Bridesmaid no more: Stefan Garlicki wins SA MTB Cup Series DHI #1

The first downhill event of the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series took place in Contermanskloof in the Western Cape on Sunday 22 February 2015. Over 60 riders were in attendance with some new names and some firm favourites all ready to open their 2015 campaign with maximum points towards the national series log. It was clear that many of the riders had been putting in some good training during the off-season, with Stefan Garlicki taking the victory by half-a-second, Andrew Neethling claiming second and Tiaan Odendaal third place.

Elite Men’s winner Stefan Garlicki at the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series #1 which took place in Contermanskloof in the Western Cape on Sunday 22 February 2015. Chris Hitchcock | PhotoSport

Elite Men’s winner Stefan Garlicki at the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series #1 which took place in Contermanskloof in the Western Cape on Sunday 22 February 2015. Chris Hitchcock | PhotoSport

Elite Men’s winner, Stefan Garlicki talks about the hard work, determination and perseverance that finally got him the results he had been waiting for.

The Solid Reverse Team rider, sponsored by Investec, had mentioned on his Instagram feed after the race that he was “bridesmaid no more.” He says that he is thrilled about the win he has been working towards for a while now. “It’s been such a long time coming. For the past four years I have only ever come so close to first, but never first. It still hasn’t hit me yet and I’m trying to let it sink in,” he said.
 
He said that he thoroughly enjoys riding on the Western Cape course because it has all the right elements.

Andrew Neethling, who came second overall in the Men's Elite race at the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series which took place in Contermanskloof in the Western Cape on Sunday 22 February 2015. Chris Hitchcock | PhotoSport

Andrew Neethling, who came second overall in the Men's Elite race at the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series which took place in Contermanskloof in the Western Cape on Sunday 22 February 2015. Chris Hitchcock | PhotoSport

“The course is deep, loose, and very technical, such a good challenge. Having ridden in Europe, we get to see how great and challenging some courses can be and this one is very similar. It really separates the standard of riders,” he said.  The course covered a distance of 1.2km with an elevation difference of 207m.

Tiaan Odendaal, who came in third place in the Men's Elite race at the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series which took place in Contermanskloof in the Western Cape on Sunday 22 February 2015. Chris Hitchcock | PhotoSport

Tiaan Odendaal, who came in third place in the Men's Elite race at the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series which took place in Contermanskloof in the Western Cape on Sunday 22 February 2015. Chris Hitchcock | PhotoSport

In terms of training, Garlicki said that he couldn’t exactly pinpoint one specific thing that he did differently this time around, as there were many contributing factors. “I didn’t change my training routine too much, I really just spent more time on the downhill bike than I ever had over the previous seasons,” he said.
 
His hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, and his support base is overjoyed at the results. His attitude towards the sport puts him in good stead for a successful future in the field.

Bonga Notoko, who rides for Songo.Info at the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series which took place in Contermanskloof in the Western Cape on Sunday 22 February 2015. Chris Hitchcock | PhotoSport

Bonga Notoko, who rides for Songo.Info at the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series which took place in Contermanskloof in the Western Cape on Sunday 22 February 2015Chris Hitchcock | PhotoSport

He chatted about the importance of having the correct frame of mind about the ride as well.
“I also spent some time with a coach to help me prepare mentally in order to iron out a few things and really get myself into the correct mindset,” he said.
 
Garlicki leaves in a month to go to Europe with his Solid Reverse Factory Racing UCI team, where they will compete in the World Cup. The first race of the World Cup season is in Lourdes, France.

For a full set of SA National results after the first event, click here.

To view the SA National Downhill Points Log and rankings after event #1, click here.

The Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series DHI #2 takes place at Cascades in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 5th April 2015. 

For information about other events in the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series, click here.