Round 1 winners, Jaeden Terlouw and Karlise Scheepers will line up as the favourites in the Elite Men and Women’s categories respectively at Round 2 of the Gauteng XCO Series, presented by Suzuki at the Iron Throne Bike Park, Hartebeespoort on Saturday.

Another large field has entered the event, which also doubles as Round 3 of the North West provincial XCO series. The racing contests across all age groups should be fierce and will be held on a new course that’s designed to deliver an allround challenge on a lap that is 3.6km in distance with 130m of ascent.

“There are two big-ish climbs – the first up to Donga, which has a kicker at the end; and the second one a more steady switchback climb. There are a few short power kickers on the course, but not really climbs as such,” explained course designer, Charl van Zyl.

“Overall, the whole course is quite rocky, but it’s mixed with some smoother ‘bike park’ sections. The course has drained really well after this recent rain and is quite frim and compact with some loose surface sections in a couple of places. There are a few jumps in the bike park area and a cool supertube-like descent called Daddy Donga for the riders to enjoy,” added Van Zyl.

Terlouw and Scheepers were fairly dominant winners at Round 1 at Grootfontein last month. They’re the standout names on the pre-entry list so will be looking to back up their first-round wins with strong performances. Terlouw’s strongest competition is likely to come from Johan de Villiers, runner-up at Round 1 and Matteo Damilano, who was unable to complete Round 1 due to a mechanical.

Once again there will be a Lite category on a separate course to cater for riders still new to XCO racing and the inter-schools rivalry is expected to be more fierce now that the schools are more in tune with the new points qualification system.

In the Provincial XCO log, after Round 1, Constantia Park Primary leads the points with 1258 points. Garsfontein (951), Waterkloof (844), Helpmekaar (768) and Melo Park (628) complete the top five. In the Lite XCO log, after Round 1, Tygerpoort Primary (1219) top the rankings ahead of Constant Park (705) and Garsfontein Primary (410). And in the combined Provincial and Lite rankings, Constantia Park Primary also leads with 1963 points. Currently in second is Tygerpoort Primary (1442) with Helpmekaar in third on 1100 points.

“More schools have become familiar with the inter-schools element of the Gauteng XCO Series and so more learners that have entered will be able to score points for their schools than at Round 1. This will help fill the gap left by the popular Spur Series which unfortunately no longer exists and will help grow XCO racing participation,” said Paola Damilano, Gauteng XCO Series organiser.

Suzuki is the presenting sponsor the 2022 Gauteng XCO Series. Other brands that have invested in the sponsoring the Gauteng XCO Series are EcoLogic (bike wash products), 100% (eyewear products), 32 GI (performance supplements), Med Guys (medical support) and SHRED (media partner).

Entries have closed. The racing schedules for the Provincial and Lite events are as follows: