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  • Pretoria Boys High hosts 24 – hour mountain bike challenge

    Posted on August 21st, 2014 admin No comments
    The endurance of Gauteng mountain bikers will be tested to the full when the Pretoria Boys High School 24-Hour Challenge takes place on Saturday, September 6. Photo: Hendrik Steytler Photography

    The endurance of Gauteng mountain bikers will be tested to the full when the Pretoria Boys High School 24-Hour Challenge takes place on Saturday, September 6. Photo: Hendrik Steytler Photography

    The grit and determination of the Gauteng mountain biking fraternity will be tested to the full when the Pretoria Boys High School 24-Hour Challenge takes place on Saturday, September 6. The fourth edition of this endurance event, presented by Barden Tyres, will once again roll out across the 85-acre campus in Brooklyn, southeast of the city centre.

    According to organiser Wynand de Villiers of ASG Events, up to 500 participants are expected to push the limits of their mental and physical staying power. “It’s a unique experience – taking on a 24-hour challenge within the city limits,” said De Villiers. “The course covers the school estate, taking riders between the historic school buildings, around the pristine sports fields and through its 100-year-old forests.”

    He said solo riders and relay teams of two to eight participants would be required to cover as many laps of the 6km circuit as possible in the allotted timeframe. Last year’s male and female solo winners were Christo van den Heever and Nicky Booyens. “Aside from negotiating the technical sections, riders have to manage their food and hydration levels and deal with factors such as fatigue and changing temperature and light conditions.”

    De Villiers said a six-hour schools’ challenge would be introduced this year in memory of former matric pupil and promising national cyclist Adam Reyneke, who was killed on a training ride four years ago. The Spur kids’ races, for ages three to eight, would keep participants’ younger siblings entertained, he said. “The kiddies’ track will also be open after their race, so they can have fun throughout the event. In addition, we’re launching a 24-hour corporate team challenge.”

    As far as incentives were concerned, De Villiers said they would be giving away R10 000 worth of prizes to schools as well as products from Rudy Project and other items courtesy of the title sponsor. “Every entrant also receives a free T-shirt and event Buff. There’s a host of lucky draw prizes too, including helicopter trips and hampers.” De Villiers said the public were invited to enjoy the carnival atmosphere of the annual school fundraiser, which would include a beer tent, food stalls, children’s play area, musical entertainment and the screening of the Springbok rugby test.

    A camping site will be provided for tents, bush trailers and camper vans. Enter at www.asgevents.co.za before September 2. For more information, e-mail eventsupport@asgworld.co.za or phone 076 621 1807. Alternatively, follow @PtaBoysHighMTB or find 24hr Pretoria Boys High School MTB Challenge on Facebook.

     

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  • Joburg’s oldest mountain bike race revives “The rider experience”

    Posted on August 20th, 2014 admin No comments
     In keeping with the ‘old-school’ mountain bike race theme, high quality trophies will be awarded to top finishers in the various categories at the Eqstra Spring Classic on Sunday, 7 September.


    In keeping with the ‘old-school’ mountain bike race theme, high quality trophies will be awarded to top finishers in the various categories at the Eqstra Spring Classic on Sunday, 7 September.

    The 19th edition of the Eqstra Spring Classic, Joburg’s oldest mountain bike race that takes place on Sunday, 7 September, has pledged to focus fully on ‘the rider experience’ in order to maintain its status as one of Gauteng’s favourite races.

    With the continued phenomenal growth of mountain biking making it one of the most popular sports in the province, the Gauteng race calendar has filled up with new events in recent years, with organisers looking to capitalise on the sport’s popularity. A full calendar means a lot more choice for mountain bikers, but there’s a widespread belief, particularly among experienced mountain bikers, that many of the new events miss the mark in terms of delivering a complete mountain biking experience.

