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Steeltek Mountain Bike Enduro

[image] 26 February 2016

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Race Report by Charl Joubert (Fat Tracks MTB Club)



It was clear that the sponsors from Steeltek together with Fat Tracks MTB Club were determined to make it a challenge for the riders. To get a balance between tough, challenging but still a ride that can be enjoyed is something close to impossible. An indication of how close they were in getting the balance right is best summed up by this statement from Didier Florbela Duc: “The Steeltek Enduro Race in Loerie was just amazing! Not an easy one but such a nice route with plenty climbs!”

The race started with an easy 7 km loop to spread the field. After that the climbing started and the race was on! From PE we had Conrad Viljoen as one of our best riders and from East London Jason Reed MTBiker a top rider. They were up against Jason Meaton from Knysna who is regularly mixing it with the best SA riders. He recently had a great result at the Karoo to Coast where he finished only 3 min behind race winner and SA Marathon Champ James Reid! This result definitely made him the race favourite.

Soon after the start Viljoen and Meaton got away from the rest and stayed together for the first 15 kilometers. At that point they hit a short and technical climb where Viljoen had a problem with his chain. The result was that Meaton got away and pushed hard to stay ahead of Viljoen who was chasing hard. Jason Reed who was part of the chasing bunch upped the pace and pulled away from the rest to ride alone in third place.
At the half-way mark Meaton had a four minute lead. Towards the end he used the technical descents to stretch his lead and in the end had an easy win. Viljoen finished second with Reed in 3rd place. It was great to see three really strong riders on the podium.

Not many ladies attempted this one but Andrea Von Holdt who is always eager to take on a challenging MTB race clearly enjoyed it! She had had an easy win to also finishing 14th overall! The second lady home was Melissa Swanepoel.

PE Mountain biking is looking healthy with our young Elite riders completing the top 7 positions: Grant Mac Geoghegan 4th; Marinus Prinsloo 5th, Kyle Bradford 6th and Andre Nelson 7th.

A special mention to the two Youth age Category riders, Mathew Allen and Jamie Loots who were fighting fighting for the win in this age category riding within meters from each other most of the way. In the last 10 km Allen's consistent pace was too much for Loots and he pulled away to get 1st.

An interesting competition for the riders who realistically had not chance to finish on the podium was the race to get a Sub 4 hour finish. This sounds easy for a 60 km race but clearly was not the case with ONLY 27 riders making this cut off! The reward for these riders were an exclusive T-shirt as proof of their determination and ability to take on some hectic climbs.

This event offers something different and it was nice to see a fresh approach from the organizers. The view along the route was also amazing once you got to the top in the mountains!

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