I’m still learning quite a lot as I’ve only been racing this discipline for four months. It’s good fun and I’m enjoying it a lot. Upper body strength is required. A lot of people think downhill is coasting down a mountain. But especially on this course, I was really tired at half way and that is where the pedaling section only started. Fitness counts in a big way.” Overall Men’s winner in the Enduro race, which was the third and final round of the 2017 KZNMTB PROVINCIAL ENDURO SERIES on Sunday 30 April was Tiaan Odendaal, who managed to keep a rampant Sam Bull at bay after his recent return to Enduro racing after a serious knee injury. Odendaal claimed the victory by nine seconds. “It was a tough hill climb to the top, the stages were pretty cool and the last stage was nice and long. The first two stages were short and technical and the third stage was not too hard, nice and flowy. It was lots of fun and I’m happy with the win,” said Odendaal. Bull, who has been keeping spectators entertained with his commentary at previous Gravity events, chatted about his road from recovery and his second place overall. “At African Champs last year, I tore my ACL and MCL meniscus and had big knee surgery and a nine-month strict rehab programme to get back in action. That set me back. I just wanted to get back into riding again and had nothing to prove, so I’ve eased in gently this year. I wanted to make sure that my knee is fine and I’m enjoying being on the bike again. I love Cascades, the top two stages were proper Enduro stages and they required a lot of skill. Cascades is always fun – it’s a tough climb up but you’re always rewarded on the way down.” Women’s overall winner Sabine Thies (Youth) posted the fastest time in her category of 16:06, with Kathryn Fourie (Sub Veteran) second (16:59) and Helen Squirrell third in 17:59. “Since Thursday we have been training on the tracks – I’ve never trained this hard for an Enduro so it was great. Stage one and two were the hardest, especially the steepness in stage one. Stage four was my ultimate favourite and I know that section very well. One of my friends came down from Joburg, Chris Pearton, and he was sort of coaching me through the stages during our practice, which helped me a lot.” KZNMTB extends gratitude to the series sponsors Dirt Merchant, Rush Sports and International Trade for their support in the Gravity Series. The next race event for KwaZulu-Natal mountain bikers will also be held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg, and is the fourth round of the SA National Cup Series, which makes a turn past KwaZulu-Natal in June. The province’s riders will be out in force against their national peers. Summary of Results – 2017 KZNMTB ENDURO Round 3 – Sunday 30 April 2017Overall Men 1.Tiaan Odendaal (Senior) 12:29 2.Sam Bull (Senior) 12:38 3.Jonathan Philogene (Senior) 12:44 4.Keira Duncan (Junior) 12:52 5.Timothy Bentley (Senior) 12:53 Overall Women 1.Sabine Thies (Youth) 16:06 2.Kathryn Fourie (Sub Veteran) 16:59 3.Helen Squirrell (Veteran) 17:59 4.Sonja Engelbrecht (Veteran) 18:11 5.Louise Kotze (Sub Veteran) 18:15 Senior Men 1.Tiaan Odendaal 12:29 2.Sam Bull 12:38 3.Jonathan Philogene 12:44 Sub Veteran Men 1.Craig Paul 13:09 2.Christopher Pearton 13:59 3.Mark Millar 14:52 Sub Veteran Women 1.Kathryn Fourie 16:59 2.Louise Kotze 18:15 3.Elja van Urk 19:39 Veteran Men 1.Keith Diederichs 14:13 2.Rory Grobler 14:22 3.Craig Seaward 14:45 Veteran Women 1.Helen Sqirrell 17:59 2.Sonja Engelbrecht 18:11 3.Nicola Nairn 23:02 Master Men 1.Alastair Brand 16:06 2.Clint Hattingh 16:43 3.Desmond Purchase 17:42 Junior Men 1.Keira Duncan 12:52 2.Sharjah Jonsson 13:06 3.Liam Read 15:04 Youth Men 1.Connor Finnis 14:03 2.Kayle Seaward 15:01 3.Brodan Symons 15:54 Youth Women 1.Sabine Thies 16:06 2.Charne Dreyer 18:20 Sub Junior Boys 1.Jordan Anastasis 16:41 Sprog Boys 1.Liam Tyler Hall 16:04 2.Nate Tanner Hall 16:41 3.Ross Kew 16:46 Sprog Girls 1.Georgia Finnis Nipper Boys 1.Vaughn Preston 19:31 2.Kade van Deventer 21:58 3.Cullum Finnis Summary of Results – 2017 KZNMTB DOWNHILL Round 3 – Monday 1 May 2017 Overall Men 1.Christopher Philogene (Elite) 04:27.99 2.Jonathan Philogene (Elite) 04:32.19 3.Struan McMaster (Elite) 04:33.09 4.Timothy Bentley (Elite) 04:36.36 5.Sharjah Jonsson (Junior) 04:43.04 Overall Women 1.Sabine Thies (Youth) 05:45.84 2.Kathryn Fourie (Sub Veteran) 06:16.63 3.Dorette Crous (Veteran) 07:06.16 Elite Men 1.Christopher Philogene 04:27.99 2.Jonathan Philogene 04:32.19 3.Struan McMaster 04:33.09 Sub Veteran Men 1.Christopher Pearton 04:56.75 2.Shai Duke-Norris 05:09.22 3.Mark Millar 05:18.89 Sub Veteran Women 1.Kathryn Fourie 06:16.63 Veteran Men 1.Craig Seaward 05:16.54 2.Jason Hall 05:27.39 3.Tyrone Pinnoy 05:33.49 Veteran Women 1.Dorette Crous 07:06.16 Master Men 1.Alastair Brand 05:43.13 2.Desmond Purchase 06:19.93 Junior Men 1.Sharjah Jonsson 04:43.04 2.Cullen McMaster 04:46.05 3.Keira Duncan 04:54.20 Youth Men 1.Kayle Seaward 05:01.19 2.Connor Finnis 05:08.23 3.Jared Piek 05:45.84 Youth Women 1.Sabine Thies 05:45.84 Sub Junior Boys 1.Kyle Brand 05:55.06 2.Jordan Anastasis 06:16.86 Sprog Boys 1.Keagan Brand 05:42.94 2.Nate Tanner Hall 05:51.20 3.Liam Tyler Hall 05:55.48 Nipper Boys 1.Vaughn Preston 07:35.82 2.Cullum Finnis 08:55.10 Enduro Class 1.Brad Purchase 05:02.47 2.Andy Noble 05:40.41 3.Jacques Dreyer 05:43.49
  6. KwaZulu-Natal mountain biker Stuart Marais blitzed the tacky and slippery four-kilometre cross-country course during the second round of the 2017 KZNMTB Provincial XCO Cup Series at St. Ives in the Midlands in an incredible time of 1:15:43 today. Click here to view the article