    “I actually competed in the first Spring Classic back in 1995, when mountain bike racing was still small and event organisers went all out to offer great value for money and a balanced, challenging race route,” recalls Richard Beswick, a former professional racer and the organiser of the Eqstra Spring Classic. “The Spring Classic, has endured because it’s always remained focussed on ‘the rider experience’ and that focus will continue at this year’s event.”

    A reasonable entry fee, a quality participant goodie bag, a safe, well-marked route with a variety of natural obstacles in the countryside and a choice of distances are among the elements Eqstra Spring Classic the entrants can expect for next month’s Eqstra Spring Classic. There is also strong focus on the pre-and post-race periods, ablution facilities, parking, rider communication and refreshment/nourishment throughout the day.

    “Riders return to this event year after year because they know they’re getting a great-value and exciting mountain biking experience. We’ve modernised certain elements of the race and the venue has changed since the early editions, but old-school mountain bike values remain the core focus of the Spring Classic,” added Beswick. This is the fifth year that Eqstra is the title sponsor of the Spring Classic. Eqstra’s core business is the distribution, long-term lease and rental of mobile capital equipment and the provision of related value added annuity services to clients in the construction, mining and commercial sectors. The Spring Classic will once again incorporate some of Eqstra’s products into the race route for something a little different.

    According to Beswick, the main 45km race, which starts and finishes at Avianto, Muldersdrift, just north of Randburg, will deliver a little bit of everything that mountain bikers seek in their quest for a rewarding race. “The Avianto trails, which are highly rated in the mountain bike market, will form the foundation for the race route, but we’ve added a whole lot of extra elements in order to ensure the route offers a balanced, fresh challenge for both fit riders and those just wanting to earn another finisher’s medal,” explained Beswick.

    “The 20km and 10km distances also on offer will be suitably designed for the less-fit, less-skilled riders, but will still ensure a rewarding ride,” he added. There is a 1200-rider limit on the event to ensure minimal congestion and maximum enjoyment. Beswick urges riders to get their entries in soon to avoid disappointment. For more information on the Eqstra Spring Classic, or to enter online, visit www.springclassic.co.za

     

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  • First bicycle technical training academy launches in South Africa

    Posted on August 12th, 2014 admin No comments
     Since opening in January 2013, Torq Zone Cycles has raised the standard of bicycle repair and maintenance in South Africa.


    Since opening in January 2013, Torq Zone Cycles has raised the standard of bicycle repair and maintenance in South Africa.

    Cycling has become the fastest-growing sport in South Africa and has created great growth opportunities for our economy over the past few years. However, there has been a complete lack of formalised and structured training of bicycle mechanics in South Africa.

    Torq Zone, South Africa’s first concept bicycle workshop, today announced its partnership with the Association of Cycling Traders (ACT) UK, to establish the Torq Zone Academy in Gauteng. Torq Zone and ACT UK signed a five year exclusive agreement for the Torq Zone Academy to be the licenced training provider of their Cytech™ Technical Scheme in South Africa.

    “Our partnership with ACT gives us the opportunity to adopt much needed skills in our industry and it enables us to present internationally accredited Cytech™ Technical courses right here in South Africa,” said Dirk Oerlemans, owner of Torq Zone.

    Cytech™ Technical courses will now be presented exclusively in South Africa through the newly established Torq Zone Academy which is scheduled to open in Centurion in October 2014.

    “Now, for the first time in South Africa, there will be an institution where bicycle mechanics can go and learn their trade, ultimately to become a professional bicycle Technician and get local and international recognition for it. Effectively this will put the occupation of a Bicycle Technician on the map and provide much needed recognition,” said Graeme Stickells, partner of the Torq Zone Academy.

    The occupation “Bicycle Mechanic”, against which a National Qualification could be developed, is recorded on the Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO), a framework listing all occupations in South Africa. Torq Zone intends to take the lead in developing a National Qualification for bicycle technicians which will be registered on the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF).”

