First on the list is the aQuellé Tour Durban and aQuellé Tour Durban MTB powered by Cycle Lab, where Joanna Van de Winkel (Cycle Nation) was undoubtedly the star of the show! Not only did she defend her title as the road champion on Sunday, but she did so after also winning the 42km MTB race on Saturday. She was truly in a league of her own!
Her teammate Bridget Theunissen was runner up in the MTB, with young Errin Mackridge showing her versatility and potential by following up her second place finish in the road race with a third place in the MTB. It is fair to say that women's cycling in South Africa is alive and well!
Moving along to the men's races we had Daniel van der Watt from DriveTrain Academy take the win in the 40 km MTB race on Saturday, with the experienced Andrew Hill and Brent Yelland not far off in second and third place respectively. On Sunday the 110 km road race brought great excitement as Ivan Harkema of Officeguru Racing claimed the top spot after a sprint finish with Brent Yelland.
"He (Harkema) was riding on my back wheel, and we were holding towards the line, and I was thinking to myself that I can actually win this thing. I don't know what happened and I lost it in the last five meters which is going to haunt me!" - Exclaimed Yelland after the race. Either way, still a very successful weekend with two podiums for Yelland.
40 km MTB - Saturday
1 Joanna VAN DE WINKEL 01:36:21
2 Carolynn MANDERSON 01:44:58
3 Cindy NESBITT 01:45:02
1 Daniel VAN DER WATT 01:25:55
2 Andrew HILL 01:28:13
3 Brent YELLAND 01:30:18
110 km Road Race - Sunday
1 Joanna VAN DE WINKEL 02:44:41
2 Yvette FERREIRA 02:44:52
3 Errin MACKRIDGE 02:52:47
1 Ivan HARKEMA 02:40:55
2 Brent YELLAND 02:40:55
3 Michael ROWLAND 02:40:58
Shifting the focus to gravel we had the Subaru Gravel Shaker and the Ronde Van Riebeeck races happening. Both events sporting a 100 miler and various shorter distances to choose from.
The Subaru Gravel Shaker was a fast one indeed with Casper Kruger and Joco van Dyk averaging a speedy 34.8km/hr for the 160 km only to finish it off with a sprint finish - Casper Kruger taking the top spot!
Lize-Ann Louw out rode all fellow competitors to take the win by 20 mins in the 100 miler in a time of 05:17:09 also placing her in the top 25 overall.
Moving down South to a wintery Western Cape we had the Ronde Van Riebeeck which is definitely not just another Gravel 100 Miler. With some proper European Monument spice added to it, racing flat out over gravel sections that could have been Strade Bianche and a finish on the track - Paris Roubaix style!
The men’s race was another super close one, with less than 4 minutes between the top 8 finishers and only 1 second separating Pieter du Toit and Franko van Zyl, finishing 1st and 2nd respectively. Jaco Venter wasn’t far behind them claiming the final spot on the podium.
Cherise Willeit was in a class of her own claiming the women’s 100 miler title. We had a close battle for 2nd and 3rd, with Juanita McKenzie and Courtney Webb keeping things interesting, only 6 seconds separating them.
Results - 100 Miler
Pieter DU TOIT 04:56:50
Franko VAN ZYL 04:56:51
Jaco VENTER 04:57:48
Cherise WILLEIT 05:24:24
Juanita MACKENZIE 05:29:51
Courteney WEBB 05:29:57
Abandoning all forms of road now for the scintillating single tracks of the Eastern Free State, where the Amohela 2 day MTB Challenge really delivered some proper riding. Day One was relatively short but tough - 45 kms with just over a 1000m of ascent! It was a cold start, but riders were quickly warmed up by some sharp and steep climbs, after which they were rewarded with some of the most breathtaking descents any mountain biker could wish for. Day Two was slightly longer at 65 kms and started fast with about 30 kms of dirt and jeep tracks that delivered riders to the infamous NoO2 climb, a super steep winding climb topping out at over 2000m above sea level. From the top of “NoO2” it was all flowing single track through the Clarens Village Conservancy and to the finish at the Clarens Golf Club.
After two days of hard racing Jacques Malherbe took the overall victory in the solo men's category and Maricel Bekker proved the fastest woman. In the teams category, the mixed pair of Nicolette Griffioen and Pierre Jordaan (Mountain Abandon) claimed the overall win out riding all other team categories.
Results - Thaba eKholo (The Big Mountain)
Jacques Malherbe 4:38:53.3
Johan Botha +15:55.5
Nyakoane Mothobi +20:38.3
Maricel Bekke 5:43:42.9
Catharine Andrew +49:07.5
Lee Olivier +50:05.8
Mountain Abandon - P Jordaan & N Griffioen 5:13:19.7
DSquared - D Walsh & D Maarsingh +3:19.3
Truffle Hunter - J Oosthuizen & F Olivier +22:18.1
As exciting as the May racing calendar was, we can’t wait for the upcoming races in June such as the King Price Trailseeker series, Berg and Bush and many more! Stay tuned, subscribe and make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action!
RaceSpace - Race Report