Andrew Hill and Henry Liebenberg completed their hat trick of wins on Sunday at The Midlands MTB Stage Race to comprehensively wrap up the overall title in the inaugural race in and around Howick.
After building a big win on the opening two stages on Friday and Saturday, the vastly experienced Hill and his young 19-year-old partner (pictured above) set a steady pace through the Karkloof Forests on Sunday to win the final stage and complete a near perfect race for the TIB Insurance Silverback team.
Hill and Liebenberg were not the only riders to grab three wins, with Jordan Wisdom finishing second overall and first solo title for the third day in a row to secure the solo title, while the race ambassador, Natalie Bergstrom, was the top female rider on each of the three stages to comfortably secure the women’s solo title.
And after Jeannie Dreyer celebrated her birthday on day one with a win in the mixed category, she partnered her husband Martin to two more victories over the next two days to emerge as the mixed winners and claim an impressive third overall.
The two weekend stages also saw riders taking part in the two-day event and Sanele Tshabalala finished fourth overall on the final stage to claim the win for the shortened race with Sheldon Bode just edging out Jeremy Thomson into second in that event.
“That was a good three days of riding and a good last day,” said Hill after claiming the inaugural win. “We didn’t have any mishaps at all on the final stage.
“We were feeling the three days because we rode hard on all the stages. It worked well with Henry, I would chase him through the technical stuff when he went to the front, and then I would take the lead on most of the climbs and district road sections. We worked well as a team.”
“Once again the route was great on Sunday. The weather was cold at the start and we went hard up the early climbs and then just kept it steady for the rest of the day. I really enjoyed the stage today. There were lots of old favourite routes of mine that I had not ridden for a long time and they had cleaned them up nicely.
“It is nice to be the first winner of an event that has been so well organised. Everything was so slick and well organised . . . I could not fault anything.”
Results: Day 3
1 Andrew Hill / Henry Liebenberg 2:08:21
2 Martin Dreyer / Jeannie Dreyer (1st mixed) 2:30:06
3 Harley Smith / Dale Allan (2nd mixed) 2:48:18
4 Norvyn Pitout / Byron Ekerold 2:48:18
1 Jordan Wisdom 2:13:11
2 Sanele Tshabalala 2:30:07
1 Natalie Bergstrom 2:32:55
2 Caroline Francis 3:28:54
Overall after Day 3
1 Andrew Hill / Henry Liebenberg 6:41:39
2 Martin Dreyer / Jeannie Dreyer (1st mixed) 7:37:46
3 Norvyn Pitout / Byron Ekerold 8:29:56
4 Harley Smith / Dale Allan (2nd mixed) 8:36:55
1 Jordan Wisdom 7:09:00
2 Matthew Myburgh 8:26:46
3 Justin Lourens 8:35:12
1 Natalie Bergstrom 8:10:52
2 Caroline Francis 10:26:57
Two Day Solo
1 Sanele Tshabalala 5:25:26
2 Sheldon Bode 5:53:20
3 Jeremy Thomson 5:54:07