  7. Stuart Marais kept consistently excellent lap times to take the Batch A victory at the second round of the 2017 KZNMTB XCO Provincial Series at St Ives on Saturday 8 April. Photo credit: Gavin Ryan/Quick Pix The in-form rider posted consistent lap times of 11:30, 10:44, 10:43, 10:44, 10:43, 10:38, 10:39 – the traits of a superb cross-country racer (the first lap featured an extended loop). Matthew Wilkinson and Brennan Anderson finished the seven-lap race in second and third places in 1:18:17 and 1:18:33 respectively.“I had a goal that I’d like to do an under 11-minute lap, and I achieved that so I’m very happy about it,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a fast course and the only way I could push it without any traffic in front of me was to take the lead. The rain last night and the two batches before we raced really settle the dry track from Friday and made it super fast and it flowed so nicely.” Taking about his goals for the year, Marais’ focus is on the cross-country races with some World Championships being the ultimate goal. “The African Continental Championships in Mauritius in May is first up, then I’ll be heading to Czech Republic and Germany for the two World Cups. Then, it is a build up towards the SA Champs in July. Hopefully I’ll be able to compete in one or two more World Cups and hopefully make the team selection for the World Champs.” With his focus currently firmly fixed on the short-course racing format of XCO, Marais will embark on some stage races towards the end of the year after the XCO season is over. Hilton College pupil and cross-country newbie Jordan Wisdom (17) absolutely dominated the B-Batch race with an emphatic victory over his chasers Sam Moore, Werner Moolman, Piers Morgan and Reece McCallum in 1:29:35. With only one other race under his belt this year, that being the Sugar Rush Classic, Wisdom showed immense promise in his newfound cycle racing discipline. “I was really chuffed with how I did today,” said Wisdom. “I’ve never raced a cross-country before and didn't know what to expect out here. I took off at the beginning and managed to stay in the lead the whole way. I only started riding properly about six weeks ago with Absolute Motion.” When talking about the course conditions, Wisdom said, “In the morning when I rode the test lap, it was really muddy and I’m glad that the C-Batch cleared it up a bit. The rock garden was really tough, and I went straight over the big rock – the straightest line possible. I’m motivated now and want to race the next one and maybe the SA Cup in Cascades, I just need to up my training.” Sam Moore (Youth) finished second in the batch in a time of 1:30:40, while Werner Moolman (Veteran) came third in 1:30:59. Veteran Women’s racer Natalie Bergstrom is back in action on the XCO circuit, recording the win in a time of 1:31:42 and finishing sixth overall in the batch. Christie-Leigh Hearder finished second, in 1:33:00. Jonathan Watts (Kloof Senior Primary) and Jordan Bold dominated the C-Batch race, passing through the start/finish area on each lap neck-in-neck and both recording a finish time of 56 minutes 31 seconds. Barring any incidents on the course, it was going to be one or the other that took the victory, and it was the extra “Watts” that counted as his wheel was ahead by a whisker. Watts’ final lunge across the line is what probably sealed the deal. Speaking about his win, Kloof resident Watts said that it was always going to be a tough race against a rider like Bold. “We both pushed each other the whole way, our racing is always close like this. I felt pretty strong and I wasn’t sure if I would get the win at the end. We both came around the last corner at the same time and it was pretty close. I came to practice this track yesterday and it was quite dry, but it rained last night so it got a bit slippery and muddy. I love this track, especially the rock garden and the lovely singletrack is my favourite part.” Mark Potgieter, a Master category rider, finished in third place overall in 58:49. Sabine Thies, hailing from Wartburg, was the strongest female rider on the day, finishing in fourth position overall in a time of 59:53. Thies represents the Youth category, while fellow Youth Megan Bircher and Sub Junior Chloe Bateson finished second and third in 1:01:03 and 1:02:33 respectively. This season’s new batching format has created added excitement to the XCO races. The participants’ no longer race against their age group, but also race against those with similar strength and riding ability, regardless of age. This format offers fresh new competition to those used to winning their respective age groups in the past. The next event of the 2017 KZNMTB Provincial XCO Cup Series is round number three, which takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 3 June. Keep an eye on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KZNMTB/ for details and information closer to the time. Summary of Results for the KZNMTB Cup Series #2 (Saturday 8 April)Batch A (7 laps) 1.Stuart Marais (Senior) 1:15:43 2.Matthew Wilkinson (Senior) 1:18:17 3.Brennan Anderson (Senior) 1:18:33 4.Jedson Tooms (Senior) 1:19:19 5.Sithembiso Masango (Senior) 1:19:20 6.Komborero Bere (Senior) 1:19:20 7.Sean Merredew (Sub Veteran) 1:19:42 8.Carl Calverley (Sub Veteran) 1:20:58 9.Dean Wortmann (Senior) 1:21:25 10.Gareth Cook (Senior) 1:22:13 Batch B (7 laps) 1.Jordan Wisdom (Junior) 1:29:35 2.Sam Moore (Youth) 1:30:40 3.Werner Moolman (Veteran) 1:30:59 4.Duane Stander (Sub Veteran) 1:31:05 5.Chris Helmbold (Veteran) 1:31:41 6.Natalie Bergstrom (Veteran) 1:31:42 7.Thomas Cheatle (Junior) 1:32:56 8.Christie-Leigh Hearder (Senior) 1:33:00 9.Piers Morgan (Veteran) 1:33:12 10.Craig Stone (Sub Veteran) 1:33:13 Batch C (4 laps) 1.Jonathan Watts (Sub Junior) 0:56:31 2.Jordan Bold (Sub Junior) 0:56:31 3.Mark Potgieter (Master) 0:58:49 4.Sabine Thies (Youth) 0:59:53 5.Megan Bircher (Youth) 1:01:03 6.Allan van Heerden (Master) 1:01:38 7.Andrew Mcckinnon (Master) 1:01:53 8.Chloe Bateson (Sub Junior) 1:02:33 9.Daniel van der Watt (Sub Junior) 1:02:51 10.Warren Moolman (Sub Junior) 1:02:56 Nipper Boys 1.Luca Zietsman 0:32:43 2.Logan Stander 0:32:43 3.Matthew Horter 0:34:19 Nipper Girls 1.Hannah Elliot 0:35:53 2.Jodi Mackinnon 0:36:34 Sprog Boys 1.Omar Wilson 0:40:30 2.Liam Theunissen 0:42:33 3.Keagan Brand 0:45:06 Sprog Girls 1.Riley Smith 0:46:46
  8. The 2017 KZNMTB Provincial XCO Cup series kicks off with its first instalment taking place in the stunning forests of Hilton on Saturday 18 February. Click here to view the article
