Jacques Rossouw won the 60km Mr Price Karkloof Classic Mountain Bike Race in a three way sprint finish that saw former Durbanite James Reid (360 Life) claim second and Rossouw’s fellow team mate Brandon Stewart from Hilton take third. Over two thousand riders enjoyed perfect cycling conditions along the Karkloof route with beautiful sunshine after a wet start to the race. Picture: Pierre Tostee
Racing at the front end of this year’s Mr Price Karkloof Classic was fierce as many of the country’s top elite marathon mountain bikers looked to get their hands on the race's coveted title, however not even the best efforts of youngster James Reid (Nedbank 360Life) and the vastly experienced Brandon Stewart (FedGroup iTech Connect) could contain Jacques Rossouw (FedGroup iTech Connect) in the end sprint to the line.
Rossouw, who has been putting in huge miles ahead of the upcoming Joburg2C, set off from the back of A batch with the intention of trying to hang on as long as he could before falling away however as the race went on so he got stronger and stronger and soon found himself at the front end of the bunch with just a few kilometers to go and in a prime position to battle it out for the title with Reid and Stewart.
It came down to an end sprint across the Karkloof polo fields to split the trio and with grass making life a lot tougher than the three would have hoped it was Roussow who hit the front first and managed to cling on over final few meters.
“I wasn’t expecting to finish anywhere near the top three so I definitely surprised myself quite a bit today,” said Rossouw. “I took a week off after the Epic and then had a really hard training block last week so the legs were sore coming into today so to have won really is great and this is definitely a big win for me."
In the ladies race Candice Neethling (BMC SA) destroyed the rest of the field to claim victory by almost half an hour over Jackie Church and Bridgette Stewart.
“I was just loving being back out there in the African sun today, it was just completely and utterly enjoyable,” said Neethling. “It’s a completely different story in Europe so coming back home from the freezing cold to and to get a win at a big race like this is obviously really good for the confidence as well.”“It’s always such a beautiful event but I really didn’t expect things to so well organized and put together. The track was superb with a couple of mean climbs but it was just such an excellent course,” she added.
The Unlimited Dusi triple champion Andy Birkett claimed an impressive forty-third place in the 60km Mr Price Karkloof Classic whilst former Springbok and Sharks rugby player Jeremy Thompson put in a stellar effort to finish twenty-first overall and claim the veteran category as well.
“The guys here make such a tremendous effort and the track is so incredibly well manicured. It’s just a great day out and is so well organized,” said Thompson.
“I took a bit of tumble on the bull run in the rock garden section but fortunately it wasn’t too bad,” he added with a chuckle and a smile.
The final day of the Mr Price Karkloof Classic MTB Festival also saw the aQuellé 40km Half Marathon take place which was claimed by Ashley Schneider with Joshua Nelson and Ewan Cochran claiming second and third respectively whilst Yolandi du Toit claimed the ladies section.
The aQuellé 20km Family Ride and the aQuellé 10km Kids Ride also saw hundreds of MTB enthusiasts heading out into the Sappi forests and plenty of smiles and happy faces could be seen as these participants crossed the line after completing their MTB adventure. More info can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS - MR PRICE KARKLOOF CLASSIC MTB FESTIVAL
MR PRICE KARKLOOF CLASSIC
1.Jacques Rossouw 2:35.46
2.James Reid 2:35.46
3.Brandon Stewart 2:35.47
4.Philip Buys 2:36.32
5.Renay Groustra 2:37.46
6.Ben Swanepoel 2:39.56
7.Andrew Hill 2:43.19
8.Travis Walker 2:45.12
9.Patrick Belton 2:46.04
10.Tyronne White 2:51.23
1.Candice Neethling 3:03.54
2.Jackie Church 3:32.40
3.Bridgette Stewart 3:34.03
aQuellé 40KM HALF MARATHON
1.Ashley Schneider 1:44.49
2.Joshua Nelson 1:46.26
3.Ewan Cochran 1:48.28
1.Yolandi du Toit 1:59.21
2.Cathryn Doherty-Bigara 2:10.43
3.Frankie du Toit 2:13.13