Neethling nails Continental Champs downhill title in close encounter

Western Cape local Andrew Neethling, a professional racer for the international Giant Factory Racing Team, claimed the 2014 African Continental Championship downhill title at Contermanskloof on Sunday 26 January.

Neethling’s victory was not entirely a walk-in-the-park as he secured the winning time of 2 minutes 6.94 seconds in a close encounter with just under 4 seconds separating the top 5 finishers.

2013 African Continental Champs silver medallist Tiaan Odendaal repeated his finish by claiming silver yet again, a mere 0.42 seconds off the pace, with fellow local rider Johann Potgieter taking the bronze medal a further 1.30 seconds back.

Tim Bentley and Stefan Garlicki finished in 4th and 5th places respectively, clocking 02:09.25 and 02:10.69 respectively in their final runs.

“My off-season has been good, but good means hard,” said Neethling after his victory. “I’ve been working hard at my fitness and my coach has not been easy on me. It felt good to race again after a long training block.”

Neethling’s next big event with his pro team is early April, for the start of the UCI World Cup season in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking about the race at Contermanskloof, Neethling described just how close it was: “The top section of the track makes the racing very close, but it is the second half of the track where it gets really exciting. The trail becomes a lot looser and dustier, with holes developing, and the racing lines changing as the day progresses.

“My seeding run was consistent – it was what I wanted. Tiaan’s result was not a surprise, but he was a lot closer than I expected – he is a great rider. I knew Johann (Potgieter) and Stefan (Garlicki) would be fast on the local course and that they would be out for blood as usual.”

The Elite women’s title was claimed by Hayley-Ann Adamson in a time of 4 minutes 38.79 seconds.

Andrew Martin posted the fastest time in the Junior Men category to secure his victory in 02:18.60. Martin was followed by Jonathan Philogene (02:22.29) and Gregg Brown (02:28.79). 

Summary of Results – 2014 African Continental Champs [DHI] 

Click here for the full results

Elite Men
1 Andrew Neethling 02:06.94
2 Tiaan Odendaal 02:07.36
3 Johann Potgieter 02:08.66
4 Timothy Bentley 02:09.25
5 Stefan Garlicki 02:10.69
6 Sam Bull 02:12.94
7 Jonty Neethling 02:15.67
8 Theo Erlangsen 02:15.68
9 Adi Van Der Merwe 02:16.13
10 Hayden Brown 02:17.34 

Elite Women
1 Hayley-Ann Adamson 04:38.79

Junior Men
1 Andrew Martin 02:18.60
2 Jonathan Philogene 02:22.29
3 Gregg Brown 02:28.79
4 Jacques Prins 02:35.10
5 Dylan Els 02:37.84

Veteran Men
1 Myles Kelsey 02:27.69
2 Julien Louw 02:30.98
3 Craig McCosh 02:35.59
4 Jerome Abed 02:40.66
5 Paul Morris 02:48.44

Sub Veteran Men
1 Thomas Rood 02:27.25
2 Devon Katzen 02:29.59
3 Rupert Von Tutschek 02:32.15
4 Mark Millar 02:39.35
5 Damion Van Tromp 02:42.20

Youth Men
1 Francois Du Toit 02:34.07
2 Coenie Slabbert 02:35.48
3 Jesse Pauls 02:50.84
4 Christopher Philogene 03:11.66
5 Nikhil Baggonauth 03:25.04

Sub Junior Boys
1 Jasper Barrett 02:39.75
2 Jason Du Toit 02:51.35
3 Matt Muir 03:02.16
4 Ike Klaassen 03:31.04

Sport Men
1 Luke Davis 02:23.07
2 Robert Starke 02:23.44
3 Francois Van Schalkwyk 02:32.41
4 Jens Rubow 02:40.85
5 Andrew Little 02:45.84