  9. MTB Marathon enthusiast, Stuart Marais, who claimed is first win of 2017 when he took part in the Wartburg Classic last weekend, looks forward to what else 2017 has in store for him. Stuart Marais is ready to take on the first cup of the season at the opening round of the 2017 KZNMTB XCO Provincial in the forests of Hilton on Saturday 18 February Photo credit: Paul Botma Last year, Marais finished the Hilton leg of the KZNMTB XCO Series in second place in his age group, and third overall behind Elite Men’s winner, Brendon Davids and u23 Men’s winner Alan Hatherly. “There’s going to be a fresh new change-up this year – as many u23’s from last year will be moving into the Elite category,” he said. “Also, Brendon Davids has decided to focus more on road cycling and James Reid has retired. Nobody knows what’s going to happen out there so it’s going to pretty epic,” he added. Marais said that with Reid not in the equation, he currently stands as the third ranked South African cross-country rider in the country behind Philip Buys and Alan Hatherly, and 109th in the World, according to uci.ch . He is also a keen marathon rider, and described transitioning between the two disciplines. “The format of a lot of Marathon races this year has changed from a one-day-over-100km-race to a more split up race over two days,” he said. “This way, the cross-country riders are abler to keep up with the marathon riders when transitioning between the two disciplines. They don’t need as much endurance as was needed in the past. The marathon riders however find it a more challenging transition to switch to the cross-country discipline,” he added. Marais spoke of his major goals for the 2017 season, and said: “I am really hoping to go to Europe in May and take part in the Czech and German World Cups. There is also a race in Austria just before that that I would like to do as well. But 2017 SA National MTB Champs is one of my major goals – I’m hoping to do really well there and make it into the national team headed for Worlds in Australia this year.” The race this weekend takes place in the forests from the Hilton Christian Fellowship (HCF) Church and a wide selection of meals and refreshments will be available at the venue. Event Schedule: 7:00 – 11:30 (Registration and Late entries) 09:00 – C Batch 10:15 – B Batch 12:00 – Nipper and Sprogs 12:45 – A Batch Temperatures are set to rise to the early thirties on Saturday, with no rain predicted – a beautiful way to spend a summer’s day in KwaZulu-Natal. Online Pre-entries are closed, however late entries will be accepted on the day. For any more information, contact Rebecca van der Linde on 082 896 6864 or info@kznmtb.co.za.
  10. A scorching hot day greeted the thrill-seeking, extreme-inclined mountain bike riders who ventured into the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands for the opening round of the 2017 KZNMTB PROVINCIAL GRAVITY SERIES at St. Ives on Sunday 12 February. Click here to view the article
  11. Local rider Kelvin Purchase enjoyed the flowing trails in the Enduro race at the opening round of the 2017 KZNMTB PROVINCIAL GRAVITY SERIES at St. Ives in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Sunday 12 February. The thermometer soared as the day progressed in a nestled away section of St. Ives’ property; a section that kept the spectators very close to some of the racing action. KZN riders and spectators alike welcomed the large Gauteng contingent that could not pass up the opportunity to tackle KZN’s green hillsides for some gravity-induced riding! A large entry field had gathered for the opening round, with over 130 for the Enduro competition and over 70 in the Downhill starting blocks. It was to be the first time that the two “gravity” disciplines were to be held on the same day, a format that will be tweaked as the series progresses. No minute was spared between the two events as officials and riders maximised their time throughout the day. Because of the tight schedule, Enduro competitors were afforded the opportunity to make use of the uplift vehicle once only during the four-stage event; normally riders have to make their own way to the stage starts during the untimed liaison. 14-year-old Sabine Thies threw down the gauntlet to a much larger women’s field that participated in the Enduro and Downhill races to claim both prizes at the opening round of the 2017 KZNMTB PROVINCIAL GRAVITY SERIES at St. Ives in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Sunday 12 February. Overall Men’s winner in the Enduro race was Tiaan Odendaal, who managed to ward off an eager Craig Paul to hold the overall winning time after four stages by 21 seconds. “I really enjoyed it – the tracks are fun,” said Odendaal. “St. Ives is such a great place to ride, and it is a fantastic venue because you can see the tracks on the hillside and all the stages finish close together, yet they utilise a lot of the property for the trails. It is especially great for the spectators and family.”14-year-old Sabine Thies threw down the gauntlet to a much larger women’s field that participated in the Enduro race. Thies’ overall time of 16 minutes 43 seconds after four stages was 10 seconds faster than Charne Dreyer, also competing in the Youth category, while the remaining podium places clocked over the 17-minute mark. “The Enduro went well. I took it easy so I thought I was slow because I didn't want to crash for the downhill,” she said. Thies also clocked the fastest descent in the women’s class for the Downhill race. “That was a really good run. I got the fastest time on the first run so I’m pretty happy with that.” The larger-than-normal field of women didn’t deter Thies. “I have raced against these women before so I knew what to expect,” she said. Shortly after the Enduro, those competing in the Downhill class made their way to the start at the top of the hill. In a race where the best run of two counted, an eminent storm was brewing which eventually put paid to many of the riders’ second timed run, which meant that only their first runs counted. Christopher Philogene, who has made the leap from the Junior class to Elite this year, took the top honours in the Downhill race. “I knew that I had to put everything together in the first run because I could see the weather forecast and that the rain was on its way,” he said. “Everything had to go into that first run and I think the other riders realised that as well. The race run was good and I wouldn’t have changed much if I’d had the chance in a second run.” Dorette Crous took full advantage of the new event format when she entered both the Enduro and Downhill races at the opening round of the 2017 KZNMTB PROVINCIAL GRAVITY SERIES at St. Ives in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Sunday 12 