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  1. This past weekend saw SA Downhill Champs taking place in Pietermaritzburg. In between the practice and race runs we caught a few of the riders and their rigs up on the mountain. And in case you missed it Stefan Garlicki was fastest down the mountain in the Mens and Sabine Thies claimed the Womens title. Also check out the track preview by 2Bro's Racing. Click here to view the article
  2. Top 3 - Men Overall #1 Stefan Garlicki, Solid Strike #3 Johann Potgieter, YT Industries Tues #7 Jonathan Philogene, Lapierre DH Team Top 3 - Ladies Overall #20 Sabine Thies, Specialized #26 Kathryn Fourie, Giant Glory #36 Gabrielle Lanfear, Giant Glory #70 Hennie Blignaut, Turner DHR #71 Marnus Swanepoel, GT Fury 3.0 #59 Joshua Bryant, Santa Cruz V10 #45 Grant Engels, Morewood Izumu #12 Cole De Riddler, Specialized Demo #14 Matthew Minter, Santa Cruz V10 #68 Justin Burns, GT Fury #54 Francois du Toit, GT Fury #53 Wesley Auths, Santa Cruz Bronson #9 Kelvin Purchase, Knolly Podium #61 Andron Allan, Trek #66 Chris Philogene, Lapierre DH Team #64 Benjamin Smit, Giant Glory #62 Dimitri Vaindirlis, Specialized Enduro (And the only 29er on the mountain!) #63 Jed Sarkis, Specialized Session #8 Struan McMaster, Giant Glory #13 Cullen McMaster, Giant Glory #11 Coenie Slabbert, Giant Glory #Unidentified, Commencal #31 Guy Lanfear, Muddy Fox D2 #10 Sharjah Johnsson, Santa Cruz V10 (2015 World Cup Bike) #57 Dylan Williams, Mongoose Boot'R #98 Craig Paul, Santa Cruz V10 #48 David Hogan, Banshee Legend #4 Timothy Bentley, Specialized #19 Gregg Brown, Morewood Makulu #35 Ben Wolfson, #21 Maximillian Wolfson, #29 Zachariah Wolfson #27 Storm Lanfear, Giant Glory #23 Kyle Brand, Trek Session #67 Peter Fogden, Specialized #22 Kim Westbrook, Scott #28 Andrew Wolfson, GT Fury #33 Mark Minter, GT Fury #24 Robert Jessop, Santa Cruz V10 Syndicate #30 Heagan Brand, Specialized Demo #34 Charlotte Wolfson, Specialized Demo #42 Liam Hall, Lapierre #43 Nate Hall, Lapierre #37 Caleb Archer, Kona Stinky
  3. Team Spur’s James Reid fought back a 45-second deficit to claw his way back and take the Elite Men’s victory at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography After an explosive start from Buys, Reid and Alan Hatherly (Kargo Pro MTB Team) settled into an early pace as Buys continued to lay down the hammer. By the third lap, Hatherly was dropping back and Reid realised that he had to pick up his pace to close down the gap to the dominant Buys. “I slowly worked my way up – I didn’t feel bad at all during the race,” said Reid. “When I realised that the gap was quite big, I knew I had to work harder to catch Philip. It was a seven-lap race and I could always see him.” Even though Reid picked up his pace, it felt like he wasn't able to reach the race leader. “The gap between me and Philip kept on getting bigger. I managed to catch him early on the last lap, and on an open climb I managed to pass him.” Speaking on how his race panned out, Reid said: “We’ve had such a big racing block with the World Champs and then World Cup in the last few weeks. Today I was watching Alan because we ran similar splits last weekend. This was a super tight and a super competitive race. “Winning SA Champs means a lot for me. It’s been a hectic year. National Champs is one of those events where you have only one chance to perform well. It doesn’t matter how well you have performed during the season.” The seven-lap race on the dry and dusty 4.6-kilometre circuit had some brutal climbs and a new rock garden section named “The Graveyard” which claimed a few “OTB” (over the bars) crashes. Despite this, Reid’s first words across the finish line were “simply awesome – it was the best version of Cascades we’ve ever had!” Team Scott LCB's Philip Buys put in a dominant performance during most of the seven-lap Elite Men's race at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography A disappointed Buys commented on his performance: “I was maybe a bit too motivated and went out super hard and didn't really back off, and on the last two laps I started cramping a little bit and had to nurture that. James caught up and halfway through the last lap he got past me, and well done to him. It was a hard race and maybe I should’ve gone out a little easier, but I just went all out and left no margin.” The under-23s raced six laps and Julian Jessop (Concept Cyclery Ballito) took top honours in 01:27:21 against Franco Pelser (01:28:09) with Wade Prinsloo (01:31:56) finishing third. Julian Jessop (Concept Cyclery Ballito) took top honours in the under-23 race at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography Jessop said: “I’m very stoked to have won the U23 National Championship title. I’m a first year U23 and it was a really big goal of mine, so I’m happy to be ticking the box. We had six laps of this very demanding course and the climbs were really brutal and I tried to keep the downhills smooth, making sure not to crash and making sure my bike was in the right places and not taking any unnecessary risks. I gave it my all – in the first laps I tried to make a gap and I got a slight gap and managed to keep building it. I had a small crash, but I’m happy that all the hard work has paid off.” Jarrod van den Heever (Contego) planned his attack well in the Junior Men’s race to move from second place into the lead at the Treehouse section of the route, passing Matthew Keyser and extending his lead from there. Van den Heever finished in 01:13:00 with Henry Liebenberg finishing second (01:14:40) and Keyser third (01:15:11). “I tried to conserve myself after realising that I had a 40-second gap on the rest of the field and managed to maintain that until the end of the race. I’m very happy and I’ve waited for this moment for five years, and now I’ve finally got it!” Jarrod van den Heever (Contego) planned his attack well and held his lead until the end of the Junior Men's race at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography The Sub Veteran, Veteran and Masters races also took to the loose and dusty course ahead of the Elite, U23 and Junior races. Brand du Plessis