Philip Buys and Theresa Ralph secured their first victories of the 2016 Nissan TrailSeeker Gauteng Series when they triumphed in the men and women’s categories respectively at Round 4, the Bundu Bash, held at Buffelsdrift MTB Park near Pretoria at the weekend.
Buys (SCOTT LCB Factory Racing), a multiple Cape Epic stage winner, won the men’s race in a time of 02 hour 25 minutes 18 seconds. He was less than a minute ahead of runner-up, Jan Withaar (Redhub), with Arno du Toit (SCOTT LCB Factory Racing) rounding out the top three places another minute-and-a-half later.
The 69km marathon route was a race of two halves with fairly wide open gravel roads and jeep track in the first half and then a high volume of twisty singletrack in the second half. This helped spread out the field of almost 700 riders who were faced with hot, dusty conditions.
It was evident from early on that the SCOTT LCB Factory Racing team was intent on splitting up the field with Du Toit riding aggressively and taking some ambitious early starters with him off the front. Buys was able to sit in and let his rivals chase Du Toit down. But the pace proved too fast and only Withaar and Buys were able to catch and match Du Toit, the trio taking the lead within the first 20km.
The early pace saw Du Toit fade slightly later on and Buys managed to shake off Withaar on the singletrack sections that he knows so well to secure his first TrailSeeker Series win of the year.
“It was a lot of fun and super fast. The first half I did yesterday as part of a training ride. But that training ride ended up being 90km so my legs were hurting today,” said a content Buys afterwards.
“I had to ride a smart race. I know the trails here as I ride at Buffelsdrift a lot. Local knowledge was an advantage because I knew what was coming and made my move into the lead at the right time.
“Arno sacrificed himself a bit for me in the beginning. I suppose that’s what teams are for. It worked out well that we got the win in the end. And well done to Jan (Withaar). Job well done by a guy that has very little major sponsor support,” added Buys.
“The race started with wider trails and roads and then by the end it was just crazy, crazy singletrack. A great race route!” said runner-up Withaar.
“In the beginning I sat upfront as much as I could. Arno pulled a bit of a gap early on. I hedged my bets on watching Philip and didn’t chase Arno. I just tried to keep the gap to Arno the same. Eventually we caught him. Philip then tried a few attacks and we got away from everyone else on the singletrack sections. It was a really good fun event. These Nissan TrailSeeker races are prime events!” added Withaar.
In the women’s race Ralph (Galileo Risk) claimed the victory in a time of 2:58:53. She was just over a minute ahead of Adrienne Moolman (Lynwood Cyclery) with Tamaryn Kietzmann (Complete Cyclist) completing the podium placings.
“It was actually a very lovely race. There was a big bunch to begin with, but on the first climb it began to split. I took the lead from there onwards. I pushed it a bit to get a decent gap. You never really know who is feeling strong behind you or if you could get a mechanical delay. It was great to get a win in the Series and hold my position at the top of the points standings,” said a delighted Ralph.
“It’s my best result this season, so I’m pleased. It was a tough course. Luckily Tammy (Kietzmann) and I joined up and worked together. Then in the singletrack I managed to get away,” smiled Moolman.
“They could have done a copy and paste of last year’s route and it would have still be a good event, but they chose to create new route and built new sections, which made it very exciting!” added Moolman.
Round 5 of the Nissan TrailSeeker Gauteng Series, Diamond Rush, takes place on 26 November 2016 at Cullinan, east of Pretoria. To enter, or for more information, visit www.trailseekerseries.co.za
2016 Nissan TrailSeeker Series, Gauteng
Round 4, Bundu Bash, Buffelsdrift MTB Park, 1 October 2016
Overall men – 69km marathon:
1 Philip Buys (SCOTT LCB Factory Racing) 02hrs25min18sec
2 Jan Withaar (Redhub) 2:26:11
3 Arno du Toit (SCOTT LCB Factory Racing) 2:27:31
4 Alan Gordon 2:32:55
5 Henry Uys (Complete Cyclist) 2:36:52
6 Matthys Koekemoer 2:37:11
7 Kai Pritzen 2:38:04
8 Wessel Redelinghuys 2:39:54
9 Cobus van den Berg 2:40:05
10 Alwyn Dippenaar 2:41:15
Overall women – 69km marathon:
1 Theresa Ralph (Galileo Risk) 2:58:53
2 Adrienne Moolman (Lynwood Cyclery) 3:002
3 Tamaryn Kietzmann (Complete Cyclist) 3:08:01
4 Carmen Bassingthwaighte 3:09:03
5 Janine Muller 3:12:04
6 Johandri Leicester 3:11:41
7 Anli Smith 3:12:05
8 Renante le Roux 3:12:08
9 Chantal Haynes 3:13:30
10 Chrissie Viljoen 3:14:23
Overall male – 40km half-marathon
1 Wessel Botha 1:18:45
2 Jean-Pierre Lloyd 1:19:30
3 Marc Oliver Pritzen 1:20:01
Overall female – 40km half-marathon
1 Danielle Strydom 1:35:01
2 Monique du Toit 1:37:56
3 Heather Slabbert 1:38:18
For full results and Nissan TrailSeeker Series standings, visit www.saseeding.org
Source: Inside Line