February. Ex-local and now visiting rider Nikki Alvin netted a third place overall in the women’s race. “It was an awesome track and I absolutely loved it!” she said. “It’s a really great course for girls because we can hit all the jumps whereas some of the other tracks are a little big for us.” Alvin travelled from Gauteng with friends for the races– some new to the sport. “They are definitely into it now – the bug has bitten,” she said. “I didn't expect to finish where I did on my first run (in second place) and then I think there was too much pressure on me so I messed that up a bit on my second run,” she laughs. “But Kath (Fourie) and Beani are absolutely awesome and it’s great to be up there with them. I will definitely be at the next event at Giba.” KZNMTB’s Gravity Commissioner Marc Philogene said that the new format worked well on the day. “Our whole aim was to unite the two groups, and I think we achieved that. They are both gravity sports and there is a lot of crossover and a big percentage crossed over. We need to tweak the format for future events – we will look at each event as a whole as there will be challenges at different venues.” The second round of the 2017 KZNMTB PROVINCIAL GRAVITY SERIES takes place at Giba Gorge MTB Park on Sunday 26 March. Christopher Philogene, who has made the leap from the Junior class to Elite this year, took the top honours in the Downhill race at the opening round of the 2017 KZNMTB PROVINCIAL GRAVITY SERIES at St. Ives in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Sunday 12 February. He is flanked by (on left): Cullen McMaster, Tiaan Odendaal and on right: Jonathan Philogene and Struan McMaster. Summary of Results – 2017 KZNMTB ENDURO Round 1 – Sunday 12 February 2017 Overall Men 1.Tiaan Odendaal (Senior) 12:22 2.Craig Paul (Sub Veteran) 12:43 3.Sharjah Jonsson (Junior) 12:59 4.Keira Duncan (Junior) 13:09 5.Shane Martin (Senior) 13:10 Overall Women 1.Sabine Thies (Youth) 16:43 2.Charne Dreyer (Youth) 16:53 3.Amy-Jane Mundy (Sub Veteran) 17:13 4.Louise Kotze (Sub Veteran) 17:24 5.Kathryn Fourie (Sub Veteran) 17:40 Senior Men 1.Tiaan Odendaal 12:22 2.Shane Martin 13:10 3.Wade Prinsloo 13:35 Sub Veteran Men 1.Craig Paul 12:43 2.Duane Stander 13:41 3.Christopher Pearton 14:09 Sub Veteran Women 1.Amy-Jane Mundy 17:13 2.Louise Kotze 17:24 3.Kathryn Fourie 17:40 Veteran Men 1.Keith Diederichs 13:55 2.Thane Archer 14:13 3.Devlin Fogg 14:50 Veteran Women 1.Sonja Engelbrecht 18:42 2.Pauline Rainbird 18:50 3.Nicola Nairn 20:28 Master Men 1.Clint Hattingh 15:37 2.Alastair Brand 16:01 3.Mike Frost 16:53 Master Women 1.Karen Fortune 19:13 Grand Master Men 1.Ashley Nesbitt 18:17 2.Mike Staphorst 20:56 Junior Men 1.Sharjah Jonsson 12:59 2.Keira Duncan 13:09 3.Liam Read 14:28 Youth Men 1.Kayle Seaward 14:13 2.Connor Finnis 15:05 3.Slade Botha 15:27 Youth Women 1.Sabine Thies 16:43 2.Charne Dreyer 16:53 3.Sarah Ryan 27:26 Sub Junior Boys 1.Ethan Goveia 17:08 2.Jordan Anastasis 17:09 Sprog Boys 1.Liam Tyler Hall 16:03 2.Nate Tanner Hall 16:09 3.Ross Kew 16:25 Sprog Girls 1.Georgia Finnis 29:27 Nipper Boys 1.Logan Stander 20:00 2.Cullum Finnis 22:44 3.Vaughn Preston Sport Class 1.Marc Ash 16:36 2.Travis Goveia 18:56 3.Tyron Ash 18:59 4.Wayne Dos Santos 22:49 Summary of Results – 2017 KZNMTB DOWNHILL Round 1 – Sunday 12 February 2017 Overall Men 1.Christopher Philogene (Elite) 01:30.37 2.Jonathan Philogene (Elite) 01:30.98 3.Tiaan Odendaal (Elite) 01:32.42 4.Struan McMaster (Elite) 01:32.47 5.Cullen McMaster (Junior) 01:32.70 Overall Women 1.Sabine Thies (Youth) 01:58.88 2.Kathryn Fourie (Sub Veteran) 02:05.20 3.Nikki Alvin (Sub Veteran) 02:05.42 4.Larise Venter (Sub Veteran) 02:07.84 5.Joanne Hicks (Sub Veteran) 02:12.19 Elite Men 1.Christopher Philogene 01:30.37 2.Jonathan Philogene 01:30.98 3.Tiaan Odendaal 01:32.42 Sub Veteran Men 1.Shai Duke-Norris 01:40.83 2.Christopher Pearton 01:41.48 3.Cyril Spence 01:42.58 Sub Veteran Women 1.Kathryn Fourie 02:05:20 2.Nikki Alvin 02:05.42 3.Larise Venter 02:07.84 Veteran Men 1.Craig Seaward 01:44.92 2.Thane Archer 01:48.14 3.Grant Engels 01:52.49 Veteran Women 1.Dorette Crous 02:18.52 Master Men 1.Alastair Brand 01:55.81 2.Desmond Purchase 02:02.78 3.Leon Cronje 02:06.03 Grand Master Men 1.Mark Minter 02:21.24 Junior Men 1.Cullen McMaster 01:32.70 2.Shaun Smale 01:36.28 3.Sharjah Jonsson 01:37.72 Youth Men 1.Kayle Seaward 01:43.08 2.Connor Finnis 01:45.01 3.Myles Crookes 01:50.58 Youth Women 1.Sabine Thies 01:58.88 Sprog Boys 1.Nate Tanner Hall 01:59.75 2.Liam Tyler Hall 02:02.20 3.Keagan Brand 02:02.92 Nipper Boys 1.Logan Stander 02:35.36 2.Vaughn Preston 02:36.16 3.Cullum Finnis 02:44.87
  12. KwaZulu-Natal downhiller Struan McMaster is seeking to continue his recent form on the downhill track at the upcoming 2017 KZNMTB Gravity Series opening round to be held at St. Ives in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Sunday 12 February. Click here to view the article
  13. KwaZulu-Natal downhiller Struan McMaster is seeking to continue his recent form on the downhill track at the upcoming 2017 KZNMTB Gravity Series opening round to be held at St. Ives in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Sunday 12 February. Photo credit: McMaster Photography. The 19-year-old was the highest KZN finisher in the Elite Men category at the SA National Cup Series opening round held in Helderberg (Western Cape) two weeks ago. He finished fourth overall behind three of the local riders, which included National Champion Stefan Garlicki. “The National went really well, considering,” said McMaster. “I came out of last year a little out of form so coming into this year, I trained harder. I really didn't know what to expect at Helderberg, but arrived there with an open mind. My brother and I worked on the lines the whole weekend and it all pieced itself together and came out so well on race day. We weren’t expecting a good result like that!” he said. Struan’s brother, Cullen, finished sixth overall and first in the Junior Men category. Anticipating this Sunday’s race in the Midlands, McMaster attested that the downhill course is relatively tricky. “It’s a less technical track compared to the other courses, which makes it a much faster track with closer finish times. It’s a track that you have to be very precise on as little mistakes can cost you a lot of time,” he said. McMaster