Western Cape’s Michard Meets and Frankie du Toit used their impressive form and local knowledge to secure dominant overall men and women’s division victories at Round 3 of the Enduro SA Series held at Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch at the weekend.
Words: Sean Badenhorst | Images: Chris Taylor Media
A field of more than 220, including more than 20 competitors from outside the Western Cape, contested the event, which was moved forward by one day to avoid the decision to cancel with the arrival of adverse weather forecast on the original race day.
While this rescued the event, which was well organised by Western Cape Enduro, it meant one day less of practice for those that needed it – mostly the racers visiting from other provinces.
Of the venues used for the Enduro SA Series over the past two years, Jonkershoek was the most challenging in terms of both magnitude of the climbs and the length of the stages. It delivered a superb allround test of stamina, strength and skill and most riders were spent by the time they started the final stage.
On-and-off rain in the days leading up to the event left the conditions a little damp in places on Red Phoenix, which was Stage 1. Even with a late 10h00 start, the surface was slick in spots for the opening leg. But, as the day wore on, the sun and wind ensured the remaining stages had perfect riding surfaces – grippy and predictable.
Stage 2 was DH, a downhill race course with very little in the way of rocks, but featuring some steep pitches and fast straight sections with a series of jumps on the final pull to the finish. The timing pod at the finish of this stage took a beating and some riders were unable to register a completion time. The organisers took the decision to give those riders the average stage time. None of the podium positions were affected.
Stage 3 was Iron Monkey, a contrasting leg that starts with round, embedded rocks, drops and small jumps in the first half and culminates with a series of perfectly shaped berms that twisted tightly down the slope and tested both braking judgement and exit speed.
The final stage was the longest – Armageddon into Zululand. For most, it required sensible pacing and using the last bit of their energy and desire to make one last big push. But what a fitting finale – Armageddon is probably the most famous trail at Jonkershoek, for good reason. Challenging and rewarding in every way.
In the men’s race, Meets (introduction image) was almost in a class of his own. The tall, powerful Specialized rider won every stage and recorded an overall time of 16 minutes 12.968 seconds. Marc Fourie was consistent but 31 seconds back with a time of 16:44.088, just five seconds quicker than third-paced Juri de Bruyn.
“It was a really lekker day. A couple of small mistakes here and there, especially on corners following a high-speed section where you lose momentum, but it was good fun. The wind dried it out and there was hero dirt,” said Meets afterwards.
The first three men overall are in the Senior/Elite category, but it was the Youth Men’s division (15-16 years old) that was particularly impressive. Luca Zietsman and Pieter Venter were fourth and fifth overall and led a total of five Youth Men into the top 10! Remarkable and a good indication that Enduro racing has a bright future.
Only Bryce Munro, the reigning Sub-Vet national champion in sixth and Junior, Seth Barnard, in seventh were able match the snappy Youth racers. Gauteng’s Munro and Joshua Kanis (eighth) were the best of the visiting racers on a course that’s a world apart from the regular Gauteng Enduros.
Also impressive was the top woman, Frankie du Toit. She not only won all the stages, but the Trek racer finished a very respectable 12th overall in a time of 18:06.144. Second place and first Youth was Gauteng’s Arielle Behr with a total time of 19:21.562, with Eryn Marais rounding out the top three less than a second slower. Limpopo Junior, Tashane Ehlers, was fourth overall while Sub-veteran, Annemi Pfister, rounded out the top five women.
“My race was a clean as could be. I’m pretty happy with how I rode. It wasn’t too slick, but it was quite windy. We got lucky with the conditions – they could have been lot worse,” said Du Toit.
The wind blew all day, making for a chilly start with strong gusts later in the day causing a couple of riders to crash while airborne and sending them to the local hospital for repairs.
1 Michard Meets (Senior) 16:12.968 (Western Cape)
2 Marc Fourie (Senior) 16:44.088 (Western Cape)
3 Juri de Bruyn (Senior) 16:49.078 (Western Cape)
4 Luca Zietsman (Youth) 17:11.881 (Western Cape)
5 Pieter Venter (Youth) 17:18.919 (Western Cape)
6 Bryce Munro (Sub-Veteran) 17:30.543 (Gauteng)
7 Seth Barnard (Junior) 17:38.354 (Western Cape)
8 Joshua Kanis (Youth) 17:44.036 (Gauteng)
9 Zander du Plessis (Youth) 17:48.216 (Western Cape)
10 Samuel Cleary (Youth) 18:01.768 (Western Cape)
1 Frankie du Toit (Senior) 18:06.144 (Western Cape)
2 Arielle Behr (Youth) 19:21.562 (Gauteng)
3 Eryn Marais (Youth) 19:22.152 (Western Cape)
4 Tashane Ehlers (Junior) 20:55.620 (Limpopo)
5 Annemi Pfister (Sub-Veteran) 21:07.681 (Western Cape)
For full overall and category results as well as stage finishes, click here.
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