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MTB and trail running gets physical again in Kamberg

Kamberg Classic

One to watch. Youngster Michael Foster from Ixopo, pictured shortly before setting off on his timed ride at Virginia Trails, ended up just seven seconds away from beating winner Stuart Marais. Picture: ROAG

Saturday and Sunday marks a big weekend for mountain bikers and runners as the country’s richest MTB and trail running series sees Kamberg Classic entrants facing off in the first “physical” race of the 2021 Quattro ROAG Series powered by Momentum.

This year’s series finally started at Virginia Trails last month with a GPS-navigation event that catered for social-distancing rules, and there were some fascinating results to whet the appetite for followers when the Kamberg Classic MTB & Trail takes place at Glengarry Holiday Farm in the Kamberg this weekend.

The Virginia Race the Trails event ended with series defending champion, Stuart Marais (Team NanoTime), narrowly edging out young Michael Foster by just seven seconds, while Brendan van Eeden (VNQSH) was pushed into third on the final two hectic days of racing.

Eyeball-to-eyeball

All three have entered the 60km Kamberg event on Sunday, and, together with Tyronne White (DriveTrain Academy), who ended fifth at Virginia, should produce some intense racing as they face off in their first eyeball-to-eyeball encounter of the year.

The men’s race will be a real youth vs experience battle, with the two wily 30-somethings, Marais and White, tackling rising stars Van Eeden and Foster, who are 21 and 19 respectively.

Now read: Two men on bikes, 20,000km and a referee’s whistle

There will be some real electricity in the women’s event as Christie Hearder (Absolute Motion) starts after being surprisingly beaten into second spot at Virginia Trails. Rouxda Grobler (DriveTrain Academy) claimed the win with a blistering ride, but the time-trial and GPS style of event is very different to the cut and thrust of elbow-to-elbow racing and Hearder is maybe still the marginal favourite.

Christie Hearder’s consistency throughout the year allowed her to easily claim the 2020 title in the Quattro ROAG Series powered by Momentum and she will be keen to re-assert herself at the top of the pile at Kamberg this weekend. Picture: Instapix

The 14km trail running on Saturday will see Sarah Gray again start as an overwhelming favourite after winning at Virginia Trails to keep a remarkable dominance going in the women’s events of the ROAG series. Her strongest challenges are likely to come from Hayley MacKinnon and Alison Wasserfall.

The men’s trail running event is traditionally won by one of the slew of on-day entrants so is difficult to predict.

Drakensberg

The Kamberg event is always one of the favourite events on the MTB and trail running calendar, with a large field enjoying some spectacular scenery in the foothills of the Drakensberg. With last weekend’s snow still on some of the mountain tops, the weather is expected to be surprisingly warm but the conditions underfoot are reportedly “perfect for riding and running”, according to the race organisers.

Rouxda Grobler from Ballito prepares for her race-winning ride at Virginia Trails earlier this week. Picture: ROAG

More events are scheduled for the KZN Midlands in the coming months.

Now read: Snow jokes, the big freeze at Giant’s Castle

Subject to change, the confirmed events in the 2021 Quattro ROAG Series powered by Momentum are:
Sept 4-5: Kamberg Classic MTB & Trail Run
Sept 6-3: Piggly Wiggly Race the Trails (GPS)
Oct 9-10: Sappi Karkloof Classic
Oct 16-17: Illovo Eston Trail Challenge
Nov 6-7: Central Berg MTB & Trail Challenge

More info

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