claimed a gold medal in the Sub Veteran race in a time of 01:12:53, with Renay Groustra finishing second (01:13:12) and Dion Froneman in third place (01:16:28). The Western Cape’s Nico Pfitzenmaier won the Veteran Men’s five-lap race in 01:16:56, while local rider Warren Price claimed second (01:18:38) and Hendrik Bester third (01:21:20). Robert Sim put in a dominant performance in the four-lap Masters Men race to claim the National Championship title in a time of 01:03:43. Dirk Maarsingh claimed silver while Paul Cannon claimed Bronze. Veteran Ewan Cochran described how tough the course was. “Racing was very tough out there today with the course getting very loose and sandy on a lot of the corners. What was a firm course a few weeks ago was very loose today. Traction was a big part of today’s race and perhaps tyre selection would’ve been crucial for some of the guys to make the most of the loose conditions. “The Graveyard was okay for me, I only got it wrong once,” he laughed. “It is all about controlling your speed and not going in too fast and trying to stick with the line that you choose to go.” Team Scott LCB's Gert Heyns on the charge to third place during the Elite Men’s race at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography Tomorrow, the Downhill Championships take place on the much talked about new track, which is guaranteed to test the riders’ best abilities! For the STIHL 2016 SA MTB Championships – Programme of events, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/s/20160707_SA-MTB-Champs-2016-Program-1.pdf. For more information, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-mtb-champs/ SUMMARY OF RESULTS – STIHL 2016 South African National MTB Championships - Provisional Results For full results please visit: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-mtb-champs/ (results are expected to be uploaded by this evening after the final races of the day)Elite Men (7 laps) 1.James Reid 01:32:56 2.Philip Buys 01:33:10 3.Gert Heyns 01:36:53 4.Max Knox 01:38:00 5.Matthys Beukes 01:40:19 6.Jan Withaar 01:40:28 7.Alan Hatherly 01:41:45 8.Arno du Toit 01:41:58 9.Stuart Marais 01:44:26 10.Andrew Warr 01:47:29 Under 23 Men (6 laps) 1.Julian Jessop 01:27:21 2.Franco Pelser 01:28:09 3.Wade Prinsloo 01:31:56 Junior Men (5 laps) 1.Jarrod van den Heever 01:13:00 2.Henry Liebenberg 01:14:40 3.Matthew Keyser 01:15:11 Sub Veteran Men (5 laps) 1.Brand du Plessis 01:12:53 2.Renay Groustra 01:13:12 3.Dion Froneman 01:16:28 Veteran Men (5 laps) 1.Nico Pfitzenmaier 01:16:56 2.Warren Price 01:18:38 3.Hendrik Bester 01:21:20 Master Men (4 laps) 1.Robert Sim 01:03:43 2.Dirk Maarsingh 01:10:40 3.Paul Cannon 01:10:55
  4. It must be dubbed as one of the most electrifying races when Team Spur’s James Reid fought back a 45-second deficit behind Scott LCB’s Philip Buys to claw his way back and take the Elite Men’s victory at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain Bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Reid finished in a time of one hour 32 minutes and 56 seconds – 14 seconds ahead of Buys. Buys’ teammate Gert Heyns rounded out the podium in 01:36:53. Click here to view the article
  5. Defending Champion Stefan Garlicki (Investec) descended the mountain slopes of Cascades MTB Park in the quickest overall time to claim the Elite Men's National Title at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Downhill Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 17 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography After the first qualifying run in the morning, there was much chatter amongst the competitors about the brand new track, which was designed by Rio Olympic Games XCO track builder Nick Floros. Local riders tipped the track as providing the tough challenges that the international tracks offer, while both Garlicki and second-placed Johann Potgieter (Team Racing Dudes/YT Industries) were both unanimous that it was one of the most technically challenging tracks that they had ever ridden. Having returned from campaigning in Europe for most of the season for the prestigious event, Garlicki found himself a little off the pace in the qualifying run and further back than he was hoping to be. He qualified fourth fastest and six seconds behind previous multiple National Champion Tiaan Odendaal (JT Designs), who had set the fastest qualifier. Johann Potgieter (Team Racing Dudes/YT Industries) squeezed into second place in the Elite Men's race by a mere whisker ahead of Jonathan Philogene (Lapierre/2 Bros Racing) by 0.17 seconds at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Downhill Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 17 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography Garlicki said: “Somebody told me that I should just go faster, so I just went faster,” he laughed. “I think I just let the brakes go a little bit more each time so it didn’t feel that much different. The first run I feel I just played it a little bit safe. Although it felt good, it was a controlled run, so I just let go a bit in the second one. I knew that I could go faster but I wasn’t sure that I could go seven seconds faster, so it was a surprise.” Potgieter, who squeezed into second place by a mere whisker ahead of Jonathan Philogene (Lapierre/2 Bros Racing) by 0.17 seconds, put his result down to experience. “The qualifiers for World Cups are really difficult and the times are so close with everybody going so fast. It’s just about keeping your cool and getting a good run down to the bottom. The World Cup tracks are very different to the tracks in South Africa. This is one of the best races we’ve done in South Africa in a long time. A really good track, thanks to everyone who helped set it up, I’m stoked.” Jonathan Philogene (Lapierre/2 Bros Racing) claimed a bronze medal in the Elite Men's race at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Downhill Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 17 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography Philogene said: “I haven’t been getting too much practice because I did a lot of coaching on this track, but that allowed me to get to