Howick – Hundreds of trail running and Enduro mountain biking competitors took to Karkloof’s renowned trails on Saturday, getting the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival underway with a bang and setting the tone for Sunday’s second day.
Saturday afternoon’s STIHL Karkloof Enduro was a dry, dusty affair but the change in course location and fresh trails worked a treat as Tiaan Odendaal claimed his third consecutive title at the event while Kathryn Fourie raced to her first ever Enduro victory.
Odendaal charged out the blocks on the testing, technical opening stage and as the
subsequent runs got smoother so he got quicker as he powered his way to four stage victories and the overall crown.
“It was really great to get a clear win this year and I was really happy with the gap I opened up over the rest of the guys,” said Odendaal. “While I wasn’t focusing on winning my third title coming into the race, it was also cool to win three in a row.”
“I actually worked quite hard for this win and was pretty broken at the end so it was quite a satisfying result.
“A big thanks to Brian Bentley for his assistance with a bike and then also to Hylton Turvey and the guys her at Karkloof, the tracks were phenomenal and I’ve never ridden anything so good.
“Stage one was quite difficult to get a rhythm with all the rocky, technical sections but stage two was then really fast flowing with all the berms and jumps and that put me in a bit of a happy zone which I looked to stay in until the end,” he added.
Odendaal was chased across the line by the experienced Craig Paul and Heiko Redecker while U18 talent Keira Duncan finished fourth and Tim Bentley fifth.
The women’s duel saw a stage one crash by double defending champ Kim Westbrook pave the way for Fourie and junior flyer Sabine Thies to battle it out for the title with the former ultimately getting the better of the emerging star by 21 seconds while Westbrook claimed third.
“I had a knee op six weeks ago and a bad bout of flu in the build up to the race so I’ve just been trying to focus on building again and just trying to keep up with Kim and ‘Beanie’ (Thies) so I’m really, really stoked to get the win,” said Fourie.
“I do a lot of riding in the area but I haven’t actually ridden those particular trails in a long time so I bounced off quite a few rocks during the first stage and there were quite a few new sections that are obviously still a bit loose so you had to be careful of not sliding out but overall it was just great!
“Enduro is really growing and it’s great to see so many new ladies giving it a go from so many different provinces and other disciplines and hopefully we can see that continue going forward,” she added.
Sunday’s second day of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival, includes 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km mountain bikes events, gets underway at 07h30. More information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
2016 SAPPI KARKLOOF CLASSIC TRAIL FESTIVAL
STIHL KARKLOOF ENDURO
1.Tiaan Odendaal 11:48
2.Craig Paul 12.24
3.Heiko Redecker 12.28
4.Keira Duncan (U18) 12.28
5.Timothy Bentley 12:30
6.Hilton Frost 12.38
7.Jonathan Philogene 12:44
8.Christopher Philogene (U18) 12:46
9.David Hogan 12:52
10.Charl van Zyl 12:58
1.Kathryn Fourie 15:26
2.Sabine Thies 15:47
3.Kim Westbrook 16:26
4.Tamika Haw 17:59
5.Michele Reynolds 18:27
Source: Gameplan Media