In a rare feat for a race that has a habit of attracting the most competitive mountain bikers in the region the Sappi Scottburgh MTB Classic on Sunday ended in an amicable dead-heat between defending champion Andrew Hill and Tyronne White.
The duo were inseparable over the demanding hilly and untamed 45km race before they approached the finish at Scottburgh’s main beach.
After racing across the pallets laid out across the beach sand they had to deal with the Mpambanyoni lagoon crossing, and as the first riders home they were uncertain about the water depth.
Hill, fresh from an impressive win at the Imana Wild Ride managed to cross the shallow water safely while White opted to stop, remove his cycling shoes and then wade across the river.
Instead of racing away to claim a fourth successive win, Hill waited for White and the pair crossed the finish line together to share the spoils.
“That’s proper mountain biking. There wasn’t any difference between us on the bike out there today, so we reached a gentleman’s agreement that we would finish together” said Hill.
“It shows sportsmanship and I hope it sets an example to the younger mountain bikers,” the TIB Insurance athlete added.
White (Ballito Bicycle Co.) scored handsomely out of the deal as he gets maximum points towards the Quattro ROAG Series powered by Momentum and now has one hand on the trophy after seven races in the series.
Brad Thompson wrapped up third, seven minutes off the pacesetting pairs lead.
The tough first climb quickly separated the podium contenders from the rest of A batch, but it nearly went very wrong for White and Hill when they took a wrong turn and had to back-track to return to the 45km route.
Hill was feeling the effects of four tough days riding on the Wild Coast and said the ‘raw and untamed’ nature of the Scottburgh route had challenged him.
“I was feeling it in my legs,” he admitted. “Once we got away again we worked really well, almost as if we were partners on a stage race.”
“This is such great riding. You have sand, some good climbs, river crossings, single-track, berms, and it keeps you thinking all the time,” he added.
The women’s race proved to be a popular home-coming for former South Coast resident Hayley Smith, posting an impressive three and a half minute win over ROAG Series leader Christie-Leigh Hearder, with Natascka Mowat alone in third place. It was Smith’s third win at the Scottburgh event.
The Wardkiss 28km title fell to youngster Sean Yelland, holding off another promising young talent Omar Wilson. The women’s title went to the impressive Riley Smith.
Since its inception in 2012 the Sappi Scottburgh MTB race raises funds and awareness for the Cycling4Mobility project and the QuadPara Association’s Jodie Kroone was on hand to hand over the prizes after the mountain bike racing was completed.
The event formed the second round of the South Coast Fever MTB and Trail Run Series.
Series organiser Michael Bester from One Way Productions said, “[Race organiser] Flavio [Scarpa] and his team pulled out all the stops to host yet another race that will make keen cyclists and adrenaline addicts come back again and again.
“As always, this was never going to be an easy race, but one of the series races that everybody looks forward to. All the participants said the route was amazing, challenging and very well marked – another huge feather in Flavio’s cap. Everyone loved every second.
“Thank you to all the event sponsors concerned with this very successful event: Sappi, Cycling4Mobility, Funky Pants, Chep and a few smaller local businesses that made the event what it was.
“Cycling4Mobility is a phenomenal charity that needs all our support and the proceeds from this event will be donated to this worthy cause. A big thank you as always to the series sponsors as well.”
The series is sponsored by South Coast Fever, South Coast Tourism, Tiago’s, Sign Master, Hollard Insurance, Hibiscus Coast Insurance Brokers, Powerade and One Way Productions.
The third round of the series, the Ingeli MTB and Fun Run, takes place at Harding Sports Grounds as part of the Ingeli Show on Sunday, 28 July.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
SAPPI SCOTTBURGH 45KM MTB CLASSIC
1.Andrew Hill 1:42:39
1.Tyronne White 1:42:39
3.Brad Thompson 1:49:32
4.Carl Adendorf 1:50:34
5.Johandre Marx 1:51:36
6.Jedson Tooms 1:51:56
7.Ethan Jackson 1:52:03
8.Brent Yelland 1:52:27
9.Gregg McDonagh 1:52:30
10.Grant Lavers 1:52:33
1.Hayley Smith 2:02:11
2.Christie-Leigh Hearder 2:05:47
3.Natascka Mowat 2:11:35
4.Brenda Potts 2:12:30
5.Nadine Nunes 2:12:35
6.Shelley Higgo 2:14:04
7.Rouxda Grobler 2:14:31
8.Debrah Thomas 2:15:47
9.Karyn Southgate 2:16:02
10.Belinda Mason 2:19:16
WARDKISS 28KM MTB RACE
1.Sean Yelland 1:19:56
2.Omas Wilson 1:20:08
3.Justin Swanepoel 1:21:25
4.Tyler Ekerold 1:24:28
5.Kyle Osbourn 1:28:25
6.Christo Willemse 1:29:23
7.Joshua Page 1:29:39
8.Brayden Walker 1:30:10
9.Brett Fourie 1:30:14
10.Sameul Quin 1:32:55
1.Riley Smith 1:30:15
2.Errin Mackridge 1:31:35
3.Amber Cole 1:33:35
4.Roxanne Message 1:38:40
5.Ingrid Flint 1:39:37
6.Jodi Mackinnon 1:42:12
7.Janine Macmahon 1:44:34
8.Anna Stepleton 1:45:58
9.Zinnia Freitas 1:47:47
10.Chloe Allison 1:51:03
Photos by Liberty