has been racing downhill for the past three years after being introduced to the extreme sport by friends who had attended the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at Cascades MTB Park in 2013. Coming from a motorbike background, they encouraged him to give it a try, and he hasn’t looked back. “I brought a lot of my motorbike racing skills across,” he said. “Now I’m learning how to select the best and fastest racing lines and to better my cornering. I’m getting faster now and progressing as I go. I enjoy the harder, technical stuff, like the rock gardens – they challenge me a bit.” McMaster is currently studying an online course in graphic design when he is not training or racing his bicycle. To enter the Downhill and Enduro races, visit the ROAG online entry portal here: http://roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1932 The first round of the 2017 KZNMTB Gravity Series takes place at St. Ives in the KZN Midlands on Sunday 12 February. Riders are welcome to experience the brand new racing format this year, with the Downhill and Enduro racing taking part on the same day. The Enduro starts at 07:00 and the Downhill starts at 13:00. Spectators are welcome and entrance is free – parking is at The Boma. Come and enjoy a fun day out with your family.
  14. Along with the changes to the Gravity Series format, the 2017 KZNMTB XCO Cup Series will also see adjustments, with the format being based upon the racing of riders against those of equal ability rather than age and gender. Photo: (Jordan Bold) by Paul Botma KZNMTB’s Greg Stedman said: “The XCO format will still allow KZNMTB to generate age group results, so this will not change riders’ ability to be rewarded accordingly at the end of the series.” Stedman mentioned that the reason that this format of racing has been adopted was to encourage more competition, and give riders the opportunity to race against people of equal strength and ability. “We believe this format will be good for riders to improve their cross-country skills and speed as they race against an open field,” he said. On the day, prize giving will award the top 10 riders in each batch every day. The points system is explained below: There will be three batches of racing, with batch C being the slowest riders to the fastest riders being in batch A.Batch C is based upon a 1 hour targeted race time, with Batches A & B being a targeted race time of 1 Hour 15min. [*]Riders are batched based upon their performance in the previous race. The first race will be based on last year’s results and race times. [*]Points are allocated based on your position in your batch and position in your age category. [*]Batch results on the day will determine the prize giving for each event. [*]The points allocation for the series will enable us to determine overall series results and age category results. [*]Nippers and Sprogs will continue to race in a separate race, on a smaller course, and the Sub-Juniors will all race in Batch C due to the race time. See below for the new KZNMTB Provincial Cup Series races:
  15. Along with the changes to the Gravity Series format, the 2017 KZNMTB XCO Cup Series will also see adjustments, with the format being based upon the racing of riders against those of equal ability rather than age and gender. Click here to view the article
  16. KwaZulu-Natal’s MTB Commission has announced the combination of the The 2017 KZNMTB DHI and ENDURO Provincial Cup Series events. The racing aspect will now take place on the same day. Photo (Jason Ryan Geldenhuys) by Paul Botma KZNMTB’s Gravity (Downhill and Enduro) Commissioner Marc Philogene explained the concept behind the change: “Our idea behind this is to grow the sport by exposing more riders and spectators to both disciplines by having the races on the same day, thereby cutting operating costs, giving our sponsors a bigger audience and enhancing spectator value. This way, we will have lots of people here from the morning all through to the afternoon, and them not having to come back the next day to support a separate discipline.” Philogene outlined that this would then mean an even more eventful day, with more spectators and an even greater electric atmosphere for those competing. The spectators will get a greater value-offering, being able to watch both races on the day. There will be dedicated spectator viewing spots, easily accessible for the public, either via spectator shuttles or marked off walking sections to get supporters to certain areas around the track/s. “We are aiming for a crossover in the disciplines – it would be nice if the cross-country riders came along and tried out enduro, we have opened a new social class for those who would like to try it out ” he said. “There will also be a separate class in the downhill event for those with Enduro bikes”. A larger common finish area, as well as a combined prize giving ceremony on the day, will give the sponsors the exposure they deserve. The first KZNMTB Provincial Downhill and Enduro Cup Series event will take place at St. Ives in the Midlands on Sunday 12 February. “It’s always such a great venue, with lots to do there,” said Philogene. “We are hoping to get a Marquee as well, with some music and a good vibe for people to hang around and have a good time,” he added. The first KZNMTB Provincial Downhill and Enduro Cup Series event will take place at St. Ives in the Midlands on Sunday 12 February. Photo: (Tessa Seaward) by Paul Botma For the riders, it’s still a two-day event, with practice on Saturday. Both courses will be open for unofficial practice between 8:30 – 16:00. Please note that there will be no marshals, medics, or shuttles available at unofficial practice. Private shuttling will be allowed, subject to the event’s land owner’s regulations. Anybody found practicing after the time allowed will be disqualified. “We are all getting quite excited for this, its something new, and yes it is a change, but there’s going to be a lot more of a vibe in one day that in the past had to be split into two,” concluded Philogene. Entries for the event are open. For more information, or to enter, click here: http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1932 Late entries will be accepted the day before from 14:00 – 16:00. There will be no late entries accepted on the day of the race.
