Howick – Having had to withdraw from the recent UCI MTB World Cup Under 23 race in Pietermaritzburg, 2013 Sappi Karkloof Classic winner and Trek Racing SA rider Brendon Davids will be looking to make amends by defending the title he won at the Sappi Karkloof Classic last year when the 60km event starts on Sunday, 11 May.
Having overcome the elements in 2013 Davids is hoping for some more favourable conditions for the year’s biggest MTB festival but is only too aware of the fact that a number of the riders will be at the top of their game coming off the recent World Cup.
“I am hoping that we have better weather than we did last year,” he mentioned hopefully. “Last year was a bit of a mud bath but it is going to be interesting with a lot of guys coming off the World Cup in good form and with the Epic also just ending I am hoping to defend my title.”
After tasting success, on what can be described as his home course, Davids feels that his style of riding is well suited to the shorter Marathon format and coming off the brisk Cross Country circuit he feels he is well prepared for the inevitable challenge.
“I grew up in the Karkloof where I used to race motocross and we lived out there for the best part of 13 years so I know the area quite well. It is a race that I really like and it is the second time I am taking on the marathon so hopefully I can defend the title.
“Having just prepared for this World Cup, although not finishing, I am hoping to carry my form into Karkloof and I think that the explosive nature of cross country will pay dividends at the race,” said Davids, whose World Cup cross country race ended with a broken chain.
“Being young I try to stick to the shorter and faster marathons, with Karkloof being 60km with punchy climbing and fast single track I think that it suits me quite well and I can time my attacks perfectly and I know the area really well,” he added confidently.
Having spent a lot of his time riding in the areas Davids has got to know the conditions well but is still aware that track designer Hylton Turvey will throw in something a little unexpected for the riders on the day.
“I love the single track and Hylton Turvey does a phenomenal job in maintaining it and every year there is something new and something fresh added to the course to keep things interesting,” added a cautious Davids.
With a number of top riders lining up on the start line at the Karkloof Classic this year the competition will be stiff and Davids, who will be without teammate James Reid, will have his work cut out for him if he is going to defend his title.
“I think it is going to be a little bit more difficult than last year. Last year I managed to ride away solo so I think guys like Max Knox, Rourke (Croeser) and the entire Kargo Pro Team will be there so I am going to have to play my cards right and time an attach at the right time but it is going to be close racing this year especially with the bigger teams coming to the party.
“I am going to be there by myself with James (Reid) over in Europe so I am going to have to power my way through the race and hopefully things pay off in the end,” an expectant Davids concluded.
The 2014 Sappi Karkloof Classic is a weekend festival of mountain biking starting on Friday, 9 May until the finish of the highly competitive 60km Marathon on Sunday. The weekend included a night race on Friday evening, the STIHL Enduro on Saturday and then a whole bunch of events on the Sunday.
The Sunday’s events include the main 60km marathon, an aQuellé 40km half marathon, as well as two aQuellé fun rides of 20km and 10km. These races are set up for the social riders as well as the younger riders looking for a fun, family geared adventure through the magnificent trails set up in the picturesque Karkloof.
The festival’s normal entry fees apply up until 4 May, after which late entry fees will be charged, so those interested in participating are encouraged to enter as soon as possible.
The Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB Festival takes place from 9-11 May at Karkloof Country Club. Riders and spectators can follow news and developments via the event’s Facebook page (Karkloof Mountain Bike Club) or on Twitter (@KarkloofMTB). More info can also be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za
Source: Gameplan Media