The curtains of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series drew to a close in Kaapsehoop today. Sunshine and clearer visibility allowed for a much faster second stage of the event, as did the slightly shorter route.
Matthys Beukes put the Pyga Euro Steel showdown to rest when we walked away with the Kaapsehoop title. He made an early attack in the race, and managed to get a slight lead on Buys from the 35km mark.
He admitted that his victory did not come easy, however: “I had to push extremely hard in those final 2km, and just managed to come out on top!”
Buys, who finished in a close second place, showed nothing but pride for his teammate: “All I can say is well done to Matthys! He had a rough season last year, and he made sure to make up for everything he missed out on.”
Reflecting on the season, he added, “So happy with the way it has all ended. This series is important to us – it has the most diversity, prize money and represents our sponsors really well. It’s also the ideal opportunity for youngsters to start smashing us elite riders, It’s been awesome to see guys like Wessel Botha come out here and actually challenge us,” he added.
Team BCX’s HB Kruger showed incredible form in the second stage of the event, and managed to narrow the gap on the leading riders to finish less than a minute behind Buys. Rising star Wessel Botha proved to South Africa’s mountain biking giants that he is a force to be reckoned with, and finished the event with a well-deserved fourth place.
It was another successful day for Dormakaba’s mountain biking star Candice Lill, who walked away with the Kaapsehoop event title and a second place in the popular series.
She was presented with more of a challenge from her female competitors than the first stage: “Yolandi Du Toit went really hard at the start today, so I stayed with her for quite a while. I managed to get away on a single track that lead to a climb, and had a panic attack when I got a puncture. I sorted it out, luckily, and it felt incredible to keep my lead,” said Lill.
Du Toit was overtaken by dark horse Shelleigh Terlouw, who finished the stage a mere 30 seconds ahead of her. Du Toit admitted to finding the second stage of the event to be much tougher: “Today was more challenging for me. Despite having better conditions, we climbed 1600m in 6km at stage!” she said.
Kaapsehoop was a race of unparalleled beauty that boasted exquisite singletrack trails through the De Kaap Valley.
Sections of the race took riders through the Blue Swallow Reserve, a countryside that is characterised by rolling hills and Blue Swallows that the area is renowned for.
With a clearer visibility in the final stage of the event, Beukes made sure to boast about the beauty of the trail: “We could actually see just how beautiful Kaapsehoop is today, and the trails here are just incredible. Even with all the pressure, I found myself often looking out and taking it all in,” he said.
Declan Sidney, who finished the race in fifth, had something similar to say, “I’ve never done a race like this before, Kaapsehoop is a really special place! It’s been one of the most difficult courses I’ve done this year, but it was awesome. I’ll be very surprised if it’s not part of the series next year.”
Stage 2 Results
Full Marathon – men
1 Matthys Beukes (Team Pyga Euro Steel) 2:16:16
2 Philip Buys (Team Pyga Euro Steel) 2:17:15
3 HB Kruger (Team BCX) 2:17:35
4 Wessel Botha (Lynnwood Cyclery) 2:19:54
5 Declan Sidey (Specialized Bicycles) 2:20:06
Full Marathon – women
1 Candice Lill (Dormakaba) 2:44:45
2 Shelleigh Terlouw 2:49:32
3 Yolandi du Toit (Garmin) 2:50:01
4 Vanessa Bell (Bell’s Cycling) 2:58:00
5 Dalene van der Leek 3:09:14
Full marathon – Men
1 Matthys Beukes (Team Pyga Euro Steel) 4:57:29
2 Philip Buys (Team Pyga Euro Steel) 5:00:42
3 HB Kruger (Team BCX) 5:09:15
4 Waylon Woolcock (Team BCX) 5:14:11
5 Shaun-Nick Bester 5:15:06
Full Marathon – Women
1 Candice Lill (Dormakaba) 5:57:46
2 Yolandi du Toit (Garmin) 6:13:55
3 Vanessa Bell (Bell’s Cycling) 6:52:23
4 Dalene van der Leek 7:00:37
5 Melanie Roux 7:14:02