  17. KwaZulu-Natal’s MTB Commission has announced the combination of the The 2017 KZNMTB DHI and ENDURO Provincial Cup Series events, the racing aspect will now take place on the same day. Click here to view the article
  18. The first event is to be held on 12 February 2017, at St Ives. The venue has been used in the series for the last two years and located close to Lion's River in the KZN Midlands. A new format is being adopted for the KZN DH & Enduro series, where by both races will be held on Sunday, giving participants the whole of Saturday to familiarize themselves with the stages and the DH track. We'll have to wait and see how the new format pans out... Hope to see you all there! St Ives offers some great trails in a really compact area, with great facilities on offer Entries are up on ROAG Key info from the ROAG site: RACE DETAILS:Race Start Time Pre Entry Fee Late Entry FeeDHI- All Categories (SUN) 12:00 R 200,00 R 250,00Enduro - All Categories (SUN) 07:00 R 200,00 R 250,00Enduro & Downhill - All Categories 07:00 R 350,00 R 450,00 REGISTRATION: DATE 11/02/2017 14:00-16:00 12/02/2017 Enduro Chip Collection & DH Number collection only. No DH LATE ENTRIES
  19. Tiaan Odendaal and Kathryn Fourie made it a double when they claimed the fastest times of the day in the Men and Women’s classes at the 2016 KZNMTB DOWNHILL Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 3 July. Both riders had secured the ENDURO Championship titles the day before after completing five stages at Cascades MTB Park. Click here to view the article
  20. The participants competed in two timed runs of the track, with only the second timed run counting for the Championship prize. For Tiaan Odendaal, the Elite Men's victory was sweet at a track that he has become very well accustomed to at the 2016 KZNMTB DOWNHILL Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 3 July. Paul Botma For Tiaan Odendaal, victory was sweet at a track that he has become very well accustomed to. However, the wind blew strongly on their first timed run, which resulted in tackling some sections a little more cautiously. “I didn't jump the table tops on my first run, as we saw David Hogan suffer a crash at that open section due to the strong crosswinds,” said Odendaal. “On my second run, I just went over them and luckily there was no wind to contend with. “It was a tough race, we raced the whole World Cup track from the top to the bottom. I wasn't so enthusiastic about the pedalling but we all had to do it. There was quite a bit of competition with the rest of the guys and with SA Champs coming up soon we’re all quite fit. Having done the Enduro yesterday, I could feel it in my legs today. I was quite tired, but the victory is sweet.” Being awarded second place overall and Junior KZN Downhill Champion, Christopher Philogene’s ramped-up exercise regime paid off at the 2016 KZNMTB DOWNHILL Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 3 July. Paul Botma Being awarded second place overall and first Junior rider home, Christopher Philogene’s ramped-up exercise regime is paying off. Working on his gym and strength fitness of late, Philogene has his eyes set on the World Champs in September and knows all to well that the European tracks require much greater physical strength. “I’m pretty stoked, I’ve been working hard on my training and this was a very long and pedally track, so I’ve been working hard for this,” said Chris. “It’s unlucky that I’ve been sick for the past two weeks but I would like to say thanks to Shane Martin, who has been helping me with my training. “And better luck to my brother because I think he could’ve had a good chance to take the overall title, but Tiaan rode very well today and well done to him. It was a great race.” Racing in the Sub Veteran category, course designer Nigel Hicks was chuffed with his provincial title at the 2016 KZNMTB DOWNHILL Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 3 July. Paul Botma Racing in the Sub Veteran category, course designer Nigel Hicks was chuffed with his provincial title. “It’s always an honour to win KZN Champs. We have a very strong Sub Vet class here. It was unfortunate that we didn't have the greatest turnout today. I’m also really bummed for Mark Millar on breaking his foot, and a lot of the competition was out of it. Still, it wasn’t and an easy coast down but I’m still stoked to take the KZN Champs and the Series title as well. All has been good for me this year!” Speaking about the last minute decision to revert to the familiar World Cup track in the week leading up to race day, Hicks said: “Nick Floros has created a super steep and super technical track on the hill here. Unfortunately, a late decision was made that it was just a little too tough for the youngsters and the women who usually race provincials. I really hope that we can use it for SA Champs in two weeks time. The decision hasn't been finalised yet, but we will hear from the Chief Commissaire soon. We really want to push the sport here for the advancement of Downhill racing.” The fastest woman of the day was Sub Veteran Kathryn Fourie, who had her work cut out for her with young Sub Junior Sabine “Beanie” Thies putting on a strong challenge for the title. The fastest woman of the day was Sub Veteran Kathryn Fourie, who had her work cut out for her at the 2016 KZNMTB DOWNHILL Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 3 July. Paul Botma “We’ve ridden that track a lot, so we’re all quite used to it and no one was really at a disadvantage,” said Fourie. “The only tricky part about today was the wind. As soon as we came out of the gully, there was this crosswind over the table tops so you lost all your speed in order to ride over the table tops, and then (with no momentum) pedal your backside off to get through the pedally section afterwards. I realised after my first run that the times between Beanie and I could be very close in the end, so I really gave it my all.” Thies, the second placed woman overall, said: “It didn't start off the way that I wanted it to. I got a few lines wrong in Pebble Beach and from there it went all right. The pedalling was rather hard, and my legs felt dead after the Enduro yesterday.” Newly crowned Sub Junior KZN Downhill Champion Sabine Thies at the 2016 KZNMTB DOWNHILL Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 3 July. Paul Botma After a successful three events each in the increasingly popular Enduro and Downhill Series races, as well as once-off Championship races in each discipline, presenting sponsor Greg Minnaar Cycles’ Travis Browning was well impressed with how the season unfolded. “Greg Minnaar Cycles has been very pleased with the Enduro and Downhill Cup Series for 2016. The execution of each event was flawless – from the organisers at KZN MTB, course designers, timing systems and finally the participation from riders themselves, it is great to see the depth of talent that is emerging from the KZN MTB scene in both the Enduro and Downhill disciplines. We most definitely have some future champions in the making! “With the majority of