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Sunday Tribune Jeep Hill2Hill

[image] 26 February 2016


Overall Rating  (You must be logged in to Rate the event - rating form after the article)

FOR the first time since 2007 both the men’s and women’s titles at the Sunday Tribune Jeep Hill are owned by local KZN stars after Rourke Croeser and Jeannie Dreyer emerged as champions in the prestigious 97km mountain bike race on Sunday.

While both Dreyer and Croeser collected their first victories in the gruelling race from Hilton overlooking Pietermaritzburg to Hillcrest near Durban and both set new records, their manner in which they won could not have been much more different.

Croeser had a 97km battle with Brandon Stewart and Brendon Davids and only claimed the title and the R15 000 winner’s cheque when he edged out his two rivals with an incredible display of sprinting.

In contrast, Dreyer opened a gap on her rivals on the first big climb of the race and spent over 70 kilometres riding solo and holding off a chasing pack to secure her four-minute victory.

Dreyer crossed the line in 4:23:29 with American team member Kendall Ryan second (4:27:30) and Natalie Bergstrom third, four seconds further back.

Croeser, Stewart and Davids were all credited with the identical time of three hours, 34 minutes and 42 seconds – ten minutes and ten seconds faster than the record set by Burry Stander in the inaugural race held in 2006.

For Stewart the narrow loss was the second heartbreaking finish in this gruelling event. In 2007 he lost an equally close sprint for the line when Stander collected the second of his four victories in this race. That thrilling 2007 finish was also the last time two KZN riders held the men’s and women’s titles with Amy-Jane Munday the women’s winner that year.

Croeser looked to have blown his chances of victory as he reached the Shongweni Club fields where the race finishes. The young star, who has never finished Hill 2 Hill before yesterday, inexplicably thought there was a sharp turn just before the finish and he started to veer left on a side rode off the course as the final sprint started.

He realised his rivals were going straight and turned back into the finish chute, but handed what should have been a race-winning advantage to Stewart, who led the race to the final 50 metre finishing straight.

Incredibly Croeser managed to overcome the advantage he had given to Stewart and somehow edged his front wheel a couple of centimetres ahead as they crossed the line.

The weather conditions this year were perfect with cool weather early on in the day and a tail wind for much of the race pushing the riders to quick times. The rain earlier in the week also hardened the track which contributed to fast riding conditions while a slightly shortened course ensured the average time for the field was just under six hours for the first time ever.

RESULTS

Men: 1 Rourke Croeser 4:34:42, 2 Brandon Stewart 3:34:42, 3 Brendon Davids 3:42:42, Luke Roberts 3:38:20, Andrew Hill 3:38:45.

 

Women: 1 Jeannie Dreyer 4:23:29, 2 Kendall Ryan 4:27:30, 3 Natalie Bergstrom 4:27:34, 4 Brenda Potts 4:30:05, 5 Lyn van Breda 4:32:35.

 

6 comment(s)

Austin Steyn
There were no sings to show how far to go. Rest of the race signs were very good.

Spur was a poor choice for post race food supplier. Their food was over priced and shocking quality!!

Nando's far better choice.

Rory Nossiter
Great overall event - thanks to all involved. Two important issues that need improvement: 1) The markings were not good and for anyone who had not done the event before I believe that they could easily have got lost, particularly in the sugar cane and on the district roads - use danger tape like at other races! 2) The helpers at the finish who were scanning the barcodes were, quite frankly, useless and did not make enough of an effort to stop riders and scan their barcodes. I watched for at least two hours after I came in and saw numerous riders not being scanned, to their detriment. Definitely not the same sense of urgency normally seen at the finish of our MTB races.

Rory Nossiter
Great overall event - thanks to all involved. Two important issues that need improvement: 1) The markings were not good and for anyone who had not done the event before I believe that they could easily have got lost, particularly in the sugar cane and on the district roads - use danger tape like at other races! 2) The helpers at the finish who were scanning the barcodes were, quite frankly, useless and did not make enough of an effort to stop riders and scan their barcodes. I watched for at least two hours after I came in and saw numerous riders not being scanned, to their detriment. Definitely not the same sense of urgency normally seen at the finish of our MTB races.

Yanik Chevalier
I enjoyed the ride, especially the watering table at cato ridge with the awesome boerewors and barletts viby atmosphere however the route at the start could be improved for easy flowing as there was many bottlenecks on the single track coming down from Worlds view.

nikki
Great event.really enjoyed it. Route markings were good and water tables brilliant.great vibe the whole way through.Spur burger was @ the end was fantastic!!How about a free burger to all finishers?? 2 gripes -1) My husband asked to be re batched @ the race office which he was but it wasn't adjusted with the time keepers - not the only one it happened to I am told.2nd lucky draws by having a tennis ball thrown at you just doesn't cut it -anyone could stand it the crowd a claim it. total waste of time

Andrew
I thought it was a great race just took it easy and enjoyed the whole route. I took it easy mainly because of the weather and dehydration. I agree with Martin if the race could be earlier in the year it would make it much easier. Water tables were great especial Group 5 at the top of Bartletts