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March 09, Cross country:

Buys and Speedy win African Continental Championships

Cycling News
March 11, 2013, 15:19 GMT,
March 14, 2013, 16:19 GMT

Davids and Strauss earn U23 titles

New African Continental Champion Mariske Strauss (Contego 28E) claimed her lead in the 5-lap XCO race by picking up her pace in the third and fourth laps to take hold of the tussle with Olympian Candice Neethling (BMC SA) at Cascades MTB Park, Pietermaritzburg

New African Continental Champion Mariske Strauss (Contego 28E) claimed her lead in the 5-lap XCO race by picking up her pace in the third and fourth laps to take hold of the tussle with Olympian Candice Neethling (BMC SA) at Cascades MTB Park, Pietermaritzburg

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Plenty of action amidst wet and muddy conditions saw the crowning of various age-group champions at the 2013 African Continental Championships for cross country and downhill mountain biking, which took place in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend.

The fastest men and women's cross country times of the weekend came from the under 23 age category, with Brendon Davids (Team Jeep South Africa/Specialized) and Mariske Strauss (Contego 28E) taking the top honours.

"It was definitely a very good race for me, but it most certainly wasn't perfect," said the Pietermaritzburg local, Davids. "Once I managed to get away, I 'played it safe' by not taking the main line at the rock garden.

"I made a break on lap one and managed to get a small gap. Once I got away, my sole focus was to race the laps not the competitors. I tried to keep my laps super consistent, as well as finish strong. I then got wind that I had brought back time on Phil (Buys), which I think made me kick it into high-gear on lap 4 and 5. I caught him at the end of lap 4, and went straight to the front, attacking the climbs as hard as I possibly could, and riding the descents conservatively."

Davids was followed by James Reid and Arno Du Toit, who completed the five-lap race in 1:27:37 and 1:27:50 respectively. Davids will be racing the cross country World Cup circuit for the first time this year, with his next big races being Albstadt, Germany and Nove Mesto, Czech.

"Based on my performances there, I will attend the rest of the UCI World Cups. I will also race the national championships (Port Elizabeth) and of course the World Championships in Pietermaritzburg."

The elite men's race was won by Philip Buys (Scott) in 1:28:20, with Mauritian Yannick Lincoln finishing second (1:32:19) and Heinrich Kohne from Namibia third (1:37:48).

Mariske Strauss claimed her lead by picking up her pace in the third and fourth laps of the five-lap race to take hold of the tussle with Olympian Candice Neethling (BMC SA). Strauss crossed the finish line in 1:48:54 with Neethling claiming second (1:52:18) and Namibian Vera Adrian third (2:03:09).

Yolande Speedy (a[s]g MTB Academy) won the elite women's race in 1:59:20. Mauritian Aurelie Halbwachs who claimed second place (2:00:30) with South African Samantha Sanders third (2:04:14).

It was fellow Pietermaritzburg resident Hayden Brown (Titanium Designs Morewood) who claimed top honours on the slippery downhill track on Sunday. Brown posted the quickest time of four minutes and 45.06 seconds down the treacherous course, beating Tiaan Odendaal and Stefan Garlicki into second and third places respectively.

"The weekend went very well," said Brown of his new championship title. "The conditions were very wet, making the top section of the course more technical, and the pedalling sections a lot slower. Nonetheless I enjoy wet conditions.

"Qualifying wasn't what I expected, and after having two low speed crashes I decided to take it easy in some sections and I seeded 12th. Knowing I could improve drastically I changed my tyres for the final run and made my way to the top of the hill. My race run was very smooth and conservative at the top and I managed to get a good pedal or two along the N3 section."

Brown came close though to not even putting in his final run when he did a last minute inspection of his chain at the top of the hill. "My chain had been jumping and I thought it was because of the mud, so I washed my bike before the race run and thought that it would sort it out. I was shocked to find a chain link had completely sheered on the one side. Luckily there were two men, Rob and Ray, on a Sunday ride who had already assisted two other riders. They let me use their chain breaker tool and they gave me a master link to fix the problem. Thanks to them I am very happy to be the African Continental Downhill Champion."

Brown is currently doing a degree in Corporate Communications at Varsity College in Pretoria, but says he will be back in action at Cascades in April for the second round of the National Cup Series, as well as for the UCI World Championships in August.