    As a value-add, Torq Zone Academy sees itself partnering with social development schemes to offer skills upliftment opportunities for previously disadvantaged individuals. The company further plans to introduce a programme where cycling enthusiasts themselves can also affect positive change through their “Adopt a Technician” programme.

     

     

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  • Silverstar Mountain Bike Challenge shines this spring

    Posted on August 12th, 2014 admin No comments
    Riders will enjoy some great mountain biking when one of the first spring races, the Pennypinchers Silverstar Mountain Bike Challenge, rolls around on September 6.

    Riders will enjoy some great mountain biking when one of the first spring races, the Pennypinchers Silverstar Mountain Bike Challenge, rolls around on September 6.

    Gauteng mountain bikers will have a chance to stretch their legs and shake off the winter cobwebs with the first of the spring races near Krugersdorp on September 6. The Pennypinchers Silverstar Mountain Bike Challenge offers true mountain biking in the heart of suburbia with spectacular views of the City of Gold. Race organiser Wynand de Villiers believes it is this scenic contrast that makes it one of the most picturesque routes anywhere in South Africa.

    “Although you’re very close to the city, you can truly feel part of nature and be spoiled with unsurpassed views and great riding terrain.”The out-and-back route takes riders from the casino through a series of neighbouring farms that include the well-known Laurentia Flower Farm and onto King’s Kloof Trails.With the Hero Adventure team having taken over King’s Kloof, the 7th edition of the West Rand race will be the first opportunity for riders to enjoy the trail upgrades that have been under wraps until now.

    According to route director Darren Herbst, the existing trails have been remoulded and a couple of new additions inserted.“The route hasn’t changed much for a number of years and I think that’s what makes this event so special,” said Herbst. “It’s all about experiencing awesome routes with memorable features, a great atmosphere and the feeling of accomplishment when you finish. People come and ride the event to relive that experience year after year.”

    With the advent of Hero Adventure Park King’s Kloof, he said the trails were sure to be of an even better quality than in previous years.“Hero and ASG have a close relationship and together we are working hard to ensure that the 2014 edition will be more enjoyable than ever.”He said his team were expecting more than 1 500 riders to turn out for the event, which would once again comprise the 40km feature race and 20km short-course options.

    “There’s a definite demand for fun, family-oriented races. Events are about escaping from everyday pressures and I think we all want to take part in races that make us forget about the work week and stress.”As route director, Herbst said his personal objective was to offer something for everyone. “There are most definitely cyclists who look for certain types of distances and difficulty, and we try to cater for that.

    “Then there are those who want a good challenge to make their training worthwhile, and then there are the average Joes who are just out there for a great day.” Although no marathon distance is currently on offer, he advised riders not to underestimate the challenge of the shorter courses.“The distances might not be that long but they are by no means easy, especially the 40km. We have attracted a number of pros in the past and I don’t think that will change.”

    Catering for the more seasoned cyclist, the 40km features a monster climb, long, hairy descents on old ox wagon trails and rocky single-track sections. “It’s something truly special. It has some serious climbs and technical sections that can only put a smile on your face. “The descents are fast and winding, so you need to keep your wits about you. Look forward to giving your legs a good workout, but it’s all worth it.” The 20km route, on the other hand, would suit every type of rider, said Herbst. “There are no seriously technical sections but there is more than enough single-track and features along the way to ensure a great day out.”

    Incorporating single and jeep track, forest trails and a couple of small hills to keep the juices flowing, he said there promised to be something for everyone. Registration takes place from 10am to 4pm on the Thursday before the race at Cycle Lab Fourways and between 10am and 4pm the following day at Leewee’s Cycles at Featherbrooke Village Shopping Centre.

     

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  • Race brings development MTB riders closer to dream

    Posted on August 11th, 2014 admin No comments
    Diepsloot Riders before the start of this mornings first stage.

    Diepsloot Riders before the start of this mornings first stage.

