The SA National Para-cycling Championships, part of the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled, presented by SASAPD (South African Sport Association for the Physically Disabled), took place in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal earlier this week.
Racing began with the junior flat track Time Trial event on Monday 26th March, with the juniors and seniors taking to the streets on Tuesday for the road Time Trial, and the road race completing the proceedings on Wednesday 28th March 2012.
Five New SA Records at Junior Flat Track Event
The junior flat track Time Trial race was held on the tartan athletics track. Racing was finished soon after midday, in the heat of the day in very hot and humid conditions along the coast.
Despite the challenging conditions, five new South African records were established! Young Joelene Kuhn of the Free State set new records in both the 800-metre and 1500m under-14 tricycle (T2) events.
Christian Sadie of the Western Province set a record in the U16 500m bicycle (C4) race, while Dylan da Silva of Gauteng, representing the U20 category, set new records in the 1000m and 4000m bicycle (C4) events.
Mc Creadie Clinches Definitive Time Trial Victory
On Tuesday, the big guns attacked a 5km Time Trial course on the road in Durban near the beachfront. The seemingly flat course that presented a few little humps on the route profile, started and finished on the Battery Beach Road near the Kings Park Swimming Pool. Competitors headed out east under the M4 Bridge and turned left into Snell Parade until they reached Athlone Drive. The return to the finish line as along NMR Road.
Ernst Van Dyk claimed an early definitive lead ahead of Andries Scheepers by 45-seconds, when Scheepers went out too quickly and took strain over the last 5-kilometres (of 15km). But it was Stuart Mc Creadie who astonished the field with probably the most remarkable performance of the day. Mc Creadie, a hand cyclist in the H2 category recorded a time of 25:28, which was about 1.5 minutes quicker than current World Champion van Dyk’s (H4) (27:09)!
Mc Creadie’s time was only 3-seconds slower than the fastest tandem pair of the day. Oswald Kydd (amputee C2 rider) rode a very impressive race averaging 35.8 km per hour. Only a little quicker than Kydd but impressive, was C5 bicyclist James van Rensburg (current UCI African C5 champ) who posted a time of 25:25 over 15.3 km.
On the tricycles Gerhard Viljoen performed extremely well, beating National Champ Goldy Fuchs. Riaan Nel, one of SA's top tricyclists had technical problems with his brakes.
National champion tandem pair Lourens de Kok and Frans Bezuidenhout punctured and could not complete their race. Jenovan Cornelissen and Theo Schmeisser won the Tandem category.
Of the juniors, Gauteng's Dylan da Silva (C4) rode very well and was the fastest junior of the day.
Van Dyk Nails Road Race
Wednesday’s road race hand cycling highlight was Van Dyk’s nail biting victory ahead of Scheepers (both H4), followed very closely by Mc Creadie (H2). Van Dyk completed the 10-lap 51.26km course in 01:23:20, with Scheepers only 1-second behind and Mc Creadie a further 4-seconds off the pace!
The competition between the 4 tricyclists (Viljoen, Fuchs, Nel and Yustin Lintnaar) saw Viljoen take an early and increasing lead during the race with a gold medal win in 01:05:27 for 7-laps (35.88km). Viljoen’s victory was more than 5-minutes ahead of his competition Lintnaar (01:10:55), who claimed 2nd place ahead of Paralympian silver medallist Riaan Nel.
The tandems and C4 and C5 riders provided great spectator excitement, with the lead alternating regularly. Ultimately it was Mookesh Parmeswar and his pilot from KZN who claimed gold, completing the 71.76km (14-lap) course in 01:59:31.
The women pair of Kamelen Kleinsmith and Michelle van Rensburg were outstanding finishing only seconds behind their male gold medallist colleagues.
James van Rensburg won gold in the C5 class, just beating the tandem winners – his ability to sprint finish was what made the difference. The most talented junior of the road race was Dylan da Silva, who kept pace with the fastest seniors for much of his race. As he transitions to a senior he should become one of South Africa’s more competitive riders.
Young development riders from the Northern Cape performed very well in the championships, overall. The region is making great strides in terms of transformation in the sport. Western Province was the winning for the championships.
Photos: Karin Burns