Full Results

Elite men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Philip Buys (South Africa) 1:28:20  
2 Yannick Lincoln (Mauritius) 0:03:59  
3 Heinrich Köhne (Namibia) 0:09:28  
4 Stuart Marais (South Africa) 0:11:17  
5 Renay Groustra (South Africa) 0:13:58  
6 Timothy Stark (South Africa)    
7 Phetetso Monese (Lesotho)    
Elite women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Yolande Speedy (South Africa) 1:59:20  
2 Aurelie Halbwachs (Mauritius) 0:01:10  
3 Samantha Sanders (South Africa) 0:04:54  
4 Amy Mcdougall (South Africa) 0:06:35  
5 Cherie Vale (South Africa) 0:10:44  
6 Melanie Palframan (South Africa)    
7 Kim Westbrook (South Africa)    
8 Angela Egeland (South Africa)    
U23 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Brendon Davids (South Africa) 1:25:38  
2 James Reid (South Africa) 0:01:59  
3 Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 0:02:12  
4 Luke Roberts (South Africa) 0:02:25  
5 Rourke Croeser (South Africa) 0:02:38  
6 Gert Heyns (South Africa) 0:03:02  
7 Travis Walker (South Africa) 0:05:24  
8 Stephan Reyneke (South Africa) 0:09:16  
9 Patrick Belton (South Africa) 0:10:42  
10 Paul Rodenbach (South Africa) 0:13:06  
11 Jason Meaton (South Africa) 0:14:40  
12 Kyle Dorkin (South Africa)    
13 Callen Watson (South Africa)    
14 Shaun Craig Silver (South Africa)    
15 Lechesa Tohlang (Lesotho)    
16 Teboho Khantsi (Lesotho)    
U23 women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 1:48:54  
2 Candice Neethling (South Africa) 0:03:24  
3 Vera Adrian (Namibia) 0:14:15  
4 Hayley Smith (South Africa)    
5 Ashleigh Parker-Moffatt (South Africa)    
6 Sarah Hill (South Africa)    
7 Tayla Odendaal (South Africa)    
Junior men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Dylan Rebello (South Africa) 1:13:38  
2 Martin Freyer (Namibia) 0:00:35  
3 Ivan Venter (South Africa) 0:01:01  
4 Sybrand Strauss (South Africa) 0:02:34  
5 Harrie Malan (South Africa) 0:02:39  
6 Louw Kriel (South Africa) 0:02:57  
7 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 0:04:29  
8 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 0:04:50  
9 Channing Smith (South Africa) 0:04:58  
10 Jannes Bujis (South Africa) 0:05:00  
11 Michael Pretorius (Namibia) 0:05:20  
12 Frans Grotepass (South Africa) 0:05:59  
13 Gareth Andrews (South Africa)    
14 Marc Fourie (South Africa) 0:08:06  
15 Joel Hieber (South Africa) 0:08:34  
16 Corbin Mann (South Africa) 0:09:45  
17 Matthew Wilkinson (South Africa) 0:10:46  
18 Keaton Korevaar (South Africa) 0:12:48  
19 Bryce Rawlins (South Africa) 0:15:24  
20 Lichaba West (Lesotho) 0:15:44  
21 Carlo Marzoppi (South Africa) 0:16:43  
22 Carel Van Wyk (South Africa) 0:16:52  
23 Sean Attridge (South Africa) 0:18:48  
24 Daniel Lindeque (South Africa)    
25 Alex Gifford (Zimbabwe)    
26 Clinton Payne (South Africa)    
27 Bradley Ross (South Africa)    
28 Guy Gross (Zimbabwe)    
29 Bennie Hattingh (South Africa)    
30 Mark Mackenzie (Zimbabwe)    
Junior women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Bianca Haw (South Africa) 1:14:25  
2 Marie-Christin Kempf (South Africa) 0:07:55  
3 Marne Botha (South Africa) 0:10:03  
4 Kimberley Le Coure De Billot (Mauritius) 0:12:17  
5 Hazel Mogill (South Africa) 0:15:22  
6 Catherine Colyn (South Africa) 0:16:57  
7 Michelle Benson (South Africa) 0:25:56  
8 Natasha Emmerick (South Africa)