Sani2c: Ned­bank duo are race favourites

Weekend Witness - - Sport - RE­BECCA VAN DER LINDE En­duro wrap

DAVID Ge­orge and Kevin Evans (Ned­bank 360Life) earned them­selves the favourites tag for the Subaru Sani2c moun­tain bike race that started in Un­der­berg on Thurs­day, hav­ing re­cently dom­i­nated at the MTN Tul­bagh ul­tra-marathon.

“We’re go­ing there to fight for a win and, on pa­per, we’re more than ca­pa­ble,” said Ge­orge, who took his sec­ond win of the pres­ti­gious na­tional se­ries and with it the over­all lead. His team-mate Evans, a four-time Subaru Sani2c cham­pion, proved he had also re­turned to form with a de­ter­mined sec­ond place af­ter break­ing his col­lar­bone at the Absa Cape Epic in March.

Ge­orge con­ceded the Sani2c was a ma­jor ob­jec­tive for them. “We planned our sea­son around two big peaks, the Epic and now.”

He said that de­spite the bad luck at the be­gin­ning of the year, they were still one of the strong­est teams go­ing into the three-day race through south­ern KwaZulu-Na­tal, which fin­ishes at Scot­tburgh to­day. Their big­gest threat is likely to come from the ex­pe­ri­enced team of Max Knox and Rwanda’s Adrien Niyon­shuti (MTNDoItNow) as well as Bran­don Ste­wart and na­tional road cham­pion Dar­ren Lill (FedGroup Berg and Bush).

The women’s race has been blown wide open with the with­drawal of joBerg2c cham­pion Ischen Stop­forth (Team bizhub). Stop­forth, who over­came a punc­ture and a crash to take third at Tul­bagh be­hind her part­ner Cather­ine Wil­liamson, was bit­ten by a dog dur­ing a train­ing ride on Mon­day. Wil­liamson, of Bri­tain, will now be part­nered by cross-coun­try rider Candice Neeth­ling, who placed fourth in Tul­bagh.

“They’ll still go for the win — they must do it for me!” Stop- forth said. She said their main competition would come from the strong pair­ings of Cherise Tay­lor and Karien van Jaarsveld (USN) and Han­lie Booyens and Michelle Lom­bardi (Mo­men­tum SI Ladies).

CY­CLING NEWS Road rac­ing con­tin­ued with the KZN Lassen Se­ries at Cam­per­down last week­end. Dean Ed­wards took the vic­tory in the Elite/Ju­nior and U23 race in a time of one hour, 39 min­utes and 13 sec­onds with Richard Bax­ter three sec­onds off the pace be­hind him.

Chris Cowan was first ju­nior home while Deno van Heer­den led the vet­er­ans home in third place over­all (1:39:18). Hon­ours in the U16, women and vet­eran 50+ six-lap race went to U16 rider Ryan Fel­gate (1:48:50) while Trevor Thompson led the vets home (1:49:59) fol­lowed by Don Kruger and Colin Stroberg. Kim Watchurst took a sur­prise win in the women’s race (1:55:26) ahead of Is­abel Mool­man and Brenda Potts.

MOUN­TAIN BIK­ING NEWS The sec­ond event in the KZN Mo­men­tum Health Short Course Se­ries took place at the Hes­keth Con­ser­vancy last week­end. The venue pro­vided a cen­tral and well main­tained track which was ideal for short course rac­ing over a six kilo­me­tre loop.

Rid­ers are able to choose which event they wish to race, be it A batch over 90 min­utes through to D batch over 45 min­utes of rac­ing.

Bren­don Davids and James Reid tus­sled it out in A batch with Davids clinch­ing the win ahead of Reid and Travis Walker plac­ing third. Jeannie Bom­ford and Elaine Carter-Brown con­tested A batch while most women raced B batch over 75 min­utes. Ju­lian Jes­son was first home in the B batch with vet­eran Alan Martin sec­ond.

Amongst the women, Ash­leigh Parker-Mof­fatt placed first ahead of Nataschka Mowat and Sa­van­nah Schuit. C batch win­ners over 60 min­utes were Joshua Nel­son and Frankie du Toit. The next event in the Mo­men­tum Short Course Se­ries takes place next week­end (Sun­day May 29) at Holla Trails, Bal­lito.

MOUN­TAIN BIK­ING The Bos­ton MTB chal­lenge takes place to­mor­row morn­ing from the Bos­ton Coun­try Club. There are three for­mats to choose from, a 10 km Fam­ily Fun Ride (R20), a 25 km In­ter­me­di­ate (R60) and 50 km Chal­lenge (R100). Please note that there will be no late en­try fee charged for en­tries on the day.

For the 50 km ride, there will be no of­fi­cial start — par­tic­i­pants may start any­time af­ter 9.30 am. The races will not be timed and there will be no prize money for win­ners. The 25 km is a rel­a­tively easy ride with only one dif­fi­cult climb in it. The 10 km is aimed at kids and novices. Funds raised will go to the Bos­ton Coun­try Club and How­ick Hospice.

Next Satur­day sees the Com­pen­dium MTB Derby tak­ing place at Shong­weni Polo Club, Hill­crest, from 8.30 am.

Reg­is­tra­tion will be open be­tween 7 am and 9 am, with the 40 km start­ing at 8.30 am, fol­lowed by the 20 km at 8.45 am, the 10 km at 8.55 am and the five kilo­me­tre at 9 am. En­tries close on www.roag.co.za on Wed­nes­day. T-shirts to the first 1 000 en­tries, medals to all fin­ish­ers.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Kevin Evans (right) and Neil Mac­Don­ald com­pete dur­ing the sani2c moun­tain bike race cur­rently tak­ing place in Un­der­berg.

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