know the track quite well. In terms of the bike, I’m pretty happy and really comfortable on the new bike already so that was absolutely no issue out here today, and it worked well.” When asked about her double victories over the course of the weekend, overall women’s winner Thies said: “It feels good – last year I lost the XCO race so I couldn't get the double win. This year I really wanted it again and yesterday started off on an average note because I was called up last on the start line. I had to fight my way past nine people to get to the front, and once I was in the lead I stayed there until the end. Today was fun for me and I wanted to enjoy myself, and I am very happy to come out with the win.” Sabine Thies claimed her second National Title for the weekend after she won her Cross-country race the day before at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Downhill Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 17 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography Giving her opinion on the track, Thies commented: “I rode the track with Jono (Philogene) on Wednesday and we rode the whole course slowly. This morning, I fell on my first practice run but didn't hurt myself, which was fine. This track is a lot steeper and shorter than the World Cup track and has a lot less pedalling. The steeper sections suit me.” Elite Women’s winner and second woman overall, Kathryn Fourie at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Downhill Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 17 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography Elite Women’s winner and second woman overall, Kathryn Fourie, said: “My seeding run went really well with very few mistakes. Unfortunately on my final run I crashed four times, which ended any chance of winning, but I’m happy that I finished within five minutes.” Speaking about the new downhill track, Fourie said, “This is one of the coolest tracks that I have ridden – it doesn't have massive jumps in it but it was very loose today. We didn't have to contend with six-metre gap jumps but it was very steep. You have to know how to ride these type of conditions too. Essentially this track was very much like a European track – it was very similar to Andorra just shorter. It will definitely lift our level of riding if they can ride on a track like this. I’m impressed with the little guys here today.” In the Junior Men’s category, Christopher Philogene took the title against Cullen McMaster at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Downhill Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 17 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography In the Junior Men’s category, Christopher Philogene took the title against Cullen McMaster, while Shaun Smale claimed the Youth Men victory against Keira Duncan by the closest of margins, winning the title by .044 seconds! The very young riders’ categories were equally hotly contested. Maximillian Wolfson beat Robert Jessop in the Sub Junior Boys race, while Caleb Archer found success against Benjamin Wolfson by 10 seconds in the Nippers’ race. In the Sprogs Boys race, Liam Hall claimed top honours by .618 seconds in a tight race against Keagan Brand. Young Benjamin Wolfson finished second in the Nipper Boys race at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Downhill Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 17 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography In the Masters categories, Craig Paul was the victor in the Sub Veteran challenge placing 40 seconds between him and second rider Cyril Spence. Thane Archer stood atop the Veteran Men’s podium when he descended the track in 03:53.911, while Guy Lanfear comfortably won the Masters Men category. For more information and full results, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-mtb-champs/ SUMMARY OF RESULTS – STIHL 2016 South African National MTB Championships DHI Overall Men 1.Stefan Garlicki (Elite) 02:33.854 2.Johann Potgieter (Elite) 02:35.006 3.Jonathan Philogene (Elite) 02:35.172 4.Tiaan Odendaal (Elite) 02:35.924 5.Timothy Bentley (Elite) 02:37.730 6.Christopher Philogene (Junior) 02:39.461 7.Cullen McMaster (Junior) 02:52.013 8.Struan McMaster (Elite) 02:52.377 9.Gregg Brown (Elite) 02:53.217 10.David Hogan (Elite) 02:56.861Overall Women 1.Sabine Thies (Sub Junior) 04:06.541 2.Kathryn Fourie (Elite) 04:56.405 3.Gabrielle Lanfear (Sub Junior) 05:20.543 4.Kim Westbrook (Elite) 05:32.758 5.Charlotte Wolfson (Sub Junior) 05:54.321 Elite Men (EM) 1.Stefan Garlicki 02:33.854 2.Johann Potgieter 02:35.006 3.Jonathan Philogene 02:35.172 Elite Women 1.Kathryn Fourie 04:56.405 2.Kim Westbrook 05:32.758 Junior Men (JM) 1.Christopher Philogene 02:39.461 2.Cullen McMaster 02:52.013 3.Coenie Slabbert 03:04.999 Youth Men (YM) 1.Shaun Smale 02:58.931 2.Keira Duncan 02:58.975 3.Jason du Toit 03:09.179 Sub Vets Men (SV) 1.Craig Paul 03:02.901 2.Cyril Spence 03:42.320 3.David Drummond 03:43.939 Vets Men (VM) 1.Thane Archer 03:53.911 2.Grant Engels 04:04.920 3.Alastair Brand 04:21.547 Masters Men (MM) 1.Guy Lanfear 04:50.553 2.Mark Minter 06:58.623 Sub Junior Boys (JB) 1.Maximillian Wolfson 03:37.914 2.Robert Jessop 03:50.946 Sub Junior Girls (JG) 1.Sabine Thies 04:06.541 2.Gabrielle Lanfear 05:20.543 3.Charlotte Wolfson 05:54.321 Nippers Boys (NB) 1.Caleb Archer 09:10.609 2.Benjamin Wolfson 09:20.239 Sprogs Boys (SB) 1.Liam Hall 04:13.00 2.Keagan Brand 04:13.618 3.Storm Lanfear 04:17.108
  6. Capetonian Stefan Garlicki (Investec) and Martitzburger Sabine Thies (Greg Minnaar Cycles/Pizzology/Foxhead South Africa) descended the mountain slopes of Cascades MTB Park in the quickest overall times in the Men and Women’s categories to claim the National Titles at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Downhill Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 17 July. For Garlicki (26), it was his second consecutive National Title and for Thies (13), her second National Title for the weekend after she won her Cross-country race the day before. Click here to view the article
