MTB | Compendium Hill 2 Hill
18 April 2017
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By: Tim Whitfield
Davids hat-trick matches Burry Stander's dominance,and Dreyer notches up a third dominant win.
Brendon Davids cruised to his third victory in three years in the 100km Compendium Hill 2 Hill Mountain bike race on Saturday April 15 when he notched up a massive 10-minute victory over last year’s runner up Travis Walker.
Davids was simply in a class of his own as he matched the great Burry Stander by winning the race three times in three years. Stander won the inaugural three Hill 2 Hill marathons in 2006 to 2008 and went on to win it once more.
David's winning time was three hours 52 minutes 56 seconds, significantly slower than his previous best times, but that was due to changes in the route which added to the race time.
In the women's race, Jeannie Dreyer was way too strong for her young rivals and also collected her third win in the tough 100 km ultra marathon, but she has taken four years for her three wins with her second position behind Robybn de Groot last year spoiling a perfect record.
The race from Pietermaritzburg to Hillcrest started in cool conditions on Saturday morning. Just after sunrise, the riders set off from Alexandra Park and it was immediately clear Davids was the rider to beat. With his rivals sitting on his wheel and making full use of his slipstream, Davids opted to adopt a very aggressive race strategy and he was largely responsible for quickly whittling the lead group down to a small and very elite bunch as they rode out of Pietermaritzburg.
At the first StaminoGro King of the Hills hot spot, Walker was quickest up the final part of the climb with Davids and Andrew Hill following. It was then these three and Brandon Stewart Who fought it out over the middle section of the course. Walker claimed the second hotspot and was just behind David's at the third to take the overall StaminoGro King of the Hills title title.
But David is finally had enough of the other riders conservative strategies and he "put the hammer down" and only Walker could go with them. But even Walker’s Challenge soon faded and Davids was free to ride clear and the gap quickly ballooned quickly, building his massive 10 minute lead over the closing 40km.
“I rode quite an aggressive race from the start because I was marked the whole time and nobody was prepared to roll through,” he said after crossing the line.
“I actually decided not to go for the King of the Hills because everybody was just chasing me down so I waited and did the same as I did last year and went hard just before the midway point.
“Travis came with me this time and then I put the pressure on again with about 45km to go and I ende dup putting myself under pressure. I was actually right on the rivet until the big climb at Hill n’ Dale with 30km to go.
“I think after racing on the road I now only start really ticking over after about two hours so once we got to there it was almost like I went on to autopilot and I was able to keep it steady.
“The course is very difficult now. The new stuff is great and is much better from a mountain biking perspective.”
Hill managed to catch Walker again but could do nothing but watch his younger rival sprint away over the last 50m in the race for second place to replicate the top three from 2016.
There was always one only one winner in the women's race with Dreyer building a big lead on the climb to the first Queen of the Hills hotspot and she was never challenged as she rode home in an impressive solo ride for nearly 80kilometres.
Dreyer finished in a time of 4:51:38, nearly 21 minutes clear of young Christie-Leigh Hearder with Candice Parker-Dennison third.
1 Brendon Davids 3:52:56
2 Travis Walker 4.03.39
3 Andrew Hill 4.03.42
4 Leeroy Emslie 4.13.00
5 Andrew Johnson 4.14.16
1 Jeannie Dreyer 4.51.38
2 Christie-Leigh Hearder 5.12.32
3 Candice Parker-Dennison 5.26.05
4 Sandra Haywood 5.29.48
5 Cindy Theunissen 5.29.58