Howick – Brendon Davids returned to winning ways when he claimed a commanding victory at Sunday’s 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon title while the women’s crown of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival’s feature race went the way of rising young talent, Frankie du Toit.
While much of the festival’s more than 3000 participants tackled the 40km aQuellé Half Marathon, 20km aQuellé Family Ride and 10km aQuellé Kids Ride in cool, overcast conditions, the racing snakes battled it out at the front of the 60km clash for one of the country’s more prestigious marathon titles.
Having suffered a wretched time of late, Davids’ victory came as a major morale boosting result and one that he was well pleased by.
“I’m really happy to take my second win here at Karkloof,” said Davids. “The fact that I’m not with a team at the moment also makes getting the win a huge deal for me and it was great to get a win for Trek!”
“On Tuesday I leave for Spain – where I’ll be racing a lot of races over there over the next couple of months as I’m busy planning something for next season over there– so it was also great to get a win before I leave.”
Falling back on tactics that saw him victorious in 2013, Davids (Trek) overcame the early challenge of fellow cross country aces Alan Hatherly (Kargo Pro Cycling Team) and Julian Jessop (Ballito Concept Cyclery powered by Burry Stander) before using his climbing strength to maintain his lead all the way to the finish.
“Going up the first major climb of the day I sat on the front of the group and made sure no one could come around me and as the field slowly whittled down it was just Alan, Julian and myself left before Alan then fell back a bit too.
“Going up Lebanon I saw Alan was coming back across to Julian and I so I put the hammer down which saw me crest the top first, getting the King of the Mountains hotspot prize in the process.
“I’ve been working on my climbing a lot so I looked to exploit those as much as I could but I had to consolidate a bit on the down hills because I’ve clearly been spending too much time on the road bike as my arms were frying!
“Fortunately everything worked out for me in the end though.”
Young Jessop rode a strong second half of the race to surge to a deserved second place while Hatherly was eventually reeled in my Team BestMed’s Matthew Wilkinson in the battle for third place overall.
“I’ve got a third, fourth and now second at Karkloof in the past three years so its been a case one step backwards two steps forwards,” laughed Jessop. “I’m really happy with second today though!”
“Brendon is in some great form and was really strong up the Lebanon climb; he just seemed to get stronger and stronger and I got slower and slower but even so, I was really happy with my ride!”
The top four of the women’s race toed and froed throughout but ultimately Kargo Pro Cycling Team’s Du Toit was simply too strong for the rest of the field with 2014 and 2015 winner Jeannie Dreyer (Merchants) having to settle for second this time around while Du Toit’s Kargo team mate, Hayley Smith finished third.
“I felt really good, I loved the trails and everything just worked today which was great and I’m so chuffed,” beamed Du Toit.
“I normally get a bit bored during the longer races but never here at Karkloof; I love this route so much!
“There are such good trails up here and that’s actually where I managed to open up my gap over Jeannie and Genevieve (van Coller).”
“I knew beforehand that Jeannie is really strong but I am probably a bit better than her in the single track because of my cross country background, so my plan was to just stay with her until the single track and then go for it and I managed to do that and it worked.”
The 40km aQuellé Half Marathon saw Bradley Rowlett and Nadine Nunes clinch the men’s and women’s spoils respectively while young Travis Stedman won the 20km aQuellé Family Ride’s men’s title with Sabine Thies narrowly outsprinting Chloe Bateson in the women’s dice.
The 10km aQuellé Kids Ride completed Sunday’s programme as scores of tomorrow’s stars and their parents enjoyed their dose of trail adventure and brought down the curtain on this year’s 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival which, on Saturday, also saw 21km, 10km, 5km trail run events and the STIHL Karkloof Enduro take place. More information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
2016 SAPPI KARKLOOF CLASSIC TRAIL FESTIVAL
60KM SAPPI KARKLOOF MARATHON
1.Brendon Davids 2:37.26
2.Julian Jessop 2:42.00
3.Matthew Wilkinson 2:44.33
4.Alan Hatherly 2:45.10
5.Brandon Stewart 2:45.32
6.Leeroy Emslie 2:50.47
7.Thomas Jessop 2:54.20
8.Brennan Anderson 2:55.38
9.Warren Price 2:55.40
10.Andrew Warr 2:55.48
1.Frankie du Toit 3:10.53
2.Jeannie Dreyer 3:21.17
3.Hayley Smith 3:22.38
4.Genevieve van Coller 3:27.59
5.Chriestie-Leigh Hearder 3:31.36
40KM AQUELLE HALF MARATHON
1.Bradley Rowlett 1:57.52
2.Sanele Shabalala 1:59.57
3.Felix Manke 2:02.39
1.Nadine Nunes 2:17.35
2.Pauline Rainbird 2:28.49
3.Lindsay Everson 2:29.05
20KM AQUELLE FAMILY RIDE
1.Travis Stedman 48.39
2.Campbell van Rooyen 51.32
3.Sabine Thies (1st woman) 52.04
1.Sabine Thies 52.04
2.Chloe Bateson 52.04
3.Sarah Ryan 1:01.08
Source: Gameplan Media