  7. The 2016 South African Cross-country mountain bike champs took place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July 2016. In the elite categories it was Mariske Strauss and James Reid who came out tops to be crowned XCO champs. Click here to view the article
  8. Our Bike Hub team was in attendance to cheer furiously, eat pancakes and kick out some cool course previews along with ongoing event coverage over the weekend. Here are a few shots from the Cross-country event. Start / Finish line for the 2016 SA XCO Championship Cherie Redecker is followed down the rock garden by Mariske Strauss during Friday's practice while filming our course preview A lot of time was spent selecting and practising lines as the rock gardens proved challenging for most Kylie Hanekom weighing up her options Jessi Nixon waits for a gap to practise her line Looking down on the race village and a part of the course The world-class course was not short of challenging features Riders warming up before the race With no rain falling leading up to the event it was very dusty Pre-race checks A rider takes a jump in the A-Line The course was marked well with clear signs pointing out A and B-lines Azulde Britz from Team Bestmed-ASG rocking socks to match her Lapierre One of the marshals on course waving a friendly hello Junior Ladies waiting for the start Elite Mens moments before setting off Arno du Toit, Gert Heyns and Phil Buys from team Scott LCB Factory Racing on the start line. James Reid looks calm and focused Cherie Redecker giving the thumbs-up to the camera of Andrew McFadden Sipho Madolo of songo.info awaits the start Mobii timing chips in use for the champs Live streaming was provided by Stream IT 360 A rider lies hidden in the rock garden after falling down. Team Grannygear rider shows how it's done No effort spared to get the right angle Spectators enjoying the action Mariske Strauss takes in the moment after crossing the finish line in first place to become the 2016 SA XCO Champ James Reid celebrating his victory with his team Phil Buys crossing the finish line in second place after leading the race for all but half of the final lap. The top 3 Elite Men on the podium with Mike Bradley A full bucket of timing chips after a successful day of racing.
  9. The Western Cape’s Mariske Strauss (Novus OMX Pro Team) put in a dominant performance to claim the 2016 South African Cross-country National Championship title in the Pro-elite Women’s category at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Click here to view the article
  10. Strauss crossed the finish line in a time of one hour 40 minutes and 24 seconds, with a cushion of seven-and-a-half minutes to second placed rider and teammate Cherie Redecker. Kargo Pro MTB Team rider, Hayley Smith, rounded out the podium in 01:50:16. Mariske Strauss (Novus OMX Pro Team) put in a dominant performance to claim the 2016 South African Cross-country National Championship title in the Pro-elite Women’s category at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography The dry and dusty technical course provided challenges in all of the right areas and tested each rider to the best of their abilities. The Elite Women completed six laps of the 4.6 kilometre track with 160-metres of climbing in fantastic weather conditions. Looking back to her top form, Strauss said: “It was a fabulous day out there, I really enjoyed myself. My legs felt a little bit heavy after the 20-hour trip from Europe, which was to be expected. I was really fortunate to remain injury free and to race my bike to the top again, and fortunate to be back on form. The XCO season is pretty much done now, yet I’m still feeling excited and happy to take the jersey home.” Cherie Redecker (Novus OMX Pro Team) tackles one of the many rock gardens and finishes in second place in the Pro-elite Women's race at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography Kristen Louw (Kargo Pro MTB Team) put in a solid performance in the Junior Women’s race over four laps, finishing in 01:16:06 at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography Kristen Louw (Kargo Pro MTB Team) put in a solid performance in the Junior Women’s race over four laps, finishing in 01:16:06. “It was a hard race for me today, I had to push hard because last time I raced here I fell very hard on my face. This time, I was very positive, thinking that “I can do this” and I had to take revenge. The most challenging part of the course was the climbs, because that was my strong point and I nailed it today.” The stacked Youth Men’s class saw 16-year-old Ryan Conradie (LCB Racing) from Potchefstroom lead the race from 100 metres in until the finish at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography The stacked Youth Men’s class saw 39 riders take to the start to get the best of the four-lap race. 16-year-old Ryan Conradie (LCB Racing) from Potchefstroom led the race from 100 metres in until the finish, always looking over his shoulder to see who was catching him but noticing that the gap he had was ever-increasing with each lap. The 2016 African Continental Champion and 2016 STIHL SA MTB Cup Series Champion said: “It was really fun and really hard. The climbs made it super hard and the descents were fun and flowing. The rock gardens were super hard as well. I had a little fumble with Daniel van der Walt at the start but I managed to get around the first corner in front. I’m very happy with my finish and my bike carried me through to the end without any hassles.” Tiffany Keep (Team PAW) claimed the Youth Women’s title in the three-lap race in a time of 53 minutes at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography Tiffany Keep (Team PAW) claimed the Youth Women’s title in the three-lap race in a time of 53 minutes. She was followed home by Zandri Strydom (00:56:48) and Courtney Smith (01:00:23). 40-year-old Diana Carolin (Cyclelab Tokai) claimed the Veteran Women’s title: “I didn't know if I would be fit enough for this as I have been battling with illness on and off since March. I was really worried about racing against Natalie (Bergstrom) but I see that she sadly had an accident yesterday and didn't start today. I was a bit scared of the course to be honest, this is my first time that I raced at Cascades.” With the technical aspects being amongst her strengths, Carolin enjoyed the challenges of the rock gardens, managing to ride all of them in practice. “I thoroughly enjoyed it. My weakness is generally climbing.” 