    146 kilometres, three stages and possibly the most picturesque trail ride in South Africa – this is the annual Storms River Traverse, currently taking place over three days in the magnificent setting of the Storms River Village.

    Sponsored by leading asset management group 36ONE, the event plays host not only to riders who want to enjoy the beauty of the trail around the plantations, coastline and mountains, but also to those who see it as a platform from which to catapult their dreams.

    Dryland Event Management, organiser of the Traverse, has teamed up with sport nutrition engineers 32Gi to afford two riders from the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy the opportunity to cycle in this year’s event. Tsepo Nyirenda, who partnered with Clayton Duckworth in the 2014 Absa Cape Epic, will this time be mentoring fellow DMA member Tendani Mahole.

    Nyirenda is currently training under The Saxon Hotel’s Executive Chef David Higgs, whom he met at the Cape Epic. Mahole is also pursuing a passion for food as a full-time chef. Higgs believes that Nyirenda will be able to use his experience from the Epic to guide first-time rider Mahole through the threeday Traverse. The hope is that the partnership will also empower the latter with the necessary multi-stage event skills and experience to share with his fellow Academy riders back home.

    “32Gi is excited to be involved in the development of cycling in South Africa through the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy and we always look forward to providing additional opportunities for their riders to be exposed to amazing stage races through our partnership with Dryland Event Management. We wish Tsepo and Tendani the best of luck on this adventure!” said Pippa Hunt from 32Gi.

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  • Last chance to cycle for cancer

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 admin No comments
    Mountain bikers and roadies have one last chance to sign up to cycle for cancer before entries for the Powerade Bestmed Lost City Cycle Festival close at 11pm on Tuesday evening. Photo: Jetline Action Photo

    Mountain bikers and roadies have one last chance to sign up to cycle for cancer before entries for the Powerade Bestmed Lost City Cycle Festival close at 11pm on Tuesday evening. Photo: Jetline Action Photo

    Mountain bikers and roadies have one last chance to sign up to cycle for cancer before entries for the Powerade Bestmed Lost City Cycle Festival close at 11pm on Tuesday evening.

    The 17th edition of the event takes to the roads and offroad trails around Sun City on August 16 and 17.

    Dubbed “Cycle 4 Cansa”, the proceeds from the weekend festival of cycling go to the North-West Province branch of the Cancer Association of South Africa, which runs various screening and prevention campaigns in the area.

    According to Wynand de Villiers of ASG Events, the race has raised well over R3 million for the fight against the disease and more than 5 000 participants are expected to do their bit this year.

    The festival kicks off with the 115km Lost City Classic and shorter road races on the Saturday, while the Lost City Mountain Bike events bring the weekend to a close on the Sunday.

    “The road race follows an undulating course on quiet roads that are very well policed by the local traffic authorities,” said De Villiers.

    “Riders get a taste of the local Bafokeng culture, as they pass the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, traditional village and king’s palace.”

    As the first of the spring classics and one of the premier seeding events for the Cape Argus Momentum Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, he said the race drew all the top pro teams in the country.

    Last year, Argus champion Nolan Hoffman scooped the laurels for Team Abantu in a bunch sprint.

    For social riders, De Villiers said there would be a less taxing 66km alternative, with 12km and 1km options for children.

    “The big news on the mountain bike side is that the 50km feature race will return to the 25km circuit-based route that was first introduced four years ago.

    “Feature race participants will do two circuits of the short course but with some additional technical challenges thrown in on the second loop.”

    De Villiers says organisers had decided to go back to the loop-based option due to rider demand.

    “The general consensus was that this course offered an amazing experience both from a route and scenery point of view.”

    Participants traverse sections of the casino resort’s grounds, including a palm plantation and the Gary Player and Lost City golf courses. They also ride through the neighbouring   Letsatsing Game Reserve.

    “The game rangers actually keep the elephants and rhinos to one side to allow our riders to pass through the heart of the reserve.”

