The “real” mountain biking started on Day 4 of the joBerg2c mountain bike race with the stage into KZN testing riders’ skills and providing plenty of entertainment for those who like some technical riding.
The Darkhorse Wheels pairing of Andrew Hill and Shaun-Nick Bester revelled in the stage from Sterkfontein Dam to Winterton and were able to notch up their third win from three racing stages in the men’s team event, while also taking the overall win ahead of their constant companions, solo riders Matthys Beukes and HB Kruger.
As with the previous three days, these four quickly opened up a gap on the field and they matched each other pedal stroke for pedal stroke along the Drakensberg escarpment and down the tricky descent into KZN.
They were still together at the end of the 91km stage and as they approached the Emseni overnight village, Bester edged ahead and left Hill to sprint with the two solo riders.
“We had a good day and got the stage win,” said a pleased Hill after getting the better of the solo riders in the dash for the line. “We got away with HB and Matthys again and we stuck with them the whole day. Coming off the top of Long Drop Pass we got to the bottom together and as we got onto the field at the finish, Shaun Nick went first and then I rode for the stage win and got in ahead of the two solo guys.”
Beukes and Kruger were credited with the same time and were locked together after three days of racing, with Belgian Kristof Sterckx claiming third among solo riders on the stage.
In the women’s race Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph (Team Galileo Risk) were again in a class of their own and claimed their third win, as did the leading mixed team of Amy Mcdougall and Michael Posthumus (dormakaba).