Hanco Kachelhoffer and Pieter Seyffert ended a three-year partnership on a high note when they won the Sanlam MTB Invitational two-stage mountain bike race at Rhebokskloof near Paarl today.
The ASG duo won the 60km opening stage on Saturday to take a comfortable lead of just under six minutes into the second day.
The buffer allowed them to control the racing and they eventually finished the punchy 40km final stage in second, just five seconds behind ASG’s Bennie Viljoen and Jaco Davel.
Kachelhoffer and Seyffert took the title in an overall time of 4:37:33, followed by Viljoen and Davel in 4:43:16 and Flandria’s Linus and Leonardo van Onselen in 4:50:18.
Kachelhoffer, who is moving into the retail side of the sport, said it was a special moment to end their partnership on a winning note.
“This was our last race together as regular team-mates so it was great to win it overall,” said the 31-year-old, who lived in Johannesburg and George before moving to Paarl last month.
“It’s nice to start a new chapter with a good result and to finish the year with a win.”
Kachelhoffer said although their partnership had officially ended, he and the 30-year-old Seyffert would still be teaming up in some of the country’s top endurance races next year.
Reflecting on today’s stage, he said their lead of 5:48 allowed a more relaxed approach early on with the idea of putting them in a good position for the more testing single-track that followed.
“Today was quite short and we took control of the race early on by setting the tempo on the first climb,” said Kachelhoffer.
“We have learnt our lessons over the years. It is the best strategy to relax a bit when you have a lead, because you want to be as fresh as possible for the technical sections and downhills.
“In mountain biking you never know what can happen. You can easily make a mistake going around a corner and fall out of contention.”
He said Davel and Viljoen stayed with them and ultimately took the lead going into the decisive single-track section.
“It takes you from about 10km out all the way to the finish and you can’t really pass, so we just stayed on their wheel and finished a few seconds behind.”
Kachelhoffer said going into the race, which is presented by ASG Events, their aim was to finish on the podium and to “possibly win”.
“Pieter is a fulltime professional so he was here for only one reason and that was to win. I had to try to hold on and just managed to do that.”
He said he had found the route of the Sanlam MTB Invitational, which evolved from a one-day event, quite challenging.
“Today’s stage was new and there was a long climb at the start which caused Pieter to say ‘what’s going on’,” he laughed.
“And they have really done a good job with the new single-track right on the edge of that cliff. I thought at the time that if I had a fear of heights this might be a little intimidating, but we never complain about too much single-track so overall it was a great challenge.”
The women’s race was won by Girls On Bikes’s Karla Groenewald and Sylma Jordaan in 6:44:38, with the mixed category going to Enduro Hub’s Tiaan Pretorius and Jenny Close in 5:26:05.
The general classification results were:
1. Hanco Kachelhoffer and Pieter Seyffert (ASG) 4:37:33
2. Bennie Viljoen and Jaco Davel (ASG) 4:43:16
3. Linus and Leonardo van Onselen (Father and Son Flandria) 4:50:18
1. Karla Groenewald and Sylma Jordaan (Girls On Bikes) 6:44:38
2. Tania Rossouw and Estelle van Schalkwyk Morland (Tulbagh Street) 7:01:57
1. Jenny Close and Tiaan Pretorius (Enduro Hub) 5:26:05
2. Anja van Zyl and Erik Knoetze (Almost There) 5:44:10
3. Ilse Viljoen and Constant Viljoen (Viljoens) 6:04:25