    He said the mountain bike route delivered a sting in the tail, ending with a technical section on the Sun City motocross track before the finish at the main resort.

    All participants and their families will receive free entrance to Sun City and the Valley of Waves on race day, with special accommodation packages available at the resort.

    Registration takes place from 9am to 4pm on the Wednesday before the event at Cycle Lab Centurion, from 9am to 4pm on the Thursday at Cycle Lab Fourways and from 11am to 7.30pm on the Friday at the Sun City Sport Village.

    Entries for the kiddies’ events will be accepted on race day.

    Enter online at www.cycleevents.co.za. For more information, visit www.cansalostcity.co.za. Alternatively, find Lost City Cycle Festival on Facebook or follow @lostcitycycle.

     

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  • Madibaz cycling star ready for world track champs

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 admin No comments
    Port Elizabeth cyclist Monique Gerber, who rides locally for Bestmed-Shukuma Madibaz, will represent South Africa at the UCI Juniors Track World Championships in Korea in August. Photo: Supplied

    Port Elizabeth cyclist Monique Gerber, who rides locally for Bestmed-Shukuma Madibaz, will represent South Africa at the UCI Juniors Track World Championships in Korea in August. Photo: Supplied

    Port Elizabeth cyclist Monique Gerber will take on the world’s best at the UCI Junior Track World Championships in Gwang Myeong, Korea, from August 8 to 12.

    Gerber, who races locally for the Bestmed-Shukuma Madibaz club, said she was excited at being given the opportunity to race against the best junior women in the world.

    It will be the 18-year-old’s first outing at the event after illness and lack of early season form put paid to her selection last year.

    She returned to her best this season to win all her events at the national track championships in April, after finishing runner-up at the 110km Tour Durban the day before the competition started.

    The African junior road race champion said her track selection had come as quite a surprise as her focus had been on preparing for the road equivalent, which takes places in Spain in September.

    “I’ve had a very good season on the road and finished on the podium in a number of national classics against the elite ladies,” said Gerber, who also rides in the colours of pro team Bestmed-ASG.

    Although the road team has yet to be announced, she said as reigning continental champion she was hopeful of her inclusion.

    “I’ve been spending most of my time training in the mountains, so I only started doing speed work on the track a week or two ago.

    “It’s been tough getting used to the high speed again but I’m feeling more comfortable every day.”

    Gerber said she would use her road training to her advantage by concentrating on the longer track events. She will participate in the 7.5km scratch race, 2km individual pursuit and the 20km points race.

    “The pursuit has become a very specialised event. I set world-class times as an under-14 and under-16 rider but I haven’t focused on it this year, so my best chance of a medal will be in the points race, where I believe my road endurance will help a lot.”

    While she does have the SA pursuit record in her sights, she said it was difficult to gauge her current levels of performance against those of her international peers.

    “I broke it while competing in Australia. The wood surfaces there are so much faster than the concrete in South Africa, so it’s very difficult to measure your performance based on times set here at home.”

    Gerber comes from a cycling-mad family, who relocated briefly Down Under to allow her to gain international racing experience.

    “There I trained with 2008 Olympic road race champion Nicole Cook and many other track world champions. I won many criterium races and on the track I won two silver medals at the Western Australia state championships.”

    She and sister Anja, who also races professionally, are now both home-schooled to allow them the flexibility to balance their academic and riding schedules.

    Their mother is in charge of their education, while father Frans, who has a degree in sport science, does duty as coach. “So our school books often travel along when we go away to races.” Gerber plans to study education at NMMU from next year. Her Madibaz teammate Francois Geldenhuys will also do the university proud when he competes in the UCI World Cycling Tour Finals, which start in Slovenia at the end of August.

    Geldenhuys qualified for a spot at the prestigious event when he won both the time trial and road race in the 30-34 age category at last year’s Msunduzi Road Challenge.