40-year-old Diana Carolin (Cyclelab Tokai) claimed the Veteran Women’s title at the STIHL 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 16 July. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden/BOOGS Photography The younger age categories started earlier in the day with Luke Moir taking the Sub Junior Boys’ title in 00:46:30, while Sabine Thies secured her National Jersey in the Sub Junior Girls’ race in 00:37:14. Jooste Coetzee and Olivia Penfold won the Sprogs Boys and Girls classes respectively, while Connor Wright won the Nipper Boys race and Hannah Elliott the Nipper Girls race. Tomorrow, the Downhill Championships take place on the much talked about new track, which is guaranteed to test the riders best abilities! For the STIHL 2016 SA MTB Championships – Programme of events, click here. For more information, click here. SUMMARY OF RESULTS – STIHL 2016 South African National MTB ChampionshipsProvisional Results For full results please visit: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-mtb-champs/ (results are expected to be uploaded by this evening after the final races of the day) Pro-Elite Women (6 laps) 1.Mariske Strauss 01:40:24 2.Cherie Redecker 01:47:52 3.Hayley Smith 01:50:16 4.Sarah Hill 01:58:39 5.Rozalia Kubyana -1lap Junior Women (4 laps) 1.Kristen Louw 01:16:06 2.Allison Morton 01:23:15 3.Sabrina van Wyk 01:26:33 Youth Men (4 laps) 1.Ryan Conradie 01:00:47 2.Brendan van Eeden 01:02:11 3.Mulder Oosthuizen 01:03:05 Youth Women (3 laps) 1.Tiffany Keep 00:53:00 2.Zandri Strydom 00:56:48 3.Courtney Smith 01:00:23 Sub Veteran Women (4 laps) 1.Nadine Nunes 01:22:03 2.Liesl Lourens 01:26:47 3.Kylie Hanekom 01:27:00 Veteran Women (4 laps) 1.Diana Carolin 01:19:02 2.Monica Glover 01:25:40 3.Landy Puddu 01:28:40 Master Women (3 laps) 1.Marie du Toit 01:19:11 2.Frances Marsburg 01:22:31 Sub Junior Boys (3 laps) 1.Luke Moir 00:46:30 2.Travis Stedman 00:50:48 3.WG van der Walt 00:51:29 Sub Junior Girls (2 laps) 1.Sabine Thies 00:37:14 2.Chante Olivier 00:38:25 3.Chloe Bateson 00:38:58 Sprog Boys (4 laps) 1.Jooste Coetzee 00:38:45 2.Alec Coleske 00:40:31 3.Nicholas de Bruin 00:40:35 Sprog Girls (3 laps) 1.Olivia Penfold 00:35:18 2.Kayleigh Scholtz 00:36:19 3.Madison Mann 00:37:17 Nipper Boys (3 laps) 1.Connor Wright 00:31:32 2.Francois de Jager 00:31:53 3.Aiden Wright 00:31:41 Nipper Girls (2 laps) 1.Hannah Elliott 00:25:10 2.Kyla Uys 00:27:21 3.Marili Nel 00:27:23
  11. Straight off the plane from the Lenzerheide World Cup, Mariske Strauss and Cherie Redecker of OMX Pro Bike Team have been hard at work training on the SA National MTB Champs XCO track at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg. Watch as Mariske and Cherie give us a guided tour of the National Championship course. Click here to view the article
  12. The SA National MTB Champs XCO races take place on Saturday 16 July and will be streamed live from 9 am on Streamit360.tv here.
  13. The downhill race takes place on Sunday 17 July at Cascades MTB Park. You can also watch practice on Saturday 16 July.
  14. A brand new downhill track has been built at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg for the 2016 South African National Mountain Bike Championships this weekend. Watch local downhill shredders Jonathan and Christopher Philogene from the 2Bro's Downhill Racing Team show us down the track. Click here to view the article
  15. Natalie Bergstrom. Photo credit: QuickPix. In anticipation of the turnout, Cascades Lifestyle Centre is encouraging its tenants to come out of their stores and create promotions for the weekend, and table presentations in the walkways of the centre. The cafés and restaurants are readying themselves for a sporting entourage, welcoming competitors and family and friends with great healthy food options. The South African XCO MTB National Championship will feature cross-country (XCO) mountain bike riders from as young as 11 years old (sprogs) to nippers, youth, sub-juniors, juniors, Elite, under 23’s, sub-veterans, veterans, masters to grand masters (60 years +). Warren Price. Photo credit: QuickPix. Each category will complete a number of laps, usually ranging from 2 laps up to 7 laps. Cross-country in mountain biking is the pinnacle of mountain biking. It is tough and requires fitness and biking skills for obstacles. The toughness of the National Champs will be down to Cascades MTB Park cross-country (XCO) course designer, Nick Floros. Revered for his tough international-class courses, he has created a completely different course for SA Champs this weekend.As with all of Floros’s courses, having the time to practice on the course in advance will be an advantage. Even though it is an advantage, the ladies race at World Champs revealed anything can happen, even with a home-ground advantage. Floros courses are highly respected as he became the first man to test the course for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games when he journeyed to Brazil in 2015. Floros, according to a tweet by International Cycling Union (UCI) technical delegate, Simon Burney, is the man behind the building of the course, which Burney termed “awesome”. Through hard work and a natural instinct for what will challenge and thrill competitors, Floros, a Hilton College Old Boy, has earned his revered reputation as an XCO course designer, with the Cascades MTB Park rated as one of the top three XCO courses in the world by the UCI. The National Downhill Championships boasts a brand new track for Sunday’s event, much to the excitement of the riders. Race organisers also said that special mention needed to go out to Tim Bentley and other local downhill riders who made efforts in the assistance of the track build. To view the STIHL 2016 SA MTB Championships – Programme of events, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/s/20160707_SA-MTB-Champs-2016-Program-1.pdf .
