Johann Potgieter pulled out all the stops at SA Downhill Champs

Photo credit: Matt Stark

The 22, 23 February saw Western Cape Downhill (WC DH), host the SA Champs, the 1st race in the SA Cup Series and Western Cape’s second local event of the year – all rolled into one super-duper event at Jonkershoek in Stellenbosch.

Whilst downhill is the most exciting cycling discipline for spectators and riders, it is also the one sport where riders are guaranteed huge highs and deep lows. Anything can happen in a race run and the win rests on a single race run of 3/4 minutes. It is the perfect ground for teaching children to deal with ‘unlucky’, misfortune events early on in life. There is such a fine line between ‘over-cooking’ a run and slowing down to ‘stay on your bike.’

In the seeding run Johann Potgieter overcooked his run and left the track dramatically. Stefan Garlicki had a fabulous run and posted the fastest seeding time (2:22.224). Previous national champion, Theo Erlangsen (2:23.838 and 2:21.080), held second place in both runs…but he too experienced the lows of downhill as his chain come off in both runs (mechanical malfunction is part of downhill) preventing him from pedaling to gain the vital 2 seconds needed to win. This is downhill, edgy, fast and unpredictable but very nail-biting.

“Our new, S.A. 2020 national champion, Johann, pulled out all the stops on his race run, stayed on his bike and won in a time of 2:19.343. Well done Johann, elite men’s S.A. Champ. Tim Bentley, from KZN, placed 3rd.  He was ‘lucky’ and had two great, consistent runs, a 2:25 and a 2:23.500 to take the bronze medal. Poor Stefan crashed on his race run and was relegated from 1st in seeding to 16th place overall. That’s downhill.”

WC DH has some of the top downhill riders in the country and this makes race days very exhilarating. The three oldies, Theo, Johan and Stefan, have to keep on their toes as the other elite men like Adi van der Merwe (2:23.556), Niko Verlasco (2:25.567) the Mc Master brothers (KZN) and Jasper Barrett are hot on their heels.

Other WC DH national champs in their age categories were:

NIPPER BOYS: Christian Bekker

SPROG BOYS: Zak Jones

SUB JUN BOYS: Pieter Venter

YOUTH MEN: Ike Klaassen

JUNIOR MEN: Ethan Parr

VETERAN WOMEN: Rika Olivier

VETERAN MEN: Pieter Rossouw

MASTER MEN: Chris Nixon

ELITE WOMEN: Frankie du Toit

Western Cape Downhill are certainly rocking and on top form.

Final overall top ten riders:

1101DEMWCJohann Potgieter02:19.343
2104DEMWCTheo Erlangsen02:21.080
3112DEMKZTimothy Bentley02:23.500
4116DEMWCAdi Van Der Merwe02:23.556
5103DEMWCNiko Velasco02:25.567
6114DEMKZStruan Mcmaster02:26.176
7102DEMWCJasper Barrett02:27.212
8119DEMKZCullen Mcmaster02:27.598
9198DEMKZSharjah Jonsson02:28.472
10140DEMWCFrancois Du Toit02:28.726