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Odendaal, Westbrook claim KZN Enduro Champs titles

6 June 2015 – Tiaan Odendaal and Kim Westbrook claimed the Senior Men and Women’s titles at the 2015 KZN Provincial Enduro Championships, sponsored by NMI-DSM, which was held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg today.

Conditions were cool and crisp and the lack of rain meant a dry and dusty track, which led to fast race times for the participants. The Enduro race saw riders in various age categories compete in a total of four timed stages, with the fastest total time determining the winner.

The star venue has hosted four World Cups and a World Championship event in the past for the cross-country and downhill disciplines and today’s provincial Enduro event was unleashed on a championship worthy course.

Event organiser and avid rider, Dave Drummond, was pleased with how the event turned out. “I had a blast today, it was so much fun. There were varied trails – we go into soft loose sections and then hard fast sections, and tight and twisty sections and open track. The climb was exhausting but it was worth it.”

Maritzburg College Grade 10 pupil and Youth winner, Sharjah Jonsson, is a keen participant of Enduro, XCO and Downhill races stamping his authority on the events that he competes in.

“MTB is the epitome of my existence,” he laughs. “I enjoy Enduro because it is a mix of the two [XCO and DHI]. I like the type of bike that we’re riding in Enduro. It really is the most fun you can have on a bike. The climbs up to the top were hectic today, but I live 500m from the track so this is my back garden and I ride here often. I’m used to the steep stuff and the rooty sections and there were some brand new trails with some really big ruts in them, which was really cool.”

The 2013 XCO Champ and 2014 Enduro Champ will be competing in the DHI Championship event tomorrow. “I haven’t been able to ride much this week as I’ve had seven exams in five days,” he said.

Sub veteran winner Craig Paul is no stranger to mountain bike racing. “I’m trying different things now. I’ve had my days of racing cross-country and no longer have time to train, so I’m doing some Enduro and Downhill now. I’m enjoying it and doing it for fun. Obviously, coming from a racing background, I’m naturally going to be competitive and I’m always going to go flatbox when I’m on the bike, but it’s a good load of fun with a great bunch of guys who are all like-minded.”

Senior Men’s winner and the young man with the fastest time overall, Tiaan Odendaal, said: “It was was quite cold this morning and hard to get going. I felt good and strong and didn’t crash, so it ended up being a good day on the bike. Today was probably the hardest Enduro that I’ve done, going up and down.”

Odendaal will try and recover this evening in order to be fresh for the KZN Downhill Champs tomorrow, which will utilise the full World Cup track.

Women’s winner, Kim Westbrook, was elated with her surprise victory: “I came in today with low expectations and I came to have a good time. When I got onto the singletrack I found my pedals and tried to stay on my bike and I just had so much fun. I love Enduro, it is such a nice vibe and everyone is so chilled. You cruise up the hill chatting, pushing your bikes, and then you get to go as fast as you can on a clean piece of singletrack.”

Local mountain bike manufacturer, Patrick Morewood, is a name synonymous with mountain biking and the PYGA co-founder claimed the Championship title in the Veteran’s category.

“For me, having a business and a family takes a lot of time,” said Morewood. “Downhill is a time consuming exercise and cross-country is great but requires a lot of training, and the fun factor is not there if you’re not fit. Whereas Enduro, you can have average skills and fitness and still have fun.

“The track today was technically very good with a nice gradient especially on the first two stages, and some good technical stuff with drop-offs. It really had all sorts.”

According to Drummond, a brand new timing system was put to the test today. “KZN MTB has invested in a timing system that uses timing chips on the wrist and riders scan in and scan out when they start and finish each stage. The info is carried on the chip and when you cross the finish line you scan the chip in and all the data comes straight through.”

KZN MTB is using the same timing technology as the Enduro World Series but on a smaller scale. “Riders still have to stop and scan before and after each stage, whereas the World Series uses a system that reads from a distance so you don't have to stop and scan.”

The KZN Provincial Downhill Championships, sponsored by NMI-DSM, takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 7 June.

Summary of Results – KZN MTB Championships (Enduro) – 6 June 2015

Full results will be available soon at www.elitetiming.co.za

Overall Men

1.Tiaan Odendaal 15:59
2.Hilton Frost 17:17
3.Craig Paul 17:31
4.Jedson Tooms 18:11
5.Shane Martin 18:13
6.Sharjah Jonsson 18:22
7.Jonathan Philogene 18:36
8.Andre van Aarde 18:36
9.Patrick Morewood 18:53
10.Christopher Pearton 18:55

Overall Women

1.Kim Westbrook 21:16
2.Kathryn Fourie 22:44
3.Sabine Thies 24:11
4.Elja van Urk 24:34
5.Charne Dreyer 24:39

