Marais, Bergstrom early leaders in Quattro ROAG Series

Marais, Bergstrom early leaders in Quattro ROAG Series

Julian Jessop on his way to a tense victory at the Holla Sugar Rush Classic on Sunday. Photos: Neville Bailey /facebook.com/nevillebaileyphotos

THE Holla Sugar Rush Classic Mountain Bike Classic produced two thrilling finishes on Sunday with both the men’s and women’s races being decided with a final sprint to the line.
After 45km of sublime riding on a mix of some of the best sections of the various Holla Trails’ routes in Ballito, Julian Jessop and Stuart Marais were still locked together in the race for the men’s title.

Stuart Marais leads Julian Jessop up one of the short, sharp climbs at the Holla Sugar Rush Classic on Sunday. Jessop won the race, but Marais still leads the Quattro ROAG Series.Photos: Neville Bailey /facebook.com/nevillebaileyphotos 

As they approached the line, Jessop managed to get his wheel in front and take the victory, but all was not lost for Marais as he maintains his top position in the race for the R25 00 first prize in the Quattro ROAG Series.
Jessop’s time for the 45km ride was one hour 52 minutes and 24 seconds with Marais credited with a time one second slower. Third was Andrew Johnson almost two minutes back with Leeroy Emslie claiming fourth and David Low rounding out the top five.
After two legs of the Quattro Series, Marais has 186 points from his victory at Wartburg last month and the second place at Holla this weekend. That gives him a solid 44-point cushion ahead of Low before the third event, the Compendium Hill 2 Hill in April, an event Marais will not be able to ride as he has a cross country event scheduled in Gauteng that weekend.

Natalie Bergstrom powers up one of the climbs as she heads for victory in the Holla Sugar Rush Classic on Sunday.

In the women’s race, the experienced Natalie Bergstrom just managed to edge out Christie Leigh Hearder in their sprint and claim a victory which also saw her move to the top of the women’s standing of the ROAG Series, with Hearder now also moving up a position to second in the race for the biggest MTB series prize in South Africa.
Bergstrom and Hearder were in a class of their own and finished a massive seven minutes ahead of Colette Kriek with Rouxda Grobler and Belinda Mason completing the top five.
Like Marais, Bergstrom is sitting on 186 points from a first and second in the two races in the series so far. However, she is just 26 points ahead of Hearder who has finished just behind Bersgtrom in both the opening two races of the series so far.
In the trail run, Mark Mackenzie was a comfortable winner of the 12km event from Dane Davies and Jason Clarke, with Amy Burger powering to a huge win in the women’s race as she finished fourth overall. Second woman home was Wendy Mills with Leigh Newell and Alison Wasserfall sharing third position.
Mackenzie’s win takes him to the top of the newly introduced Quattro ROAG Trail Running Series with Mills edging to the top of the women’s standings.

Quattro Roag Series Standings
MTB Classic
Men
1 Stuart Marais 186pts; 2 David Low 142; 3 Leeroy Emslie 138; 4 Jedson Tooms 111; 5 Julian Jessop 100;
Women
1 Natalie Bergstrom 186; 2 Christie-Leigh Hearder 160; 3 Belinda Mason 112; 4 Cherie Redecker 100; 5 Tarryn Morgan 98