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  • Mclean, Zorweg claim impressive transalp victory

    Posted on August 4th, 2014 admin No comments
    Heinz Zorweg (left) and Andrew McLean savour winning the Grand Master category at the 2014 Bike Transalp.

    Heinz Zorweg (left) and Andrew McLean savour winning the Grand Master category at the 2014 Bike Transalp.

    South African Andrew McLean and his Austrian teammate, Heinz Zorweg, claimed a dominant category victory and finished 20th overall at the 17th annual Bike Transalp international mountain bike stage race in Europe at the weekend.

    McLean, a member of the Cycle Lab Supercycling, powered by Toyota club, teamed up with Zorweg for the seven-day 587km race from Oberammergau, Germany to Riva del Garda, Italy across the Alps mountain range.

    Competing in the Grand Master division (50 years and over), McLean and Zorweg led their age category from start to finish, claiming six stage wins in the process. But it’s their 20th place overall in a classy international field of full-time professional racers that impressed most.

    The race included a total of 19 227 metres of vertical ascent, making it one of the toughest climbing events in bicycle racing. Torrential rain on two stages made conditions even more challenging, while a stomach bug on Day 5 reduced Zorweg to survival mode for the 100km leg with 2800 metres of climbing.

    “That was tough! There was a lot of climbing. Huge climbs compared to what we have in South Africa. We had hard rain, cold and heat throughout the event so it was a real allround challenge,” said McLean.

    “Heinz had two bad days, Stage 2 where he struggled with the cold and rain that we weren’t exactly prepared for in terms of clothing choice and Stage 5 where he was ill. But he’s so tough and just kept soldiering on. He’s an incredible athlete.

    “I struggled a bit on some of the steep, technical descents. I wasn’t expecting such difficult downhill sections and had to go slow and walk some bits. The general skill level among riders in Europe is a lot higher than the level in South Africa, but it makes for a very complete mountain biking challenge,” added McLean.

    The victory is the second long stage race win for McLean and Zorweg in 2014. The pair raced to a dominant Grand Masters Category title at the ABSA Cape Epic in March, where they also placed a remarkable 15th overall.

    The German pairing of Jochen Kaess and Markus Kaufmann of Team Centurion Vaude, who briefly led the 2014 ABSA Cape Epic before dropping to 10th place, won the Bike Transalp title overall for the second year in succession.

     

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  • Urban Mountain Bike Assault announces prizes worth up to R370 000!

    Posted on July 29th, 2014 admin No comments

    20140718_102303

    Got a competitive spirit? Want to be the King or Queen of the Joburg jungle? The Urban Mountain Bike Assault is awarding prizes to the value of R370 000 during the event.

    Partnering with City Parks and Joburg Zoo, the Urban Mountain Bike Assault, taking place on the 12th October 2014, has created a route that turns Johannesburg into the ultimate mountain biker’s playground.

    The Urban Mountain Bike Assault will take place in the City of Gold so in keeping; we’ve got some dazzling prizes! Big prizes up for grabs for the serious racers, schools and even the riders armed with GoPros!

    The Urban Mountain Bike Assault will award prizes for the following fun categories:

    The School Challenge: We call all schools to put together teams of five mountain biking loving students! (For the 22km event only) The winning team with the best combined time will win R5000 per rider and R25 000 for their school. Total prize worth R50 000!

    Best Dressed: There ain’t no party like a dress up party! Calling all those who love to get dressed up, the best-dressed team of three will win R5000 per rider. That’s right a total of R15 000 is just a wig away. The three themes are Big Five, Zombie or 80’s Pop Star

    The Longest Day: Slow and steady wins the cash, R5000 will be awarded to the male and female with the longest day. We’re sure the R10 000 will be spent in a flash.

    And last but definitely not least, The Best Video Clip prize. Have a knack for recording the action? Never leave home without your GoPro? We have R6500 each for one creative rider and spectator who sends us the most amazing and adventurous Urban MTB Assault video clip to info@bam.co.za by Friday 31st October 2014.

