The third round of the 2015 Stihl SA MTB Cup Series takes place at Mankele MTB Park near Mbombela, Mpumalanga, from 25-26 April. This is the first event of the season where the cross-country (XCO) and downhill (DHI) races will take place at the same venue on the same weekend and promises thrilling action and entertainment for riders and spectators alike.
The UCI Cat 1 XCO event is sure to attract SA’s top riders once again to continue their point’s momentum three races into the series, while Junior competitors will be competing in an event that forms part of the UCI Junior World Series.
Team RECM rider James Reid is eager to see what next weekend holds, especially after the excitement at the Pietermaritzburg MTB Festival at Cascades earlier this month. Reid competed in the UCI HC Cat XCO race on Saturday 4 April, and had spectators on the edge of their seats. Being part of the first breakaway of three and the first Elite Male over the finish line after the first lap, things were looking promising for Reid, until a shoe mishap occurred quite early on in the race, which pushed him back into fifth place. “Ah, I mean of course, the shoe thing wasn’t ideal at all, but I had a good time out there,” he said.
The race was unpredictable all the way to the finish, and supporters found themselves glued to the live-streaming screens at the event to get in on the track action. Reid fought hard to attack once he got back onto the bike, and was all-systems go all the way to the end, which saw him back on the podium in third place behind Germany’s Martin Gluth (second) and Israel’s Shlomi Haimy (first). “Well, you guys (Cycling SA) always put on a show for these events so it’s always great to put on a show for you on the day,” he laughed.
Reid takes part in the third XCO leg of the SA MTB Cup series at Mankele on Saturday and for him, many fond memories surround this particular region. “I did my first national there at Mankele as a young sprog at 16 years old. I’ve been there (Mbombela) every year for the last few years – it’s a wonderful spot,” he said.
The course is promised to be fast-paced and exciting, with familiar sections and some new instalments thrown into the mix. The course is also particularly spectator-friendly, and offers a wide range of viewing of the sections, as well as a coffee shop for supporters to enjoy good food and drinks. “I have always enjoyed the Mankele course. It’s definitely one of my favourites because it’s a great all-rounder. There’s something for everyone there,” said Reid.
The 2013 and 2014 SA MTB Marathon Champ has had a very successful 2015 season so far -having claimed the six-day Trans Hajar title in Oman in February, and winning the DUTOIT Tankwa Trek in the Western Cape soon after with teammate, Erik Kleinhans. He also claimed the silver medal at the Stihl SA XCO #2 this year at Voortrekker Monument in Gauteng, coming in just behind Matthys Beukes.
Reid rides this weekend together with his RECM team in the Ashburton National MTB Series in Clarens - the first time this year that the team will be competing in the same race. After round 3 of the SA MTB Cup Series, it’s off to Rwanda for Reid for the African Continental Champs, and the World Cup in Czech Republic and Germany later on in May.
Entries for the 2015 Stihl SA MTB Cup Series #3 are open for the XCO and DHI events. Click here to enter. Entries close on Tuesday 21 April 2015. Late entries will be accepted at registration with a nominal fee of R50.
For more information about the event, click here.