Scorching racing at SA Schools and Tandems TT Champs in Durban

Scorching heat and high humidity added to the challenges of the participants at today’s School and Tandem Time Trial on day two of the 2012 Time Freight SA Vets, Masters, Schools & Tandems Road and Time Trial Championships, that took place in Durban today (Friday).

The young under-10 boys and girls were the first to tackle part of the 6.5km circuit, completing only 2km for their School Championship title and collecting points for their school.  Robert Luke Dungan took top honours in 3 minutes 33 seconds, beating Reece Sclanders by 0.03 seconds. Petrus Lourens came third in 03:46. Chante Olivier won the girls category in an impressive time of 03:37, with Kayleigh Moller second in 04:02 and Georgia Dungan third in 04:16.

The U12 boys and girls raced 4km, with Alexander Smith claiming the boys’ title in 06:26. Cameron Wright followed in 06:38 with Liam Abbott rounding out the podium positions. The girls’ race saw Hanje Nel take top honours in 06:21, with Nelize Van Aswegen second in 06:45 and Angelique Moller third in 06:55.

The complete 6.5km circuit, from Athlone Drive to Masabalala Yengwa Avenue (old NMR Avenue), Argyle Road, M4 highway and back onto Athlone Drive, was utilised by the U14 competitors, with the girls racing 1 lap and the boys completing 2 laps.  Delia Retief won her category in 10:29, with Nicolene Marais second in 10:34 and Clarissa Liebenberg third in 11:08.

Enno Swanepoel won the U14 boys’ challenge in 18:26. Keanu Slinger was second fastest in 19:10 whilst Damean Oosthuizen came third in 20:01.

Then it was the turn of the hotly contested U16 age categories. Monique Gerber narrowly clamed victory by a mere 0.02 seconds over Michelle Benson over 13km (2 laps), with Rochelle van Eck finishing third in 21:58.

The Port Elizabeth local said that the heat made conditions tough on the course: “The Time Trial was very nice - the weather was very hot and it was hard. I race quite a bit on the track as well, and enjoy the time trial. It was a bit different for me today though because we were not allowed to race with aero bars and disc wheels, so I had to use normal handlebars and wheels. I enjoy the flat course; there were some drags in between, but it was great.”

Joshua Buchel gave it everything he had on the 3-lap 19.5km course in the heat of the day, achieving top honours in 27:35, 14-seconds clear of Ivan Venter. Third place went to an ecstatic Keagan Girdlestone in 28:00.

“It was very very hard and fast as well,” said the Johannesburg resident of his win. “It was the wind and the heat that were the main factors, with the wind hitting us from the side on the freeway (M4) and with the deep etched wheels, I really got pushed around.

“After the first lap I realised that I was losing by 1-second, and I picked up the pace so that by the second lap I was winning by 11-seconds, and then on the last lap I managed to increase it to 14-seconds.”

Buchel’s victory in the tightly contested class that featured 36 entrants, is quite amazing considering his preparations leading up to the race. “This entire year I have only spent about a week on the bike, because I broke my collar bone in a crash at the start of the year, and I have a broken wrist at the moment – I broke it about a week ago.”

After the pain and discomfort during the race, the victory can only taste sweeter.

The Tandem category was well supported with over ten teams racing for the national championship jersey. Open Tandem winners from Durban North Dean Mason and Gavin Castleman thoroughly enjoyed the race, completing their 4 laps in 34 minutes 42 seconds: “It has been really exciting because there hasn’t really been a handicap from an age point of view, and it was really great to be able to enter. The course was really lovely. Being from Durban, we train more or less on these roads. The Time Trial was brilliant, nice and flat, a bit windy on the freeway, but really great, and fantastic to have road closure.”

Patricia Barradas and Stephen Scheepers were victorious in the Mixed Tandem category, clocking 34:57 for their 4 laps.

Tomorrow’s (Saturday) action takes place in Westville. Road racing cyclists will participate on a 14km circuit on the M13 freeway starting and finishing at Thekwini Toyota in the heart of Westville.  The course runs west-bound until the Dawncliff off ramp, where cyclists will turn and get onto the east-bound carriageway toward 45th Cutting, where they will turn once again to complete their loop back to Westville.  The Veteran and Masters Men and Women race on Saturday, and the Schools Boys and Girls and Tandem categories race on Sunday.

Visit www.finishtime.co.za for LIVE timing as the racing progresses, and for the final results.

Photo: Mylene Loumeau/CyclingSA