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Jessop grabs Karkloof trail crown


The race for victory at the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival 60km ultra-marathon ended in a thrilling sprint finish with Under 23 ace Julian Jessop bouncing back from a series of crashes to outwit Stuart Marais on the finish line.

Jessop and Marais raced the entire race together with Pieter du Toit, and the crowd enjoying the 25th anniversary celebrations of the event were treated to a grandstand finish.

An emotional win

It was an emotional win for Jessop.

“I did my first race here when I was 9 years old,” The Pyga/Euro Steel star recalled. “I was crying on the start line of the 10km race because I was too scared to do it.

“Then my younger brother took off, and I thought ‘There is now way I can let him beat me’, and off I went.

“Stuart (Marais) was really on form today,” said Jessop, who had to watch his early lead eroded by the lion-hearted Marais on the tough Lebanon climb. “He was on fire and dropped me at the top.”

He was able to team up with Du Toit and bridge the gap.

Crashed another three times

“The last section in Logan’s Loop is always tough, and going into that section Stuart and I were attacking each other, and I managed to get into the single track ahead of him.

“But I had a problem with my fork and I crashed.

“In my fury to catch up I crashed another three times, because those corners are very slippery.

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“Finally I caught him as we got into the sugar cane, and that’s where I went through my plan to win the sprint finish.”

Bianca Haw
Bianca Haw negotiates a river crossing on her way to victory in the women’s 60km race. Picture: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

The woman’s race was dominated by the Red Bull ace Bianca Haw, who was never under any serious pressure, with Jeannie Dreyer, a former winner, securing second and Christie-Leigh Hearder the last step on the podium.

Jessop was out to break Karkloof duck

“I was having such fun the whole way,” Haw enthused. “I was warned that there were three huge climbs so I paced those ones, but after those climbs there was such cool single track.”

The race for honours in the 40km Half Marathon also went down to a sprint finish, with the cool head of Sam Moore prevailing over Johandre Marx.

Francis Janse van Rensberg took the women’s 40km spoils ahead of Tiffany Keep.

60km Marathon Men
1. Julian Jessop 2:39:22
2. Stuart Marais 2:39:23
3. Pieter du Toit 2:39:40
4. Henry Liebenberg 2:47:57
5. Tyrone White 2:48:54
6. Brennan Anderson 2:52:25
7. David Low 2:52:32
8. Sthembiso Masango 2:59:35
9. Ndumiso Dontso 3:00:00
10.Nathan Treble 3:00:29

1. Bianca Haw 3:13:32
2. Jeannie Dreyer 3:17:37
3.Christie-Leigh Hearder 3:23:13
4. Andrea de Boer 3:27:24
5. Shauna Esmeyer 3:30:43
6. Nadine Nundes 3:43:47
7. Landy Puddu 3:51:15
8. Sandra Haywood 3:52:44
9. Debrah Thomas 3:56:37
10.Bronwyn Evans 4:08:51

40km Half Marathon Men
1. Sam Moore 1:54:10
2. Johandre Marx 1:54:20
3. Stefan van Deventer 1:59:58
4. Thomas Cheatle 2:01:19
5. Daniel van der Watt 2:01:27
6. Brent Yelland 2:05:10
7. Kieran Blunt 2:05:10
8. Mitchel Potgieter 2:05:49
9. Grant Muller 2:05:51
10.Heinrich Zellhuber 2:08:26

1. Frances Janse van Rensberg 2:01:25
2. Tiffany Keep 2:05:11
3. Chloe Bateson 2:15:48
4. Ilse Longmore 2:19:25
5. Beanie Thies 2:24:27
6. Ainsli de Beer 2:26:56
7. Yvette Roberts 2:29:14
8. Sarah Ryan 2:30:50
9. Lindsay Everson 2:33:43
10.Jacqueline Scott 2:36:12


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