Willie van Eck and Julia Kotze won the Elite men and women’s titles respectively at Round 2 of the 2022 Mpumalanga Enduro Series, presented by Bike Market at the weekend. The event took place at a new venue, Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve, outside Lydenberg which proved to be a popular addition to the racing calendar.

Van Eck was fortunate to have three clear runs because he experienced chain drama on Stage 3 which saw him struggle to get going again, eventually running his bike across the finish line.

Top five overall men from left: Christan Kirsten (fourth), Ruben le Roux (second), Willie van Eck (first), Denzil Lawrie (third), Justin Victor (fifth) | Photo: Culture Collective

His main rival, Tyrone Anders, also endured mechanical problems which saw him go from overall title contention after Stage 3 to last place on the overall standings after the final stage.  Ruben le Roux had four consistent stages which gave him second place overall, while Veteran, Denzil Lawrie, disrupted the Elite men somewhat with a third place overall.

“I had two good runs on Stages 1 and 2 but my chain dropped on Stage 3 and it was actually bent, so I had to run to the finish of the stage. I had to remove five links to do the last stage so was limited to only some gears for the last stage climb and race run. But I went ‘Full Dutch’ on that last stage and luckily had a super good run,” said Van Eck, who races for the Organic Athlete team.

Veteran, Denzil Lawrie, on his way to third place overall. Photo: Culture Collective

Van Eck won Stages 2 and 4, was second on Stage 2 and 18th on Stage 4. Anders won Stage 1 and was second on Stages 2 and 3 and last on Stage 4. The Junior from Limpopo, racing a Marathon bike, is clearly a rising Enduro talent! Sub-veteran, Justin Victor, showed he can ride as fast as he can talk by winning Stage 3 and finishing fourth overall, behind Christan Kirsten.

Four smooth runs gave Julia Kotze the overall victory in the women’s division. | Photo: Culture Collective

After missing the entire Round 1 due to a broken derailleur hanger, Julia Kotze had a trouble-free event in Lydenberg with four smooth runs to win the women’s title overall and place 11th overall.

“Fortunately I had a clean race with no falls and no mechanicals. But I have a spare derailleur hanger with me now, just in case,” smiled Kotze. “The event was excellent. The terrain reminded me a lot of Hakahana – long, rocky runs – and it was very spectator friendly.”

The top five women overall, from left: Arielle Behr (fourth), Louise Kotze (second), Julia Kotze (first), Danika Botha (third), Ilse Roos (fifth). | Photo: Culture Collective

“We’re really stoked to have taken Enduro racing to another new venue. Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve has been a hidden gem. But no longer, now that more riders know about the superb lines there,” said Schalk Potas of Trail Awareness Crew, the organiser.

“We’re gaining really good momentum with the Mpumalanga Enduro Series thanks to the support of all the sponsors and brands that get involved. We’re expecting it to keep growing as we build toward the South African Champs at Trailworx in Nelspruit in September, which is also a Enduro World Series qualifier,” added Potas.

Willie van Eck on his way to overall victory. | Photo: Culture Collective

2022 Mpumalanga Enduro Series

Round 2, Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve

Leading results:

Overall men:

1 Willie van Eck 20:27.597

2 Ruben le Roux 20:57.664

3 Denzil Lawrie 21:01.176

4 Christan Kirsten 21:02.065

5 Justin Victor 21:03.860

6 Trent Sinclair 21:28.485

7 Remi Delsouiller 21:28.485

8 Gabriel Burns 22:00.955

9 Barry Crouse 22:03.335

10 Christian Smit 22:08.215

Christan Kirsten on his way to fourth place overall. | Photo: Culture Collective

Elite men

1 Willie van Eck 20:27.597

2 Ruben le Roux 20:57.664

3 Christan Kirsten 21:02.065

Riku de Lange claimed first place in the Junior Men’s category. | Photo: Culture Collective

Junior men

1 Riku de Lange 22:26.900

2 Bartel Herbst 23:41.199

3 Armand Reyneke 24:03.137

Gabriel Burns on his way to winning the Youth Men division and eighth overall. | Photo: Culture Collective

Youth men

1 Gabriel Burns 22:00.955

2 Samuel McIntosh 22:43:747

3 Ewan Fritz 27:47.490

Sub-Junior boys

1 Adriaan Reyneke 31:44.109

Sprog Boys

1 Morne van Niekerk 30:52.300

Justin Victor won the Sub-Veteran men’s division and finished fifth overall. | Photo: Culture Collective

Sub-veteran men

1 Justin Victor 21:03.860

2 Chad van der Westhuizen 22:48.306

3 Hamilton Flowers 25:59.506

Veteran men

1 Denzil Lawrie 21:01.176

2 Robert Moore 23:18.588

3 Sam Browne 26:56.674

Master men

1 Trent Sinclair 21:28.485

2 Anton Blignaut 22:36.253

3 Arrie Willem Roos 24:40.911

Mike Behr claimed the victory in the Grand Master men’s division. | Photo: Culture Collective

Grand-master men

1 Mike Behr 24:36.820

Overall women

1 Julia Kotze 22:22.895

2 Louise Kotze 23:12.861

3 Danika Botha 24:24.584

4 Arielle Behr 25:22.587

5 Ilse Roos 26:06.596

6 Talia Behr 26:27.159

7 Corne Ackermann 29.:24.910

8 Mikyla Herbst 30:13.070

10 Ruth Behr 31:16.354

Elite women

1 Julia Kotze 22:22.895

2 Talia Behr 26:27.159

Danika Botha won the Youth women category and finished third overall. | Photo: Culture Collective

Youth women

1 Danika Botha 24:24.584

2 Arielle Behr 25:22.587

3 Mikyla Herbst 30:13.070

Sub-Junior Girls

1 Ilse Roos 26:06.596

Veteran women

1 Louise Kotze 23:12.861

Master women

1 Corne Ackermann 29.:24.910

2 Ruth Behr 31:16.354

3 Sabine Cowie 32:13.266

Remi Delsouiller won the eBike category and finished seventh overall. | Photo: Culture Collective

eBike overall

1 Remi Delsouiller 21:28.485

2 Barry Crouse 22:03.335

3 Martin van Eijk 25:39.768

Thanks to the following companies and organisations for their support:

Bike Market https://bikemarket.co.za

Oasis Water https://oasiswater.co.za/

Pyga Bikes https://www.pygamountainbikes.com

TrailTech Cycles https://trailtechcycles.co.za

Valencia Cycles https://www.vbike.co.za

Squirt https://www.squirtcyclingproducts.com

The Organic Athlete https://www.theorganicathlete.co.za

OPI http://onpointindustries.co.za

Culture Collective Photography http://culturecollective.co.za

Cycling South Africa https://www.cyclingsa.com

Pronto Computers https://prontocs.co.za

Sabie Brewery https://www.sabiebrewery.com

Send It Time Timing https://www.instagram.com/send_it_time/

Round 3 of the 2022 Mpumalanga Enduro Series will be at MTO Trails, White River on 18 June.