Senior Men

1.Tiaan Odendaal 15:59
2.Hilton Frost 17:17
3.Jedson Tooms 18:11
4.Shane Martin 18:13
5.Andre van Aarde 18:36

Senior Women

1.Kim Westbrook 21:16

Junior Men

1.Jonathan Philogene 18:36
2.Dean Wortmann 20:21
3.Mitchell Meugens 20:42

Youth Men

1.Sharjah Jonsson 18:22
2.Jett Bradshaw 19:50
3.Kieira Duncan 21:31

Sub Junior Boys

1.Kayle Seaward 19:59
2.Connor Finnis 21:51
3.Tristan Quibell 27:39

Sun Junior Girls

1.Sabine Thies 24:11
2.Charne Dreyer 24:39

Sprog Boys

1.Dreyer Botma 27:53

Nipper Boys

1.Keagan Brand 26:32

Sub Vet Men

1.Craig Paul 17:31
2.Mark Millar 18:57
3.Craig Scott 19:47

Sub Vet Women

1.Kathryn Fourie 22:44
2.Elja van Urk 24:34
3.Katherine M’Iver 30:24

Veteran Men

1.Patrick Morewood 18:53
2.Grant Macpherson 19:02
3.Craig Seaward 19:25

Veteran Women

1.Nicky Mcleod 26:47

Master Men

1.Mark Mcleod 22:35
2.Michael Frost 22:43
3.David Arpin 23:22

Grand Master Men

1.Ashley Nesbitt 22:55

 

Exciting Enduro promises championship worthy course

Downhill and Enduro racers have put in their final track preparations and are ready for the 2015 KZN Provincial Enduro and Downhill Championships, sponsored by NMI-DSM, which takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on 6-7 June. Competitors of all ages will be vying for a chance at the provincial title in their respective age categories on some of the most sublime trails and tracks that the highly acclaimed venue has to offer.

With the fairly new Enduro discipline gaining in popularity, event organiser Dave Drummond has promised a course worthy of a championship event. Two stages of the four-stage Enduro will be made up of trails consisting of steep downhills and challenging technical sections, while the other two stages will be fast and flowing trail.

Drummond would like to remind the riders that there will be no shuttle uplift on Saturday, so participants will need to pedal to the top of the Cascades forest to the start of the first stage. They will then tackle the first of the four timed stages, which are interspersed with “untimed liaison” stages where they transition to the start of the next timed stage.

“The beauty of Enduro racing is that anyone can enter on any bike!” reiterates Drummond. “It’s a competitive event where the number one focus is on fun.”

Veteran competitor, Grant Dekker, is keen to take on both the Enduro and Downhill events, even after a recent knee operation.

“I will be there – I’ll be limping up the hill but I will be there,” said Dekker. “I had to have a knee op because Mankele “owned” me. I still did my seeding run and raced the National Cup race against the advice of the nurses there, and my knee was pretty much the size of a soccer ball.”

Dekker practiced on the Cascades track at the weekend to see if he could even manage the ride. “I did some riding on Saturday and then spent the whole day at the track on Sunday and I’m feeling good.”

When chatting about the Enduro Championship event, Dekker had this to say: “There are mates of mine that are riding who I know I can beat but in my current condition, I’m not sure if I can. There are no excuses in this game but one thing is for certain – you can’t ‘not’ rock up to KZN Champs! It’s the ultimate bragging right.”

Mountain biking’s highly skilled Downhill riders will be in action on Sunday as they take to the track to determine the fastest descender who will be crowned the provincial champion.

KZN Downhill Champs event organiser and course designer, Nigel Hicks, says that the track will be exactly the same as that of the 2013 Elite World Championships. “It’s very dry and very dusty, which is going to make for very fast riding. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said.

The event organisers appeal to the Downhill competitors to register for the race on Saturday so that the start lists and correct seeding orders can be finalised by the timing crew before the start on Sunday. Registration will be open at Cascades until 15:00.

Spectators to the park will be able to see some of KZN’s best riders in action in two separate events – the popular and relatively new Enduro discipline on Saturday with the Downhill on Sunday. Both events start at 11:00 and not 12:00 as previously advertised.

Event details:

Date: 6-7 June 2015
Province: KwaZulu-Natal
Location: Cascades MTB Park
Entries Close: 3 June 2015
Starting Time: 11:00
Registration: Cascades, 08:00-11:00 & Cascades, 07:30-10:30
Late Entries: Yes
Timed By: Elite Timing
ROAG Registration: No
Event Website: http://www.kznmtb.co.za

Online pre-entries are open, and close at midnight tonight. Click here to enter: http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1469. Late entries will be accepted at registration with a nominal charge of R50 in addition to the entry fee.

