Du Toit, Sanders and Odendaal tops at third XCO and DHI Nationals, MPU

Arno du Toit (Heart-Sports ASG), Samantha Sanders (Valencia) and Tiaan Odendaal (Green Team) walked away with top points in the Elite cross-country and downhill categories at the third round of the 2014 Southern African Mountain Bike Cup Series, which took place at Mankele Mountain Bike Park near Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, at the weekend.

As with the previous two rounds of the series, the cross-country (XCO) and downhill (DHI) riders had the opportunity to accumulate valuable UCI points, with the XCO carrying a UCI Category 1 rating for the Elite men and women, while the DHI carried a UCI Category 2 rating for the Elite men.

The small field of Elite men tackled 5 laps of the 6.9km XCO course, with Arno du Toit (Heart-Sports ASG) winning the tight challenge against teammate Gert Heyns and Travis Walker (Kargo Pro MTB Team). A battled ensued early in the race between Heyns and Brendon Davids (Trek South Africa), and the constant threat of attacks from Matthys Beukes (Scott-Sports SA) and Walker kept the racing tactical. On the fifth and final lap, Du Toit put his head down and commanded the charge, securing victory in a time of 01:33:51. In a one-two for Heart-Sports ASG, Heyns finished second in 01:34:12 with Walker third (01:34:21). Beukes (01:35:29) and Davids (01:36:13) rounded out the podium in fourth and fifth respectively.

In the Elite women’s race, Samantha Sanders (Valencia) was dominant throughout the 4-lap encounter with Ashleigh Moffatt (Time Freight VELOlife), claiming victory in a time of 01:31:34. Moffatt was second over the finish line in 01:43:27.

There was a bonus for the Junior competitors as they earned themselves a big boost in UCI points by competing at Mankele, which formed part of the UCI Junior World Series.

It was Julian Jessop who claimed victory against Marc Fourie this time around, winning in a time of 59 minutes and 8 seconds. Fourie had won the second round challenge at Afriski the month before, and finished 11 seconds behind Jessop in Mpumalanga. Johan Hartzenberg finished third.

For Fourie, who opted to race in South Africa to take advantage of the Category 1 UCI points on offer in the Junior category, his 4th place ranking in the UCI Junior Men XCO Rankings before the race climbed two places to 2nd on the UCI world rankings.

The small junior women’s field saw Genevieve van Coller claim victory in 01:16:59, with Alexandra Mapstone finishing second (01:17:34) and Amy Williams in third place (01:29:49).

Local Mpumalanga rider Andreas Kuhn claimed the Youth men’s victory over Series leader Thomas Jessop in a close tussle, claiming the win by 9 seconds, while Sabrina van Wyk won the Youth women’s race ahead of Lynette Benson.

Sunday’s downhill race saw Tiaan Odendaal (Green Team) claim victory along the challenging and technical 1.8km track, on which riders had to keep their wits about them. After finishing fourth in Round No.1 at Cascades in March, Odendaal has gone on to claim victory in Lesotho in April and Mpumalanga at the weekend for the second and third rounds of the series. Odendaal set the fastest time of 2 minutes 21.216 seconds. Timothy Bentley (Specialized/Fox South Africa) finished in second place just over a second off the pace, with Gregg Brown (Team Jeep) claiming third place a further six seconds back.

The fourth and final round of the 2014 Southern African Mountain Bike Cup Series will take place at Hayterdale Trails, Addo (Port Elizabeth) on 21 and 22 June. Cross-country and downhill riders will again be able to accumulate valuable UCI points, with the XCO carrying a UCI Category 1 rating for the Elite men and women, while the DHI will carry a UCI Category 2 rating for the Elite men. The fourth round will also allow riders to earn points for qualification towards the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. For junior riders, this event also forms part of the UCI Junior World Series.

Thereafter, riders will prepare for the once-off 2014 SA National MTB Championship, which will take place at Thaba Trails in Gauteng, from 19 to 20 July.

Cycling South Africa extends a big thanks to the hosts, Mankele MTB Park and their staff, for hosting the event. We also thank our sponsor, Stihl, for their continued support in mountain biking.

Download the full set of XCO results here

Download the full set of DHI results here

Summary of results: SA XCO Cup #3 (Mankele) 24 May 2014

Elite Men – 5 laps
1 Arno du Toit 01:33:51
2 Gert Heyns 01:34:12
3 Travis Walker 01:34:21
4 Matthys Beukes 01:35:29
5 Brendon Davids 01:36:13

Elite Women – 4 laps
1 Samantha Sanders 01:31:34
2 Ashleigh Moffatt 01:43:27

Junior Men – 3 laps
1 Julian Jessop 00:59:08
2 Marc Fourie 00:59:19
3 Johan Hartzenberg 01:00:29
4 Mani Lubbe 01:00:44
5 Nicol Carstens 01:00:45

Junior Women – 3 laps
1 Genevieve Van Coller 01:16:59
2 Alexandra Mapstone 01:17:34
3 Amy Williams 01:29:49

Youth Men – 3 laps
1 Andreas Kuhn 01:03:48
2 Thomas Jessop 01:03:57
3 Andrew Sparks 01:04:24
4 Matthew Keyser 01:06:14
5 Henry Liebenberg 01:06:22

Youth Women – 3 laps
1 Sabrina Van Wyk 01:19:48
2 Lynette Benson 01:23:19

Summary of results: SA DHI Cup #3 (Mankele) 25 May 2014

Elite Men
1 Tiaan Odendaal 02:21.216
2 Timothy Bentley 02:22.465
3 Gregg Brown 02:28.750
4 David Hogan 02:32.261
5 JP du Plessis 02:37.893
6 Dirk Lourens 02:39.312
7 Everd Carel Vermeulen 02:48:203
8 Nicholas Camp 02:49.342
9 Joshua Bryant 02:50.588
10 Shane Martin 02:51.588