Gert Heyns and Candice Lill claimed gold in the Marathon of the sixth annual Fedhealth MTB Challenge that took place at the Blaauwklippen Wine Estate, Stellenbosch on Sunday 12 September 2021 in wet and muddy conditions.
The Fedhealth MTB Challenge Marathon consisted of a +-58km route that boasted a total vertical ascent of 1200m. Riders got to experience smooth, open road climbs, lots of singl track and technical (but smooth) descents. Although there was a fair amount of climbing, the rewards were sweet with moderate technical play on the way down.
A strong field tackled the sixth Fedhealth MTB Challenge. | Photo: Chris Hitchcock
Gert Heyns (Pyga Eurosteel) celebrated his Fedhealth MTB Challenge debut by claiming victory in the men’s race in an impressive time of 02 hours 23 minutes 03 seconds. “It’s always nice to race on our local trails,” says Heyns. “It was quite a tough start on rocky trails above G-spot. Arno and I managed to get away.
“Every time I would get a gap, he’d manage to catch up again. I managed to get a small gab going up the climb at Ernie Els. From there I could hold it to the finish. It was a fun route, not too tough with lots of singletrack. It’s great to win. There aren’t too many races this year, so it’s special to be able to get a win. I’ll definitely be back next year,” adds Heyns.
Arno du Toit (Insect Science) came in second, while Keagan Bontekoning (Insect Science) finished third.
Gert Heyns claimed victory in the men’s marathon. | Photo: Chris Hitchcock
Candice Lill (Faces) was dominant in the women’s race claiming the win in 02 hours 45 minutes 03 seconds. “Starting with the guys, I knew that it was going to be a fast day out,” says Lill. “I haven’t done a marathon or 60km race in a while as I’ve been doing cross-country racing, so I was just going to go as hard as I could and see if I could maintain it. I managed to finish strong.
“The route was really fun. There was a threat of rain in the beginning, but it only started raining at about halfway and it didn’t affect the trails. It was a nice punchy course. The climbs weren’t too long, just as you started getting tired, there was nice singletrack. It felt awesome to cross the finish line first. It’s really cool to be able to race again. This is my first in a while and I really enjoyed it,” adds Lill.
Lucy Larkan came in second, while Mari Rabie finished third.
Candice Lill claimed a dominant win in the women’s marathon. | Photo: Chris Hitchcock
The Fedhealth MTB Challenge Half Marathon covered a +-28km distance and boasted a total 580 metres of climbing. The terrain featured good gradient climbs and beautiful views.
Vincent Buter took the lead in the men’s race claiming first place in 01 hour 01 minute 09 seconds. “Today’s race was really nice,” says Buter. “It was dry for approximately the first 15km, then the rain came down. It got really muddy, but it was super quick.
“There were a couple of steep climbs. It’s a short distance, so I just went flat out from the start. I broke away on the first climb and nobody stuck with me. It’s really rewarding to cross the finish line in first place. All the hard work and training is paying off. The event was well organised. I like these trails. They’re my local trails and it was so much fun,” adds Buter.
Lood Goosen came in second, while Jean-Pierre du Plessis finished third.
Angeliq Coetzer was on fire in the women’s race securing the win in 01 hour 22 minutes 53 seconds. “The route was quite tough, but fun,” says Coetzer. “It was shorter than the normal routes that I do, but it was a tough short one. Today I
just wanted to ride my own pace. My legs didn’t feel as strong as they usually do, but I pushed as hard as I could. It means a lot to finish first because I trained really hard. I’ll definitely come back next year. It’s a really nice race and I love the vibe.”
Corli de Bruyn came in second, while Christine Woods finished third.
Says Jeremy Yatt, Fedhealth Principal Officer: “Following the restrictions of the past two years, I don’t think any of us will ever take outdoor sports events, such as our Fedhealth MTB Challenge, for granted again. We truly enjoyed hosting this event at the beautiful Blaauwklippen Estate this weekend, and welcoming riders of all ages and fitness levels back to the tracks. As a medical scheme, we will always be advocates of a healthy, active lifestyle and we hope to sponsor many more events of this nature in future.”
TOP 10 OVERALL RESULTS: 2021 Fedhealth MTB Challenge Marathon (+-58km) and Half Marathon (+-28km)
DATE: Sunday 12 September 2021
VENUE: Blaauwklippen Wine Estate (Stellenbosch)
Marathon/+-58km: OVERALL MEN
1 Gert Heyns 02:23:03
2 Arno Du Toit 02:25:13
3 Keagan Bontekoning 02:29:45
4 Marc Fourie 02:30:58
5 Alec Coleske 2:33:05
6 Craig Boyes 02:33:37
7 Rossouw Bekker 02:33:38
8 Philip Niemann 02:35:56
9 Renay Groustra 02:41:33
10 Zola Ngxakeni 02:43:04
Marathon/+-58km: OVERALL WOMEN
1 Candice Lill 02:45:03
2 Lucy Larkan 02:57:26
3 Mari Rabie 03:04:10
4 Monique du Toit 03:12:47
5 Kris Le Cok 03:21:17
6 Liesl Cloete 03:25:37
7 Karla Stumpf 03:26:10
8 Marleen Lourens 03:31:25
9 Tilly Watermeyer 03:36:24
10 Julia Marx 03:36:37
Half Marathon/+-28km: OVERALL MEN
1 Vincent Buter 01:01:09
2 Lood Goosen 01:07:51
3 Jean-Pierre du Plessis 01:07:51
4 Jean-Marc de Beer 01:07:51
5 Louis Terblanche 01:07:54
6 Cobus Marais 01:08:12
7 Marco Matthysen 01:09:50
8 Ruan Badenhorst 01:09:53
9 Jean Surridge 01:10:09
10 Rupert Taljaard 01:11:31
Half Marathon/+-28km: OVERALL WOMEN
1 Angeliq Coetzer 01:22:53
2 Corli de Bruyn 01:32:36
3 Christine Woods 01:39:54
4 Brigitte Shaw 01:40:24
5 Isabelle Heyl 01:41:32
6 Jana Visser 01:42:31
7 Emma Adriaanse 01:43:28
8 Emma Mellville 01:49:05
9 Rose Burke 01:52:33
10 Lizemarie Tolken 01:53:53
CHARITY SUPPORT: The Fedhealth MTB Challenge proudly supports The Kindness Collaboration. Founded by Fedhealth and Operation Healing Hands (OHH), The Kindness Collaboration focuses on supporting South Africans who cannot afford quality medical care. Mountain bikers could make a donation towards the cause when entering the event online. For more information or to make a direct donation towards The Kindness Collaboration visit https://www.fedhealth.co.za/kindness-collaboration/
Source: Newsport Media