our staff being riders themselves, we got to enjoy the social aspect of these events as well as the spectacular trails that played host. I’d like to express a huge thank you to every rider, supporter and spectator that took part, to KZN MTB as well as BOS Sport for keeping our riders hydrated at each event.” Young Gabriel Archer, racing in the Nipper category, at the 2016 KZNMTB DOWNHILL Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 3 July. Paul Botma Summary of Results – KZNMTB Provincial DOWNHILL Championships – 3 July 2016 Overall Men 1.Tiaan Odendaal (Elite) 04:10.53 2.Christoper Philogene (Junior) 04:19.95 3.Jonathan Philogene (Elite) 04:22.07 4.Timothy Bentley (Elite) 04:23.34 5.Kelvin Purchase (Elite) 04:38.24Overall Women 1.Kathryn Fourie (Sub Veteran) 05:45.10 2.Sabine Thies (Sub Junior) 05:50.21 3.Tammy Sturrock (Elite) 06:35.02 4.Lauren Hoyer (Elite) 06:45.78 Elite Men 1.Tiaan Odendaal 04:10.53 2.Jonathan Philogene 04:22.07 3.Timothy Bentley 04:23.34 Elite Women 1.Tammy Sturrock 06:35.02 2.Lauren Hoyer 06:45.78 Junior Men 1.Christoper Philogene 04:19.95 2.Cullen McMaster 04:55.50 Youth Men 1.Jason du Toit (Western Cape) 04:45.45 2.Keira Duncan 04:46.69 (KZN Champ) 3.Shaun Smale 04:59.00 4.Kayle Seaward 05:04.75 Sub Junior Boys 1.Kyle Brand 05:47.90 2.Robert Jessop 05:57.83 Sub Junior Girls 1.Sabine Thies 05:50.21 Sub Veteran Men 1.Nigel Hicks 04:58.43 2.Robert Klopper 05:26.87 3.Jacques Dreyer 05:27.29 Sub Veteran Women 1.Kathryn Fourie 05:45.10 Veteran Men 1.Craig Seaward 05:13.11 2.Alastair Brand 05:53.95 3.Kevin Crookes 05:59.93 Nipper Boys 1.Caleb Archer 08:22.92 2.Gabriel Archer 10:52.61 Sprog Boys 1.Nate Tanner Hall 06:03.68 2.Liam Tyler Hall 06:10.45 3.Keagan Brand 06:15.51
  21. Tiaan Odendaal, Kathryn Fourie and Cherie Redecker posted the fastest times in the Men and Women’s races respectively to claim the gold medals at the five-stage 2016 KZNMTB ENDURO Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at a crispy cold Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 2 July. Click here to view the article
  22. Local rider Tiaan Odendaal was not deterred by the fact that the “top secret” stages were only revealed on race day. ENDURO route designer Mark Sydney’s approach of not revealing the routes in the lead up to the event was an effort to ensure fairness amongst all the riders, particularly to those who were not familiar with the myriad of trails that Cascades had to offer. The riders however, were able to practice the route in the morning before the racing started. Craig Paul, winner of the Sub Veteran Men's class at the five-stage 2016 KZNMTB ENDURO Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at a crispy cold Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 2 July. Photo: supplied “I’m happy to take the win, but I honestly just came out here to have some fun today,” said Odendaal. “I’d probably say that stage five was my favourite because it was the shortest and there were no uphills. Stage one and stage three were quite cool as well; they were quite steep and technical.” With riders being able to tackle the first three stages in any order they choose, almost all of the riders opted to complete the first and third stages early on in order to avoid the long trek back up to the top of Cascades – stage two started lower down the hill with its finish far down the mountain. Sprog Boys winner Liam Tyler Hall at the five-stage 2016 KZNMTB ENDURO Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at a crispy cold Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 2 July. Photo: supplied The second-fastest rider of the day, Tim Bentley, opted to stay at the back and start towards the end of the self-seeded queue in order to hit the trails when they were a little drier. “The top two stages we did in order so as not to waste our energy. That was a hard day; I won’t lie. There was a lot of pedalling in that Enduro. We did five stages and we normally do three or four, so it was tough. I knew the technical stuff really well so I gained all my time there but I lost a lot of time on the pedalling.” Overall Women’s winner to tie with Cherie Redecker, Kathryn Fourie, felt that getting through five stages went a lot quicker than she expected. The race involved riding their bikes to the very top of Cascades during the untimed liaison where they started stages one and three. Relative newcomer to the sport, Tammy Sturrock, at the five-stage 2016 KZNMTB ENDURO Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at a crispy cold Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 2 July. Photo: supplied “There had been some chatter about keeping the trails secret and in the end it worked out better because everyone was at the same disadvantage,” said Fourie. “My approach was to get the two furthermost stages out of the way. I had to go a bit slower in some sections because I had a few close calls early on, but stage four and five were shorter and easy to get to and they were a lot of fun. “I feel stage one and three were my favourite. I really had a good day out and I think I tied with Cherie, which I’m happy about, because she is flipping quick!” Current SA National XCO Champion, Redecker enjoyed her day on the bike and agreed with the sentiments that five stages created a tough day out. “It was such a great change to set off at the start and to see everyone was so chilled and chatting and it’s not a mad rush to get going, as is the case with XCO. This is my second ever Enduro because I had done one previously in Namibia. It’s such a cool vibe because when you finish a stage, you meet up and ride with your group of mates back up to the next stage start. The climbs to the start of stage one and three ere tough, but there is chance to rest in between which adds to the fun.” Nipper winner Omar Wilson (10) has competed in four Enduro races and attests to their popularity saying that each one he has entered has been fantastic. Speaking of today’s Championship race, he said: “Stage one and two were fast and long, stage four I felt a bit tired, but stage five was my best. Everybody was on the last stage and they were all cheering and it was just brilliant.” Nipper Boys' winner Omar Wilson during stage two of five at the 2016 KZNMTB ENDURO Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles that was held at a crispy cold Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 2 July. Photo: supplied When asked what he most enjoyed about Enduro racing, Wilson said: “I enjoy going up and then getting the payback on the downhill – you just chillax and its fast and fun on the downhill.” Relative newcomer to the sport, Tammy Sturrock, thoroughly enjoyed her fourth ever Enduro race. Having only started cycling two years ago, and competing in Enduro events since last year, Sturrock confirmed that fitness is required. “You definitely need fitness, which I didn't have this time. Next year I’m definitely going to plan a little more training. What’s nice about the Enduro is that you can ride with your boyfriend, you can ride with kids and it's a great way to get the families