    There will be tons of video opportunities along the route so here we’re encouraging you to get a little dirty and very creative to create the most hilarious, inspired or epic YouTube clip ever.

    You have to be 13+ to enter the race.  Enter now!

    Any age group can chose to alternatively enter the 52km route.

    With these incredible prizes worth over R370 000 up for grabs the Urban Mountain Bike Assault is a race for all levels of riders, and we challenge both the pros and weekend warriors to bring it on! Not in it to win it? Don’t worry, there is also some serious fun going on in the jungle.

    Marks Park will be jam packed with fun for the whole family with food, beer & music and a fun 1km race with goody bags & medals for the participating kiddies!

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  • Williams wins at Walkerville

    Posted on July 14th, 2014 admin No comments
    Bestmed Walkerville Mountain Bike Classic winner Kallen Williams (centre) shows his delight as he receives his prize from Bestmed marketing team member Ferri Erasmus and route director Darren Herbst on Sunday. Photo: Jetline Action Photo

    Bestmed Walkerville Mountain Bike Classic winner Kallen Williams (centre) shows his delight as he receives his prize from Bestmed marketing team member Ferri Erasmus and route director Darren Herbst on Sunday. Photo: Jetline Action Photo

    Two-time 94.7 Mountain Bike Challenge winner Kallen Williams showed himself to be one of South Africa’s rising young talents when he claimed his first ever win at the Bestmed Walkerville Mountain Bike Classic in Gauteng on Sunday.

    The former Toyota Cycle Lab rider slew mentor Andrew Mclean in a finishing sprint battle to take the 60km title by a single second in 2:20:20. Greg Anderson was third across the line at the Walkerville Showgrounds in 2:20:42.

    Williams, who is currently in his third year of optometry studies at the University of Johannesburg, said racing conditions were far milder than he had anticipated for what was billed as Gauteng’s coldest off-road race.

    “That certainly made things a lot easier on the body. Today I was feeling pretty good, so I went hard from the beginning.”

    The 21-year-old pushed the pace from the start, opening up a gap of at least a minute over the Platberg climb.

    He held the chasers at bay until the halfway mark, when he saw a breakaway group of three riders attempting to reel him in.

    “The last half of the race is quite flat and windy, so to stay away by yourself is a lot harder,” said the Alberton resident, who trains regularly in the area.

    “So I just backed off and waited for the other three to catch up.”

    The four riders worked together over the remaining kilometres until Williams launched a series of attacks in the closing stretch.

    “I started making a couple of moves about 5km out and eventually there was just the two of us (Williams and Mclean). I’ve raced against Andrew before, so I was confident that I could take him in the sprint.”

    As a former roadie, Williams said he knew he could respond quickly in the sprint and that his background in competitive motocross would stand him in good stead on the speedway circuit leading up to the finish.

    “Overall, it’s a very technical course – lots of rocks and lots of climbing. It’s a very tough race.”

    While his studies remained his primary focus, Williams said the result was encouraging and he was looking forward to attempting a hat-trick at the 94.7 MTB Challenge later this year.

    In the women’s race, cross-triathlete Sylvia van Tromp showed her off-road mettle to take an uncontested win in 2:51:02.

    Runner-up Ronel van Straaten trailed her home in 2:57:21, with third-placed Jana Jonker a further seven minutes back in 3:04:15.

    A delighted Van Tromp said she had merely intended to ride the race as part of her preparations for the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, which take place in Zittau, Germany, next month.

    “I really didn’t go out intending to win today, I just wanted to see how my training was progressing and to test the legs,” said the Sasol Cross Tri Series winner.

    “But I rode as hard as I could and was alone for most of the race.”

    The Vanderbijl resident, who also placed third at the African cross tri champs in May, said she was very excited to be representing her country internationally.

    “It has taken me 35 years to finally get my elite Protea colours!”

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