Entrance for spectators is free, and all are welcome to attend to watch some spectacular mountain bike racing.

For more information, contact Rebecca van der Linde This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Dellah Paul This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Exciting Enduro lures MTB enthusiasts to KZN Champs

May 2015 – While downhill racing is often seen as a sport reserved for the brave hearted, the relatively new and exciting concept of Enduro offers everyday MTB riders the opportunity to get a taste of fast flowing tracks and catch some air for those who can. This form of riding, or racing, just blows your mind – whether you are fast or slow there is a place you! So enter now for the KZN Provincial Enduro and Downhill Championships, sponsored by NMI-DSM, which takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on 6 and 7 June respectively.

Now in its second full season at provincial level, the four-stage local championship Enduro will use approximately 50% of the stages as per the PMB MTB Festival held over Easter weekend. The remaining 50% will be made up of a combination of XCO tracks and lesser ridden trails in the area.

“We’ve slowly been making the tracks a bit more technical as the series has progressed, and this race will be close to one of the more technical tracks of the year,” said event organiser for the Enduro Champs, Dave Drummond.

The point of Enduro racing is to start at the bottom and pedal to the top of the mountain to the start. With no shuttle assistance on the day, the stages will be shorter than Easter weekend.For this reason, trail bikes are suitable for the uphill pedal. Participants will then tackle “stages” as would happen in a car rally, which are timed. More rally terminology is used when riders take an easy pedal in “untimed liaison” stages, which is where the camaraderie and social aspect kicks in.

“The top competitors are all friends and chat amongst the riders between stages,” said Drummond.

The beauty of Enduro racing is that anybody can enter on any bike! The big drawcard is that it is every man’s (and woman’s) mountain biking. Although technical, there is nothing on the course that cannot be ridden on a XCO bike, even a hardtail.

“To be competitive though, and if you’re aiming for a podium place, then a trail bike is the tool for the trade. Enduro riders need to pedal to the top of the next stage.”

When asked what tips he had for those considering Enduro, Drummond said: “If you’re thinking about it, do it. You are almost guaranteed to have fun. The focus is on fun! There is a strong competitive element to it but rider enjoyment is the number one priority!”

Drummond reminds however that it is a fairly long day out, and riders should be self-sufficient. “Each rider should carry their own basic spares and food and water either in a backpack or a few essentials in your pockets if you can last long. The idea behind Enduro is to ride your bike over mountains.”

Sunday will see the racing move back to the traditional downhill and big hitters will take to the track with the fastest descender being crowned the provincial champion.

KZN Downhill Champs event organiser, Nigel Hicks, says that the course will be very much the same as the one used at the PMB MTB Festival. “There will be a few changes up top and we will try and run the full World Cup track.”

As with the Enduro Champs on Saturday, the practice times for the Downhill Champs on Sunday are from 08:00 to 11:00 with the final kicking off at 12:00 for both events.

Event details:

Date: 6-7 June 2015
Province: KwaZulu-Natal
Location: Cascades MTB Park
Entries Close: 3 June 2015
Starting Time: 11:00
Registration: Cascades, 08:00-11:00 & Cascades, 07:30-10:30
Late Entries: Yes
Timed By: Elite Timing
ROAG Registration: No
Event Website: http://www.kznmtb.co.za

Online pre-entries are now open, and close on Wednesday 3 June. Click here to enter: http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1469. Late entries will be accepted at registration with a nominal charge of R50 in addition to the entry fee.

Entrance for spectators is free, and all are welcome to attend to watch some spectacular mountain bike racing.

For more information, contact Rebecca van der Linde This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Dellah Paul This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

EVENT REPORT : ENDURO #1 - KARKLOOF

The picturesque Karkloof valley just outside Howick near Pietermaritzburg played host to Round 1 of the 2015 KZNMTB Enduro Series presented by NMI-DSM. The riders were greeted by beautiful sunny conditions, but very variable track conditions following some heavy evening rains leading up to the event. Karkloof MTB Club and Sappi Forestry had their trails primed, with 3 stages comprising 600m vertical descent over 7km of special stages.Hard pack clay with slippery rocks and roots made for some greasy conditions under foot just waiting to trick up an unsuspecting rider. 

A record number of entries with 162 riders meant that the wait at Stage 1 would be a long one, but once racing began, the guns came out with Craig Paul (Greg Minnaar Cycles) setting the benchmark at 8:28 over the tight, rocky, tree-lined stage. Hot on his heels, Jedson Tooms (ROAG) lost only 4 seconds on the long stage 1 with Hilton Frost (Pyga) sitting in comfortably in third. Stage 2, the slickest and most rock strewn of the 3 stages saw Frost put the hammer down and claw back to be within 1 seconds of Tooms at the end of stage. But out front Craig Paul was dominating putting another 3 seconds into the chasing duo. Stage 3, the shortest, but steepest trail for the day, saw full aero tucks down the start fire road before entering the final slippery rooty woods. At the end of the stage Craig Paul remained in the top spot with a late charge by Canadian rider Joe Bauckham to match Paul's stage time. But it was not enough, with Craig Paul taking top honours on the day in a time of 15:13, with Tooms and Frost rounding out the top 3.

