Hill and Bird reign victorious in first dusi2c MTB race
Durban – The second and final stage of the inaugural edition of the dusi2c mountain bike race once again saw Andrew Hill and Tyron Bird (TIB Insurance) cross the finish line first as the pair made it two stage victories from two, in the process handing them the race’s first ever overall victory, whilst overnight leaders Eszter Erdelyi and Lise Olivier (Velo Life) followed suit in en route to the women’s title.
As riders of a variety of ages and abilities, full of praise for both the new event and the unfamiliar format of GPS racing, celebrated two incredible days of mountain biking adventure once they crossed the finish line at Blue Lagoon in Durban, it was the Valley of a Thousand Hills spectacular natural beauty, sights and sounds and the magnificent overnight stop and Mfula Store that continued to be the hot topic of conversation.
At the front of the field Hill and Bird enjoyed an up and down second stage as they stormed into a solid early lead before a navigational mishap and a mechanical issue saw them having to dig deep in the later stages of the race to ensure they claimed the day’s victory, despite their overall title never being in any real danger having started the day with a comfortable twelve minute lead.
“We came here to have a really good time – which we definitely did – but any time there’s a number board on your bike you slot straight into race mode so to walk away with the win is fantastic,” described Hill after the race.
“There was a pretty big group of us at the start but Andrew and I managed to get away on one of the technical sections not long after the start. We stayed away for quite a while and then after ten or so kilometers Andrew decided to really put the hammer down and that’s when we really had quite a substantial lead,” explained Bird.
“We then lost a lot of time though when we made a navigational error and were riding up and down for quite a while and that’s when Mark (Malherbe) and Trevor (Rowe) managed to catch us.”
“We rode together for a while but then Andrew picked up a puncture but fortunately we were able to catch the other two pretty quickly once we got going again but it did mean that the last few kilometers were pretty tight,” he added.
Hill and Bird were full of praise for the new event and believe it will grow in stature quickly going forward as well as playing a vital role in opening up countless opportunities for the locals in the valley whilst continuing to expose mountain bikers to the beauty of the region.
“There were some 75 people working on the track before the race and heaps more helping get the overnight stop ready so already the race’s impact on the people of the valley can be seen,” said Hill. “Without the local’s buy in then we wouldn’t have a race so it really is great that everyone from the local communities have been involved.”
“The overnight stop was fantastic. We slept right on the side of the Dusi (River) and when we woke up this morning the views were incredible so it really was a great experience that I’m sure many more riders will be able to experience through this race in years to come,” added Bird.
The Coffeeberry/Momsen team of Mark Malherbe and Trevor Rowe tried their best to close the time difference between themselves and the overnight leaders however not even a solid second stage was enough to haul the eventual victors in.
“We had a really good ride. It was a pleasure to be able to ride with Andy (Hill) and Tyron (Bird) for the short times that we did today but they were really strong so well done to them,” said Malherbe. “There aren’t too many tough climbs along the route to separate the guys so it’s really just about speed – it’s almost like a drag race – and Andy & Tyron were really quick.”
“Riding through the valley just completely blew my mind though! It was even better than I ever could have imagined. Places like Karkloof and Howick are fantastic mountain biking areas and this is right up there with them but in such a different way.”
“The dusi2c was awesome. I did both the sani2c and joberg2c a little earlier this year and the dusi2c definitely is of the same Farmer Glen quality as sani2c and joberg2c but is just a completely different type of race. It was a great!” he added.
The final step of the podium was claimed by PeptoPro Racing’s Jarrad van Zuydam and Stu Rawlinson whilst valley locals John Ntuli and Bongumusa Zikhali of RMB Change a Life claimed fourth and Andrew Cairns and David Cooke of Team BlackBerry rounded out the top five.
Erdelyi and Olivier of Velo Life were unchallenged in the women’s race and instead worked together to do their best to compete against the mixed doubles competitors, eventually claiming a comfortable women’s race win whilst finishing in a commendable nineteenth position overall.
“Yesterday was great and then today was another really good day,” said Erdelyi. “We had a really good race and we came to have fun so the win is a really nice bonus.”
“Having a young baby I don’t really do many stage races anymore but with this being just two days it was ideal and it really was so much fun,” she added.
“The dusi2c is very relaxed compared to joberg2c and I’m sure the race will really grow over the next couple of years,” added Olivier.
The mixed category saw FedGroup Itec’s husband and wife pairing of Brandon and Bridgette Stewart claim victory by seventeen minutes of iCycle/Kargo’s Tim Stark and Robyn Ryan whilst the Giba Mixed team of Tamryn Taylor and Siyabonga Njiva finished third with all three pairs finishing inside the top twenty overall.
“I don’t often get the chance to race with Bridge (Stewart) so it was awesome to spend a couple of days on the bike with her,” explained Brandon Stewart. “I’ve had a couple of weeks off recently though and Bridge was really pushing hard at times so I really had to work hard to stay with her.”
“The new GPS racing was interesting. “Brandon definitely did all the navigating though – I’m terrible with maps!” chuckled Stewart’s wife and partner, Bridgette.
The dusi2c mountain bike race saw teams of two head from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg, along as close to the Dusi Canoe Marathon route as possible, to Blue Lagoon in Durban with close on 300 pairs tackling the two day adventure through the valley of a Thousand Hills in 2013. More information can be found atwww.dusi2c.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
dusi2c STAGE TWO
1.TIB Insurace (Andrew Hill/Tyron Bird) 2:18.01 4:50.48
2.Coffeeberry/Momsen (Mark Malherbe/Trevor Rowe) 2:18.13 5:03.32
3.PeptoPro Racing (Jarrad van Zuydam/Stu Rawlinson)2:22.37 5:10.20
4.RMB Change A Life (John Ntuli/Bongumusa Zikhali) 2:27.12 5:15.47
5.Team BlackBerry (Andrew Cairns/David Cooke) 2:22.36 5:21.03
6.Coffeebery/Momsen Masters (Con Malherbe/Kim Phillips) 2:28.43 5:21.09
7.Midlands Masters (Collin Stroberg/Paul Lancaster) 2:32.42 5:27.41
8.X10Siv (Nick Floros/Marc Adam) 2:30.12 5:28.00
9.RMB Change a Life 1 (Sizwe Mkhasibe/Mboneni Ngcobo) 2:42.21 5:34.41
10.AFKAK (Dwain Butler/Jean Pierre Kroll) 2:32.40 5:40.13
1.FedGroup Itec (Brandon Stewart/Bridgette Stewart) 2:40.06 5:47.32
2.iCycle/Kargo (Tim Stark/Robyn Ryan) 2:48.42 6:04.13
3.Giba Mixed (Tamryn Taylor/Siyabonga Njiva) 2:51.27 6:09.13
1.VeloLife (Eszter Erdelyi/Lise Olivier) 2:51.23 6:04.29