Popularity in a sport is always good to see and the steadily increasing participation of Enduro racing was evident when the Karkloof MTB Club hosted the second ever South African Enduro National Championships in the Karkloof Valley, KwaZulu-Natal, at the end of October.
The growing mountain-bike discipline attracted 194 riders for the two-day, 10-stage event in hot, dry and challenging conditions. Day one delivered five stages in the “Outback” of the Karkloof trails, with a lot of climbing (1241 metres elevation gain). Frankie du Toit not only won the women’s category but positioned herself in the top 10 overall after day one, while local rider Keira Duncan put 13 seconds between himself and fellow local Tim Bentley.
Day two was gentle in comparison to the opening day and the five stages took place within the Karkloof trails with a “moderate” elevation gain of 1067 metres, incorporating the Howick Mountain Bike Club trails on two of the stages.
Again, it was Keira Duncan to deliver the fastest ride for the overall win and the National Title, followed by Tim Bentley and 2017 SA Champion Sam Bull, who rode remarkably well considering his bad luck with injuries and recovery of late, third.
Frankie du Toit rode to a commanding victory by taking the women’s title with Beanie Thies and Zandri Strydom providing a greater challenge on day two but not able to beat her stage times.
Asked about his experience over the weekend, Duncan explained, “I am not one to do all that great in super-hot conditions as I battle with migraines, so I am just glad I had started hydrating a good couple of days before the weekend, and just kept drinking lots of water, so I pulled through without any issues. Just to see all the happy faces and smiles, and shouting down the trails and what not, everybody was just so stoked, that was really a highlight of the weekend for me.”
With her win, Du Toit now holds National Champ titles in five disciplines - road, time trial, cross country, marathon and endure – and she said, “I rode the weekend with a really cool group of people which always makes the experience better. I am super stoked about taking the win especially after my disappointing year. I am really chuffed that it was a very well organised event, it was a good turn out, and we had good competition in the guys, but also in the girls which is always exciting.”
Silverback Volvo Rider, Luke Moir managed to claim his fourth national title with his win in the Youth category at the Enduro Champs, adding the title to his collective of XCO, XCM and XCE in the Youth category.
Events like these are never possible without sponsor support, and the Karkloof Trails Club owe massive thanks to Specialized, Fox South Africa, Cooked Orange, Super Bock, aQuélle, Sappi, Stihl, Wolfpack Adventure Apparel, Pure Wellness Kloof, Karkloof Canopy Tours, Blaze Custom Innovation, Greg Minnaar Cycles, Ride With Zeal, Howick Security Superstore and Nkosi Nursery.