Buys and Speedy win African Continental Championships

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

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


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