  16. The 2016 South African MTB XCO & DHI National Championships are to be held at the Cascades MTB Park at Cascades Lifestyle Centre in Pietermaritzburg this Saturday and Sunday, the 16-17 July. Click here to view the article
  17. “It has been an honour racing in the SA Champs stripes. The pressure of being the defending Champ is something I am not used to but I know I can defend it,” she said. Current XCO Elite Women’s Champion, Cherie Redecker has enjoyed the pride felt from wearing the National Championship jersey over the past year, and hopes to keep it in her possession for the next season when she tackles the 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 16-17 July. Photo: Cycling SA. The OMX Pro MTB Team rider hasn’t had the easiest week of preparation, having fallen ill in Lenzerheide over the past week, but has been focusing on healing and rest. “It is all part of racing and you need to work with what comes your way and not stress about what you can’t control,” she added.Redecker took part in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Enduro Championships recently, which helped her take the pressure off, but kept the focus on the enjoyment of cycling. “Each year has been an improvement and I feel I still haven’t reached my full potential,” she said. Living in KwaZulu-Natal and close to Cascades MTB Park has been great for Redecker and has helped her work on her fears, which she wouldn’t usually have time to work on when just there for a race. “Now that I have gotten over those fears I feel my technical riding skills have improved,” she added. Although there are perks of living close to the course, Redecker reiterated the unpredictability of cross-country racing. “Nick (Floros) has created a completely different course for SA Champs and having had time to practice it in advance has helped. Even though it is an advantage, the ladies race at World Champs showed anything can happen, even if you have a home-ground advantage,” she said. Redecker chatted about the friendly competition between herself and teammate and 2014 National Champion, Mariske Strauss: “It’s been great being in a team with Mariske. I am so happy for her that she is back on form and having issue-free races. It makes me excited for SA Champs because we get to push the limits and create some exciting racing.” The National Downhill Championships boasts a brand new track for Sunday’s event, much to the excitement of the riders. Race organisers also said that special mention needed to go out to Tim Bentley and other local downhill riders who made efforts in the assistance of the track build. The 2016 SA National XCO and DHI Championships take place at Cascades MTB Park on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July respectively. Entries are open and close at midnight on Tuesday 12 July. To enter, click here: https://entries.cyclingsa.com/events/7761-sa-xcodhi-champs. To view the STIHL 2016 SA MTB Championships – Programme of events, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/s/20160707_SA-MTB-Champs-2016-Program-1.pdf. Riders please note - please check the start times on the latest Programme of Events as they have changed. For more information, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-mtb-champs/
  18. Current XCO Elite Women’s Champion, Cherie Redecker has enjoyed the pride felt from wearing the National Championship jersey over the past year, and hopes to keep it in her possession for the next season when she tackles the 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 16-17 July. Click here to view the article
  19. The 2015 XCO SA Championship went down this past weekend at the ever popular town of Stellenbosch, with loads of spectators flocking there to show their support despite the bitterly cold morning temperatures. The 4.8km Coetzenburg loop was mostly the same as for the WP Championship, however course designers Hanno Lategan and Corrie Muller added in a number of A-line / B-line options to step up the difficulty as this was a National event. Some A-line options featured very technical rock drops, a steep log chute onto the start / finish area and a super tricky rock garden which caught out a number of riders. Because of heavy torrential downpours the Friday afternoon and evening, the race director kept all A-lines closed until 12pm, leaving just enough time for the mud to dry out a bit and reduce the chances of injury. Click here to view the article
  20. A total of 20 different categories meant riders from all shapes, sizes and ages signed up for the day. First off would be the nippers and sprogs with an early 8am start, with the last category of Elite men starting at 2pm. Most notably would be the Youth and Junior men's categories, totalling 34 and 37 entries respectively, meaning XCO racing in South Africa has a very bright future. As for the Elite women's racing. It was a very small lineup of riders on the start line, and with team OMX rider Cherie Vale fresh of the World Cup circuit in Europe, it was an easy win with a margin of just under 7 minutes to second place. Contrasting to the women's race, Team RECM's James Reid took an impressive sprint finish win over team Kargo Pro MTB's Alan Hatherly, so close that the times registered as exactly the same. Having the SA XCO Champs in Stellenbosch was fantastic. The home town support was awesome and motivated me to push harder. Despite half the women's field being out due to injury/flu I focused on racing against time. The course was muddy and slippery in sections but the storm from the previous day hadn't done too much damage. As a precaution, the A-lines were closed for our race. I felt slow at the start but soon found my rhythm, making up time especially on the climbs with my super light Silverback SBC 3.0. It was an exhilarating feeling taking the National Championship title and something that I have been working towards for the past 3 years. I couldn't have done it without all the support and I am very grateful to be part of the Novus OMX Pro Team. Cherie Vale // Novus OMX Pro Team I'm super relieved to have won the race, but it really was not easy. I felt horrific for the first half of the race, but kept giving it everything. It didn't feel like I went any faster in the latter half of the race, more like the others slowed down. I got to them, attacked with one last roll of the dice and managed to draw Alan Hatherly and Travis Walker out. From there it was a flat out fight to the line and thankfully I got the hole shot once down on the field and finished it off. James Reid // Team RECM Alec Coleske - 1st Nipper Boys Marco Strydom - 2nd Nipper Boys Hendre De Villiers - 3rd Nipper Boys Olivia Penfold - 1st Nipper Girls Jeanine Badenhorst - 3rd Nipper Girls Luca Ruwiel - 1st Sprog Boys Ben Du Plessis - 2nd Sprog Boys Justin Chesterton - 3rd Sprog Boys Chante Olivier - 1st Sprog Girls Chloe Bateson - 2nd Sprog Girls Marjone Strydom - 3rd Sprog Girls Megan Bircher (far left) - 1st Sub Junior Girls Sabine Thies - 2nd Sub Junior Girls Kelsey Van