By Quintin van Jaarsveld
Burry Stander’s lasting legacy was evident in the vast number of participants in the Burry Stander Sardine Mountain Bike Classic at Port Edward Holiday Resort at the weekend.
Over 600 athletes and mountain bikers paid homage to the late, great Olympian and raised funds for the Burry Stander Foundation in what was a fitting celebration of the South Coast icon’s extra-ordinary life.
Burry’s mother, Mandie, said it was heartening to see the community unite and support the event.
“It’s so special to see how many people still come out to celebrate Burry’s life and his passion for mountain biking. It’s great to see riders, supporters, organisers and service providers come together.
“Everybody thoroughly enjoyed themselves, especially our [Burry Stander Foundation] five development riders who completed their first race, the 40km event, with a smile on their face,” Mandie told eHowz!t.
The weekend kicked off on a high on Saturday as 110 athletes – double the number of last year’s participants – set off on the 20km and 10km trail runs from Port Edward Holiday Resort at 7.30am.
The weather was perfect and held out until prize giving when the predicted cold front started to move in.
There was a strong field of contenders – from South Coast Striders athletes to individuals travelling from other provinces to better their 2013 times and positions.
One participant commented that although the course was tough, it was well laid out.
Following a picturesque run, Jonat van Heerden crossed the line in 1:19:35 to snap up the men’s title in the 20km race. Eric Ndovela finished second with Dean Rosin completing the podium.
Jeanette Davidson won the women’s race in 1:54:20 ahead of runner-up Brydey Weber and third-placed Jolanda Rosin.
Themba Xesibe won the men’s 10km race in 44:35, where Sinovuyo Nkasa and Andreas van Heerden finished second and third, while Mart Vosloo won the women’s race in 1:09:02 after seeing off challenges from Sarah van Rensburg and Paula Turner.
Photos by One-Way Productions
South Coast mountain bikers steal the show
Although it appeared that the impending cold front may have put off some riders, just over 500 enthusiastic mountain bikers gathered in preparation for Sunday’s rides from the Port Edward Holiday Resort grounds.
The 40km classic got underway at 8am followed by the 20km and 10km events.
The start/finish arena was facilitated by the three leading local bike shops and a selection of food stalls and kids entertainment were on hand to keep children of all ages busy and well looked after.
One-Way Productions ensured that competitors and spectators were constantly informed of the day’s proceedings and continually thanked the various sponsors who had contributed to the event’s needs.
Reports from the competitors confirmed that the night’s rain had settled the course nicely and that it was well marked. Nonetheless, there were a number of non-fatal but serious injuries that were promptly attended to by Medivac and NSRI teams.
Most competitors finished their races in good form and were welcomed with a recovery drink and medals by the Powerade chariot.
After a second place finish last year, the accomplished Andrew Hill won the men’s 40km classic in 01:50:44, with Alan Hatherly and Tyron Bird finishing second and third (full results below).
A new women’s champion was guaranteed after defending champion Hayley Smith of Uvongo failed to recover sufficiently from a back injury in time to defend her crown.
It was Natalie Bergstrom who came away with the win in 02:15:53 ahead of Nataschka Mowat and Kim Westbrook.
As impressive as these performances were, South Coast riders stole the show.
Young Megan Bircher of Port Edward, one of Stander’s biggest fans, fittingly won the women’s 20km race (and the sub junior girls category) for her hero in 01:12:30.
“What an awesome and special race today. Burry would be super proud. I’m really happy with my first place,” she said.
Janice van Aswegen and Bridget Theunissen completed the overall women’s podium.
Joshua Clipstone won the men’s 20km race in 01:11:44 after keeping Cale Lindecke and Enrico Deysel at arm’s length.
Burry’s father Charles placed second in the grand master category and his brothers Duane and Charl finished third (not second as per results sheet below) and fourth in the sub veteran category.
Prize giving took place just after 12pm and was opened by a few words from South Coast Tourism representative Howard Kelly.
The trophies and cash winnings were cordially handed over by Mandie.
After the formalities were taken care of, competitors were treated to an exciting lucky draw of over 50 different gifts from the bike shops and other local businesses.
Prize giving photos by One-Way Productions
Action photos by Kelly Elliot/QuickPix (www.quickpix.co.za)