Howick – The 2014 Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB Festival continued on Saturday with the STIHL Karkloof Enduro which saw Tiaan Odendaal and Kim Westbrook claimed hard fought victories in the men’s and women’s races respectively.
Odendaal overcame the challenge of a strong men’s field as he compiled the fastest combined time as well as being the quickest in two of the three timed downhill runs whilst leisurely enjoying the social uphill stretches.
“Racing downhill keeps me pretty busy most of the time but when I’ve got a free weekend it’s nice to mix it up a little and endure is great extra training,” said Odendaal.
“It’s pretty cool to have gotten the win here at Karkloof. I ride up here about once a month and the trails are really awesome. They flow so well and almost have a feel similar to some of the tracks overseas.
“I took it pretty easy going up to the start of the Bat out of Hell section but then worked my way through to the front to try avoid any traffic on the way down,” added the Green Team competitor.
Odendaal’s fellow downhiller and junior star Joshua Bull finished 33 seconds behind Odendaal with enduro regular Hilton Frost finishing third and David Martin and Shane Martin rounding out the top five.
The gravity sport is one that is slowly growing amongst female competitors and Time Frieght VELOlife’s Kim Westbrook managed to overcome the powerful Amy-Jane Mundy to clinch to add the women’s STIHL Karkloof Enduro title to the Peri Night Race victory she claimed on Friday.
“I cannot believe I beat Amy (Mundy),” exclaimed a shocked Westbrook afterwards. “It was just so much fun out there and I was just looking to have a great time so the win really is a great surprise!”
“It’s nice to have won last night and again today but you can definitely not expect too much during tomorrow’s marathon though,” she chuckled.
The steep course was well received by the participants and many a war story was shared amongst the riders afterwards. Westbrook was another to thoroughly enjoy the route and was pleased to see a few other girls out there with her.
“I think this is my fourth enduro event and its good to see that the sport is slowly growing with the ladies.
“The course was just fantastic. It may have been a little blown out at the top for some of the top guys but for someone like me just trying to make it down in one piece, it was superb!” said Westbrook.
Westbrook and Mundy were closely followed home by Team Jeep’s Sabine Thies, still a sprog category rider, while Tamryn Taylor and Michelle Speirs rounded out the top five.
Sunday’s third and final day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB Festival sees the largest event of its kind in the country culminate in the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon where some of the country’s leading cross country and marathon riders will square off for the prestigious title.
The day also sees the picturesque scenic 40km aQuellé Half Marathon, the intermediate 20km aQuellé Family Ride as well as the novice-friendly 10km aQuellé Kids Ride.
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
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – SAPPI KARKLOOF CLASSIC MTB FESTIVAL
STIHL KARKLOOF ENDURO
1. Tiaan Odendall 18.47
2. Joshua Bull (U18) 19.20
3. Hilton Frost 19.24
4. David Hogan 19.38
5. Shane Martin 19.41
6. Tim Bentley 19.57
7. Craig Paul 20.06
8. Mark Malherbe 20.06
9. Christopher Pearton 20.33
10. Kelvin Purchase 20.35
1. Kim Westbrook 24.11
2. Amy-Jane Mundy 24.45
3. Sabine Thies (U12) 24.50
Source: Gameplan Media