Schoor - 3rd Sub Junior Girls Luke Moir - 1st Sub Junior Boys Cwynton Collett - 2nd Sub Junior Boys Daniel Van Der Walt - 3rd Sub Junior Boys Cherie Vale warming up. Cherie Vale - 1st Elite Women Candice Neethling - 2nd Elite Women Hanli Cilliers - 3rd Elite Women Hayley Smith - 1st Under 23 Women Sarah Hill - 2nd Under 23 Women Rozalia Kubyana - 3rd Under 23 Women Frances Du Toit - 1st Junior Women Genevieve Van Coller - 2nd Junior Women Kristen Louw - 3rd Junior Women Tiffany Keep - 1st Youth Women Danielle Strydom - 3rd Youth Women Neil Bradford - 1st Veteran Men Warren Price - 2nd Veteran Men Jeroen Swart - 3rd Veteran Men Corrie Muller - 1st Master Men Jimmy Redman - 2nd Master Men Guy Lanfear - 3rd Master Men Linus Van Onselen - 1st Grand Master Men Clive Gaven - 2nd Grand Master Men Johann Trotzky - 2nd Youth Men Chris Du Plessis - 3rd Youth Men Brand Du Plessis - 1st Sub Vet Men Dan Fowler - 2nd Sub Vet Men Matthys Koekemoer - 3rd Sub Vet Men Elite men start line. Philip Buys leads out the Elite men. Travis Walker - 3rd Elite Men Philip Buys - 5th Elite Men Alan Hatherly - 2nd Elite Men Rourke Croeser - 4th Elite Men James Reid - 1st Elite Men Top 3 Elite women: 1. Cherie Vale - 01.36.47 5 2. Candice Neethling - 01.43.56 5 3. Hanli Cilliers - 01.56.32 Top 3 Elite men: 1. James Reid - 01.28.41 2. Alan Hatherly - 01.28.41 3. Travis Walker - 01.29.05 Full results can be found here. Thanks to our sponsors: Novus Holdings, Subaru Cape Town, Sappi, Mondi, PWC, Durbanville Commercial Printers (DCP) for making this event such a success.
  21. Cross-country (XCO)Junior Frances du Toit Julian Jessop Marco Joubert U23 Alan Hatherly Gert Heyns Elite Mariske Strauss Cherie Vale James Reid Rourke Croeser Philip Buys William Mokgopo Sipho Madolo Downhill (DHI)Junior Jonathan Philogene Christopher Philogene Elite Greg Minnaar Andrew Neethling Tiaan Odendaal Stefan Garlicki Samuel Bull Congratulations on your selection and we wish you every success.
  22. Cycling South Africa’s Mountain Bike Commission has great pleasure in announcing that the following riders have been selected to represent South Africa at the 2015 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships in Vallnord, Andorra, from 31 August to 6 September. The following riders have been selected according to the 2015 CSA-MTB Selection Criteria. Click here to view the article
  23. Words and photos by Eric Palmer. Low & behold Saturday morning was clear as a bell! So surprised, but excited to get on the slopes & see how much of a mud-fest we were in for. I hopped in with Pieter & got a lift up with the marshals, at first I thought we were going to have a rerun of the last Provincial at Cascades with bikes getting clogged up, but luckily the track was surprisingly solid. There was a thin slick layer of mud on the hard pack in places, which made keeping any lines tricky. Saturday was practice from 10am to 4pm. A cautious start for most, seeing where it was safe to push it a bit and where it was too slick to & the usual line checking. As the day went on the speed went up... unfortunately so did the crashes. The dirt went from slippery to soft & was difficult to read. Half way through, some berms were starting to take serious strain. A massive hole in a specific one was said to be caused by the Palmer effect, but we are still awaiting confirmation on that theory. Guys saw me shooting & turned on the steeze & after a few minutes the entire top half of the corner was MIA. Chris Nixon was the first to find out the hard way, followed closely by Devon Katzen & Dane Olsen. From there on out I was cashing in on crash shots while the team putting the candy tape up warned approaching riders. The section on the ridge above the "mine shaft" was probably the most dangerous place to lose your line. Slick, even to walk on & a super steep slope on your right... there were a few catch nets, but not something you'd want to be the test dummy for. From there it was fast & flowy to the road gap & then through the young burnt pines with a few jumps & a rock drop to the finish. Having 2 days of riding meant I could tackle the track in sections rather than cover it all in one day, so I stuck to the middle section from the shuttle drop to road gap for day 1. After the shuttles had stopped I packed up & took a slow stroll back to the gate with a friend & had to stop & grab a few tourist shots & still couldn't believe how lucky we were to have such a good day after the storm just a few hours before. Sunday was game time! Woke up to another amazing day, a few clouds, but nothing threatening to spoil our fun. An earlier start with a few practice runs until 9:30am, then it was time to line up at the start for seeding runs. Only a few riders in racing was put on hold. Someone crashed high up on track, not sure who, or exactly what happened, but was hearing that he dislocated his elbow & was rushed to hospital, hope it's not too serious & he has a quick recovery! After he was sorted out the racing was back on & luckily without any more serious land claims. Going through the list, riders were getting quicker & quicker & giving us an idea of the times it was going to take to win. Stefan Garlicki, Theo Erlangsen, Tiaan Odendaal & Sam Bull were all in the low 2min 20's & we were hoping for those times to get pushed a bit in their race runs. The sun was popping out & hiding behind a few clouds just to pop out again a few seconds later, so the track was slowly drying & getting a bit more grippy. Some people were thinking rain was on the way & that we needed to hurry up before it hit, but looking at the sky I got a bit confused... there were a few white puffy clouds, but nothing looking like it was about to spoil our fun, my only explanation was that they were standing too close to some suspect burnt fynbos (natural cape vegetation). Unfortunately the wind was also starting to pick up & with no trees on the top half of the track meant there was no hiding from it, luckily it didn't affect the guys too much & we got the race runs underway. Most riders were upping their times by a few seconds, so the chance of us seeing a sub 2:20 was looking more & more possible. 2nd last rider down Theo was the first to break it & got himself down in 2:18,98. Then it was time to bite nails down to the skin & see what the fastest qualifier Stefan could put together. He has been notoriously unlucky with mechanical failures in his race runs in the past, but not today! He came down to the finish looking smooth & pinned. Silence as he crossed the finish line... 2:17,14! He had done it! The fastest man down a mountain in South Africa! Up to the road gap for celebrations & prize giving. An awesome weekend of racing once again, thank to the WP DH team & all the sponsors, Monster Energy, Stihl, Subaru Cape Town, Novus Holdings, cSixx, Powasol, Cycling South Africa, National Lottery, Orion Hotels, Kargo, Great Time, X-Fusion, Holdfast & Joya Apples. Mega Podium with the Top 3 from each category. Results Here Congrats to Stefan for taking the win!