In the ladies, a 21 strong field rolled out of the start to attack the days stages with the grace that only ladies can! Kim Westbrook started strong, putting 43 seconds into 12 year old XC wonder-kid Sabine Thies (Greg Minnaar Cycles) on Stage 1. Tiffany Keep (PAW) was in 3rd just off the pace. Stage 2, and Westbrook attacked again extending her lead. The steeper nature of stage 2 and 3 saw a comeback from the DH riders with Kath Fourie tying for 3rd on stage with Tiffany Keep. It wasnt to be however, as Kim Westbrook took a convincing win in an overall time of 17:56, with Thies in 2nd and Keep taking the bronze medal.

Race director Dave Drummond and his team at KZNMTB did an amazing job of putting together a smooth and successful event. And a big thank you goes out to the Series Sponsors:NMI-DSM, Shreddtech, Elite Athlete Performance, Pyga, and of course the Karklool MTB Club and Sappi as trail builders and landowners. Thanks to Gavin Ryan (www.quickpix.co.za) for the images. Round 2 moves over the hill to St Ives Bike Park on the 21st March, a brand new venue with new natural stages awaiting the riders. 

Participant images are available at www.finishlinephotos.co.za

 EVENT REPORT : ENDURO #2 - ST IVES

The second round of the 2015 KZNMTB Enduro series presented by NMI-DSM took place in the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands at St Ives Mountain Bike Park on the 21nd March.

The trail crew worked hard to provide four challenging stages to keep the riders on their toes and having loads of fun. These incorporated some new sections built especially for the event as well as many of the existing trails built by Big Wheels Cycles.

Stage one was a long one, starting out steep and technical, opening up into a super fast flow section in the middle which led to a long leg burning sprint to the finish. The rider’s favorite was clearly stage 2, being shorter but flat out speed all the way, on mostly natural terrain. It put a smile onto every riders face as they came through the stage. Stage 3 was a bit slower and more technical incorporating “Tom and Jerry’s canyon”, before riders took on the monster stage 4 which had a bit of everything, open natural sections, rock gardens, wooded sections, machine built jumps and an open slalom style sprint to finish across the dam wall just outside the St Ives Restaurant and Lapa, were refreshments awaited the riders.

The best Enduro riders from KZN and Gautang did battle all day and the banter and comradery between riders was constant. The top riders in the field moved through the stages quickly while the rest of the over 100 rider strong field endured the warm weather and slogged up the hill to the start of each new stage which brought a whole lot of new thrills and near misses to each competitor. The forests were filled with the “woops” and squeals of riders having fun on their bikes.

Kim Westbrook asserted her dominance over the series title by putting in another solid days riding and placed herself well ahead in the overall series standings. Katherine Fourie came in just over a minute behind the leader and Sabine Thies did well to close out the top three.

This puts the overall women’s series standings as follows:

Kim Westbrook                 400 points

Sabine Thies                       300 points

Katherine Fourie              270 points

Tiffany Keep                      250 points

Nicky Mcleod                     195 points

The men’s field was shaken up by Tiaan Odendaal who took the win ahead of series leader Craig Paul who finished 4th on the day behind Hilton Frost and Jedson Tooms who finished second and third respectively.

That was enough to keep Paul at the top of the series leader board, but only just. Hilton Frost is only 5 points behind in second and Jedson Tooms is putting the skills he has learnt in XCO racing to good use to establish a solid third overall.

Men overall series standings are as follows:

Craig Paul                            325 points

Hilton Frost                         320 points

Jedson Tooms                   280 points

Patrick  Morewood         205 points

Tiaan Odendaal                 200 points

Going into the third and final leg of the series it is still anyone’s race, and a mistake or crash from any of the top riders will put them out of contention for the coveted title of Series Winner.

KZNMTB would like to thank its sponsors, NMI-DSM, Shreddtech, Elite Athlete Performance, and Pyga for the prizes, and a huge thank you to the park owners at St Ives Restaurant and Wedding venue as well as Big Wheel Cycles for the trail preparations. The series now moves to Giba Mountain Bike Park outside Durban for round 3 on the 18th April. 

GET IN TOUCH

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PO Box 153, Merrivale, 3291
T 082 896 6864

F 033 387 6377

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