The fourth event in the Ashburton National MTB Series took place from 10 – 11 June in Champagne Valley amoungst the picturesque hills and challenging but scenic trails of the Central Drakensberg.
Brendon Davids wins the Ashburton Investements Champagne Valley leg of the National MTB Series - Images www.zcmc.co.za
Home to some of the best mountain biking terrain in South Africa, the route tested the riders’ mettle with terrains ranging from handmade single track and Jeep track to gravel road, savannah and rocky surfaces, to hardpack, indigenous forest and bushveld. Highlights of the route included bridges, river crossings, bush tunnels and floating bridge, not to mention spectacular views of the valley’s unspoilt beauty.
In an aggressive start of stage 1, RoadCover Cycling Team’s Brendon Davids followed the pace of Matthys Beukes and the National MTB defending champion, Max Knox. However, 7km into the race, the RoadCover cyclist made a breakaway, maintaining a solid solo lead for 20km until Philip Buys closed the gap.
Brendon Davids chases Philip Buys
“With 25km left of the 70km stage, Phillip and I were neck and neck until I edged forward in the final decisive climb,” says Davids who put his head down, determined cross the finish line first.
The RoadCover cyclist arrived alone at the finish, over 3minutes ahead of Buys, winning the day in 2:46:25.
Despite day 2 being a shorter route of 50km, exacting terrain made it a tougher route to negotiate, demanding both stamina and skill from race participants. Added to this was the attacking strategy from Team PYGA Euro Steel riders, Buys and Beukes.
“I had my work cut out for me as Phillip and Matthys attacked me from the start of the race,” says Davids, RoadCover Cycling Team’s recent winner of the Polokwane Mayoral Cycle Race.
Davids at ease on the dirt, where he spent his younger years on the MTB circuit, now adding road experiece to his ability.
The gruelling route culminated in a face-off between Phillips and Davids, with Phillip’s attacking strategy temporarily paying off as a took the lead for the first 20 kilometres.
However, for Davids the race was far from over.
“I used my road experience to keep up the pressure on Phillip, biding my time until finally Team PYGA Euro Steel’s attack took its toll,” comments Davids.
With energy depleted, Phillips experienced a wobble at the end of the race, giving Davids the opportunity to make his move. At just 10km to go, Davids managed to get a bit of a gap, going on the win the second day with just over a minute gap, ensuring he won the overall title for the weekend with more than 4 minutes over Buys. Matthys Beukes, rounded off the podium for the weekend. The Pyga Euro Steel duo have been the top team this season with wins at Old Mutual joBerg2c and KAP Sani2c, as well as the best African team at the ABSA Cape Epic.
A solid race, Buys congratulates Davids on the duel. All images: www.zcmc.co.za
Victory was made sweeter with fellow RoadCover team mate, Bradley Potgieter coming home safely in the top 15.
General classification 2-Day race
1 Brendon Davids (RoadCover) 4:39:39
2 Philip Buys (Pyga Euro Steel) 4:44:17
3 Matthys Beukes (Pyga Euro Steel) 4:48:13
4 Matthew Beers (Red - E) 4:55:16
5 Nico Bell (NAD Pro MTB) 4:57:33
6 Gawie Combrinck (NAD Pro MTB) 5:02:48
7 Wessel Botha 5:04:10
8 Declan Sidey 5:11:44
9 Alan Gordon 5:13:00
10 David Low 5:14:23