  24. Winter has delivered so many gorgeous days this year, but when it decides to rain... it POURS! Friday was one of those days & DH racing was not sounding like the best of ideas, the roads became rivers & the freshly burnt pine plantations had turned into a mush of mud & ash. A few riders braved the storm & got a few runs in, but my window weather report was not making photography a look like a good idea. The online reports were showing clear all day Saturday & Sunday, but on Friday that felt very far fetched, especially in a valley that has some of the highest recorded rainfall in the country. Click here to view the article
  25. Defending South African Cross Country Champion and Full Dynamix/USN’s Rourke Croeser will be back in the country to defend his national title at the 2015 Stihl South African Mountain Bike Championships presented by Subaru Cape Town/Novus Holdings on Saturday 18 July © Andrew Mc Fadden/Gameplan Media Cycling SA has noted the highest level of pre-entries recorded in the last five years and with late entries still to be factored in, the overall tally stands at 293 participants with a recent record of 245 pre-entries for the XCO and 48 for the DHI. Racing gets underway on Saturday with a variety of cross country clashes with the likes of Olympian Philip Buys (Scott Factory Racing powered by LCB), defending national champ Rourke Croeser (Full Dynamix/USN) and recent Stihl SA MTB Cup Series winner Alan Hatherly (Kargo Pro MTB), amongst many others, set to lock horns in the elite men’s clash that gets underway at 14h00 and is preceded by the elite women’s race at 10h00. With the loss of defending champion and team mate Mariske Strauss, Novus OMX Pro Team's Cherie Vale will take the mantle of favourite when the national cross country championships get underway at the 2015 Stihl South African Mountain Bike Championships presented by Subaru Cape Town/Novus Holdings on Saturday 18 July © Andrew Mc Fadden/Gameplan Media While Hatherly has enjoyed good form of late, the youngster will be up against it as his more experienced counterparts look to not only make the national title their own but earn vital UCI points ahead of next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Women’s defending champ Mariske Strauss (Novus OMX Pro Team) has sadly been forced out of this year’s national showdown due to an ankle injury that has plagued her for the better part of the 2015 season. With some solid international form under his belt Kargo Pro MTB's Alan Hatherly will have his work cut out for him when he races in the elite cross country category at the 2015 Stihl South African Mountain Bike Championships presented by Subaru Cape Town/Novus Holdings on Saturday 18 July © Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media Strauss’ absence may well open the door for her Novus OMX Pro Team teammate Cherise Vale, who is another to have enjoyed a good run of form of late, while Olympian Candice Neethling (Free Cycles/Pam Golding Properties) and Under-19 rising star Bianca Haw (Specialized SA/Red Bull) will also be eyeing a positive national champs showing. Sunday sees competition shift to the trails of the renowned Jonkershoek mountains as the adrenalin seeking downhill stars go head to head. With defending women's cross country champion Mariske Strauss out of the running Specialised/Red Bull's Bianca Haw could see an opening at the 2015 Stihl South African Mountain Bike Championships presented by Subaru Cape Town/Novus Holdings on Saturday 18 July © Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media While international sensation Greg Minnaar won’t be on this year’s start line, defending national champion Tiaan Odendaal is relishing a shot at a fourth consecutive national crown having banked good form during his victorious Stihl SA MTB Cup Series effort. Three time defending South African downhill champion Tiaan Odendaal is positive he can retain his title at the upcoming 2015 Stihl South African Mountain Bike Championships presented by Subaru Cape Town/Novus Holdings on Sunday 19 July © Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media March’s devastating fires that ripped through the Western Cape region left organisers having to build a near brand new course, something that has Odendaal excited ahead of this weekend’s action.Despite the new layout, Odendaal is confident he will be able to call on his healthy racing experience in the region to safely navigate the new course and along with his recent good form should prove to be the man to beat. Odendaal is however unlikely to have things all his own way as the likes of Sam Bull (Sportsnut DH Team) and Stefan Garlicki (Investec/Solid Reverse Factory Racing) also look to stamp their authority on proceedings and challenge for national honours. Bull and Garlicki have returned from stints in Europe where they would have been racing against some of the best riders in the world. The experience gained there should prove to be invaluable when the national championships get underway on Sunday. While the atmosphere of the world class race village and top end racing is set to be hot, the cold front expected to hit the Western Cape this weekend may add an extra element to proceedings with the cold and wet conditions being added challenges competitors will have to overcome in their effort to reign supreme. Mountain biking fans can tune in to the live streaming channel to watch all the action unfold in the Elite Men and Women’s XCO races on Saturday as well as Sunday’s DHI race via http://www.cyclingsa.com/community while more information can be found at www.cyclingsa.com
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