Solid-Reverse Factory Racing Team’s Stefan Garlicki (sponsored by Investec) took the Elite Men’s title and fastest time of the day at the Helderberg Trails in Somerset West for the Western Cape Downhill Provincial, which doubled as the first round of the South African National Cup Series, at the weekend.
With close to 100 riders competing, the great showing set the bar for the next three National Cups to come. Hot, dry weather made for fast and slippery movements on the course, which also made for surprising runs.
“The conditions were tough as it was extremely hot and dusty. I don't think I have ever ridden a track quite as loose and dusty as that anywhere around the globe,” said Garlicki.
Garlicki said that he knew the track well and did not have to have too much time to practice beforehand. “I just tried to keep my race run mistake-free, which was no easy task on that track,” he said.
In his seeding run, Garlicki noticed a few costly mistakes he had made and knew that if he could iron those out, he would have a good chance of being the fastest down the hill. “The key, I think, was just to keep a good flow and not over ride the course,” he said.
“I have been training hard over the past few months plus I did well there two weeks ago at the first WPMTB Provincial so I was confident that if I kept it on two wheels, I could take the win. However with riders like Johann Potgieter, Jono and Chris Philogene, Sam Bull and Adi Van Der Merwe there, I knew it would not be easy!”
Racing for the Solid-Reverse Factory Racing team in Europe, Garlicki says that his focus this season will be on all of the UCI World Cups and the once-off World Championship. “I will also be focusing on the African Continental Champs in Lesotho, as well as the SA Champs in Pietermaritzburg. I want to keep doing my best, having fun and hopefully keep climbing the ladder internationally,” he added.
In the Women’s race, Veteran downhiller Rika Olivier took the first place spot ahead of Sub Veteran Simone Futter and Junior rider Sabine Thies. “What a track!” said Olivier. “I have to admit though that the top rock garden gave me the heebie jeebies. So much so, that I decided not to ride it and rather use the B-line. I like to call it a choice of experience, some might disagree,” she added.
“The rest was amazing, deep loose dust corners that the fast guys rode like shoulder high berms. I just pretended I was on a snowboard and kept the front light – it must have worked because I survived the weekend without face planting in the dust. Big thanks to the organisers, track builders and land owners,” she concluded.
Event organiser, Pieter du Toit, said: “We had 98 entries with 85 riders obtaining a final result. The track was extremely loose and dusty and different with every run. What is extremely exciting is the number of new faces on the track, especially with the kids.”
Du Toit mentioned that in the Youth Men category alone, there were 11 finishers, not to mention the number of girls riding as well. “The number of riders in the kids' categories is a confirmation that the sport is growing. The youngest rider, Ben Wolfson is only eight-years-old! I am very excited with the weekend's results and in it proves that our hard work is paying off,” he said.
Mother of four Downhill enthusiasts between the ages of eight and thirteen who took part in the competition, Tania Wolfson, said: “Quite frankly, I am filled with all sorts of emotions when my children take to the track. Admiration first – I have no idea how they find the courage to go down these tracks, let alone at speed (I don’t even like walking down them!). Pride in how they give of their best all the time and have such a positive attitude, and how they get up after each fall and try again. Joy at seeing them arrive at the finish line, dusty or muddy, with a grin on their faces, safe and in one piece. Fear – I know that it can go wrong so easily and pray that they will arrive safely at the bottom of the track.
“There is nothing better than watching your children doing something they love, and so, as long as they have a passion for this sport, I will be their biggest fan and encourage them all the way.”
When chatting to her four children about the excitement of Downhill racing, Maximillian, Charlotte, Zachariah and Benjamin replied almost in unison: “It’s fun, you make great friends, it’s a wonderful community, it’s exhilarating, it makes you happy, it’s unique, everyone helps each other with advice on difficult sections, they are always encouraging, you get to visit great places and everyone is friendly.”
Summary of Results – 2016 SA Downhill Series #1 – Helderberg Farms 28 February
Click here to view the full results: http://www.cyclingsa.com/s/20160229_SA-Downhill-Series-1-2016-Results-1.pdf
1.Stefan Garlicki (Elite) 02:53.277
2.Jonathan Philogene (Elite) 02:58.730
3.Johann Potgieter (Elite) 02:59.845
4.Theo Erlangsen (Elite) 03:00.487
5.Adi Van Der Merwe (Elite) 03:01.815
6.Samuel Bull (Elite) 03:06.310
7.Duran Van Eeden (Elite) 03:08.448
8.Dane Olsen (Elite) 03:12.378
9.Struan McMaster (Elite) 03:13.467
10.Cullen McMaster (Junior) 03:14.742
1.Rika Olivier (Vet Women) 03:50.924
2.Simone Futter (Sub Vet Women) 04:35.245
3.Sabine Thies (Junior Women) 04:59.846
4.Kathryn Fourie (Sub Vet Women) 05:08.882
5.Leigh Haskins (Vet Women) 05:45.726
6.Gabrielle Lanfear (Junior Women) 05:59.621
7.Charlotte Wolfson (Junior Women) 07:44.755
Elite Men (EM)
1.Stefan Garlicki 02:53.277
2.Jonathan Philogene 02:58.730
3.Johann Potgieter 02:59.845
Junior Men (JM)
1.Cullen McMaster 03:14.742
2.Christopher Philogene 03:17.275
3.Coenie Slabbert 03:24.313
Youth Men (YM)
1.Jason Du Toit 03:23.116
2.Jason Williams 03:23.903
3.Steph Geldenhuys 03:37.554
Sub Vets Men (SV)
1.Darryn Stow 03:19.842
2.Devon Katzen 03:23.558
3.Pieter Henning 03:39.117
Vets Men (VM)
1.Chris Nixon 03:20.221
2.Vince Muir 03:51.302
3.Karl Ebel 04:06.757
Masters Men (MM)
1.Guy Lanfear 04:41.179
2.Maarten Prins 04:42.453
3.Christo Van Eeden 05:01.915
Enduro bikes (ED)
1.Lance Morris 03:33.277
2.Carlo Brand 03:36.415
3.Karl Prins 03:45.704
Fun-class Men (FM)
1.Timo Godfrey 03:47.538
2.Guy Smith 04:16.887
3.Geordie Roberson 04:52.648
Sub Junior Boys (JB)
1.Maximilliam Wolfson 04:30.036
2.Kyle Brand 05:03.194
Nippers Boys (NB)
1.Benjamin Wolfson 10:13.290
Sprogs Boys (SB)
1.Storm Lanfear 04:41.525
2.Keagan Brand 05:14.650
3.Tim Groenewald 05:19.861