The Madibaz MTB XCO Series got off to a thrilling start when the opening Whip Snake leg was held on the Nelson Mandela University campus in George at the weekend.
Race director Jan Venter said they were delighted with the first race in the third edition of the series, with a good attendance and fine weather making for a memorable occasion.
Aimed at promoting mountain-biking in the region with an emphasis on developing cross-country skills, the event continues to draw strong support.
Venter said the large number of adult riders added a good deal of spirit to the occasion, which caters for cyclists from nippers to grandmasters.
The elite men’s and women’s events were won by Kyle Symons and Rose Bailey.
Symons did the five-lap course in a time of 1:24:29, followed by Hayden and Luke Cocksedge.
Bailey completed the women’s four-lap course in 1:18:07, ahead of Anuschke Smith.
The pair now have the inside lane in the annual competition as points are added up over the four legs to decide the overall winners.
Adding lustre to the occasion were Ascendis Health riders Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz, who were the runners-up in last month’s Cape Epic.
However, they took on a largely ambassadorial role during the race.
“They asked to be promotional riders rather than take up podium positions,” said Venter. “They were there to show their support to the series but did not want to mess up the log-points for the local riders.
“Still, having them there was great and Rose, who raced to keep up with them, certainly had her hands full. She did very well.”
The XCO Series will continue on May 6 when the second leg, dubbed Boomslang, will take place at the same venue in George.
The category winners were:
Nipper boys: Roy Fraser-McKenzie 25:24; girls: Anje van Niekerk 21:57
Sprog boys: Matthew Brink 31:16; girls: Mienke Boshoff 28:21
Sub-junior boys: Christian Hattingh 51:21; girls: Linel Engelbrecht 42:56
Youth men: Julian Bunge 1:02:53; women: Sorina Venter 1:22:33
Junior men: Tristan Nortje 1:00:08; women: Kirsten Roelofse 1:04:39
U23 men: Leendert Cronje 1:24:37; women: Jean-Marie Roelofse 1:28:12
Elite men: Kyle Symons 1:24:29; women: Rose Bailey 1:18:07
Sub-vet men: Nico Kruger 1:25:41; women: Zane Coetzee 1:25:14
Veteran men: Deon Barnard 1:28:39; women: Marike Vreken 1:24:20
Master men: Richard Muller 1:11:36; women: Etresia Heyns 1:20:51
Grandmaster men: Abbey de Groot 1:19:04