cycling. It’s great to meet up with all your friends afterwards and share stories over a beer or two.” Summary of Results – KZNMTB Provincial ENDURO Championships – 2 July 2016 Overall Men 1.Tiaan Odendaal (Senior) 17:27 2.Timothy Bentley (Senior) 17:43 3.David Hogan (Senior) 18:03 4.Craig Paul (Sub Veteran) 18:11 5.Keira Duncan (Youth) 18:44Overall Women 1.Kathryn Fourie 22:39 1.Cherie Redecker 22:39 3.Sabine Thies 22:43 4.Tammy Sturrock 27:08 Senior Men 1.Tiaan Odendaal 17:27 2.Timothy Bentley 17:43 3.David Hogan 18:03 Senior Women 1.Cherie Redecker 22:39 2.Tammy Sturrock 27:08 3.Lauren Hoyer Junior Men 1.Christoper Philogene 19:02 2.Thomas Jessop 20:23 Youth Men 1.Keira Duncan 18:44 2.Kayle Seaward 19:56 3.Connor Finnis 20:00 Sub Junior Boys 1.Robert Jessop 23:02 2.Matthew Millward 25:56 3.Kyle Brand Sub Junior Girls 1.Sabine Thies 22:43 2.Charne Dreyer 27:21 Sub Veteran Men 1.Craig Paul 18:11 2.Craig Scott 19:15 3.Andy Noble 19:46 Sub Veteran Women 1.Kathryn Fourie 22:39 Veteran Men 1.Patrick Morewood 19:20 2.Craig Seaward 19:53 3.Keith Diederichs 20:01 Master Men 1.Brian Magor 22:31 2.Michael Frost 22:46 Nipper Boys 1.Omar Wilson 24:23 Sprog Boys 1.Liam Tyler Hall 23:22 2.Nate Tanner Hall 23:28 3.Keagan Brand 25:18
  23. Downhill enthusiast, Mark Millar, is keen to hit the hills with horns when he competes in the 2016 KZNMTB Provincial Downhill and Enduro Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles, which takes place this weekend at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 2-3 July. Entries are still open and close at midnight tonight (Wednesday 29 June 2016). Click here to view the article
  24. Recovering from a bout of flu, Millar said, “I’m super keen to do the Downhill race of course, but in terms of the Enduro on the Saturday, I will have to make a call closer to the time as I am suffering with the flu, which isn’t ideal,” he said. Downhill enthusiast, Mark Millar, is keen to hit the hills with horns when he competes in the 2016 KZNMTB Provincial Downhill and Enduro Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles, which takes place this weekend at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 2-3 July.Photo Credit: Paul Botma Millar took the win at the final Downhill instalment of the KZNMTB Provincial Downhill and Enduro Series in the Sub-Vets Men category, ahead of good friend Nigel Hicks. “The competition between us is and always will be super friendly. We do it because we enjoy riding our bikes down hills. To be brutally honest both of us would love to win, but we’ll give it a go and see how it goes,” he said. When chatting about the track, Millar said: “Nige may have some advantage as he was Masters World Champion at that venue. I’ll definitely give it a go and see how it turns out. Regardless of what happens on the day, both of us will be sharing a beer at the end of it.” For Millar, the essence of Downhill racing is “a bunch of like-minded people coming together trying their hardest to go as fast as they can”. “Whether it be in top 10, or not in top 10, it’s about pushing yourself. Maybe it’s getting a corner set up right and going through it as fast as you can, or hitting a jump that you weren’t able to jump before. It all comes down to personal progression on a bike that will help you go faster and ride better.” Although there have been changes to the said Downhill track, the Enduro course is still a secret, according to track designer Mark Sydney. There will be no practicing permitted at all on the Enduro course on Friday. Failure to adhere to this rule will result in time penalties on race day. Practice is only allowed on race day (Saturday 2 July) from 08:00-10:30. A final decision was made on Monday to revert to the 2011 World Cup track for the Downhill Championship event due to logistical reasons. Downhill event organiser, Nigel Hicks, made the post on social media platforms asking other riders to spread the word about the track change as mentioned in our previous story. The track will be trail bike-friendly. The once-off 2016 KZNMTB Provincial ENDURO and DOWNHILL Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles, is taking place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 July respectively. More information and entry details can be found here: http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1730.
  25. Track designer, Nick Floros says that all procedures have been put in place to ensure that the brand new downhill course will bring exhilarating thrills for all of those involved. Floros explained the story behind the change: “Well the guys have been riding the same World Cup Downhill course for the past five years, so they begin to know every inch and every rock and it isn’t doing much to push them and improve their riding.” Floros described the course as “quite technical” and “much steeper” with off camber sections in the mix as well. “It’s completely different to the old one,” he added. Although the Championship event is aimed at the KwaZulu-Natal riders, Floros said that those from the other provinces should definitely get involved and come and ride the track. While seemingly more difficult, Floros ensured that the course is also catered to those not as experienced. “We have focused quite a bit on the Elites in order to challenge them more. However, having said that, for every obstacle there is on the course, there is an easier way around it.” He mentioned the importance of balance between the A and B lines in order to still get a good run in. “I’ve ridden the track on a trail bike, just to put it into context,” he concluded. The Enduro tracks are being taken care of by Mark Sydney, who has so much to say about this year’s Enduro Champs course, but won’t. “The thing is, most of the trails have all been ridden before in Cascades, and when the riders know where the tracks are, the locals in Pietermaritzburg get the ‘advantage’ of riding them in the week and weekends for practice,” he said. This way, Sydney felt that Pietermaritzburg locals wouldn’t have any advantage over other riders across the province, as there will be no information made available until just before the race. “Now, there’s no way that the course will be ‘over-practised’ on, and destroyed before the day of the event, so that the riders are able to have great trails ready for them.” Sydney was firm in his decision not to dispose or give away anything. “I could say that it’s similar to last year’s trails, I could say that it’s completely different, but I’m not going to. Let the riders come and see for themselves, and be surprised on the day,” he added. “We’re hoping to get a solid amount of entries, between 100-120, that would be fantastic,” Sydney concluded. The once-off 2016 KZNMTB Provincial ENDURO and DOWNHILL Championships – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles, is taking place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 July respectively. More information and entry details can be found here: http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1730
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