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[image] 16 August 2017

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By: Tim Whitfield

THE sixth round of the Quattro ROAG MTB and Trail Running Series takes place at one of the most picturesque venues of any event in KZN when the province’s top riders head to the Drakensberg Gardens Spa for a real test of mountain biking and trail running.

Sunday’s Gooderson Drakensberg Gardens MTB & Trail Running Challenge on the purpose-built trails – that include a magnificent mountain-top stretch of natural-rock riding with a spectacular view over the Drakensberg Gardens Valley – will see the fight for the prestigious and lucrative series title resumes after a short mid-winter break.

Stuart Marais is a narrow leader in the ROAG Series with Leeroy Emslie a mere 10 points behind after five of the nine events, while Brennan Anderson and David Low are also both within 35 points of the leader.

However, a key factor is the number of events each rider has competed in so far. Riders have to compete in at least six events and only their best six results count, which makes Marais’ position much stronger.

The Howick resident has only taken part in three events, and with two wins and a second place he is likely to open a gap at the top of the standings when he reaches his full six events, while his nearest rivals have all taken part in at least one more event and so will shortly start discarding results.

In a clash of the ages in the women’s standings, young Christie-Leigh Hearder has a solid 58-point lead over veteran Natalie Bergstrom, but the roles are reversed when compared to the men because Hearder has taken part in one more event than Bergstrom. Once that skew is evened out, they are likely to be neck and neck in the race for the R25 000 first prize.

The Drakensberg Gardens event is held over a route that is likely to suit the cross-country skills of Marais with its short, steep climbs and sections of semi-technical riding. The race offers some of the best single track of any event in the province and is a genuine mountain bike race in the foothills of the Drakensberg.

In the Quattro ROAG Trail Running Series, Mark MacKenzie and Wendy Mills are both comfortable leaders in the men’s and women’s standings and Mills could virtually wrap up the women’s series with a strong showing at the Drakensberg Spa in Saturday’s trail running event.

Current Quattro ROAG MTB Series Standings
(after 5 of 9 events)
MTB Classic
1 Stuart Marais 286 points (3 events completed)
2 Leeroy Emslie 276 (4)
3 Brennan Anderson 259 (5)
4 David Low 252 (4)
5 Jedson Tooms 202 (4)
6 Julian Jessop 186 (2)
6 Carl Calverley 186 (5)
8 Nathan Treble 179 (4)
9 Jason Davies 167 (4)
10 Grant Underwood 152 (5)

1 Christie-Leigh Hearder 418 (5)
2 Natalie Bergstrom 360 (4)
3 Belinda Mason 264 (5)
4 Tarryn Morgan 218 (5)
5 Nadine Nunes 162 (3)
6 Bronwyn Evans 155 (4)
7 Frances Marsburg 147 (5)
8 Carol Thomas 127 (4)
9 Erika Velissariou 119 (3)
10 Andrea De boer 118 (2)

Quattro ROAG Trail Run Standings
1 Mark Mackenzie 302 (4)
2 David Mercer 240 (5)
3 Mthobisi Mzolo 174 (2)
4 Haydn Bam 155 (3)
5 Michael Hind 125 (3)

1 Wendy Mills 420 (5)
2 Alison Wasserfall 260 (4)
3 Karen Maiden 122 (3)
4 Catherine Eberle 97 (3)
5 Joanna Rawlins 76 (2)

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