Close Finish At Mankele MTB Park

The third round of the 2015 Stihl MTB DHI Cup Series took place at Mankele MTB Park in Mpumalanga on Sunday 26th April.  Three-time SA champ, Tiaan Odendaal took top honours in the Men’s Elite Category, followed by Johann Potgieter and Samuel Bull (third).  Odendaal was thrilled with his round three success, narrowly beating Potgieter by close to 0.3 seconds.

Odendaal says:  ‘Finally.  It was so close though.’  The “sponsored by Mom” rider was really happy with how his day planned out, and enjoyed the course.  He says:  ‘I love that course, I’ve been riding there for the past few years, and won my race the last time I was here, which doesn’t make it any less pressure though.  It’s one of my favourite tracks.  There is a lot of pedalling at the top, and everything thrown in.  The standard of this course is similar to the international ones, so it gives us that experience and it’s so exciting.  What was so amazing to see was all of the spectators.  Everyone was cheering and the atmosphere was great, which makes a huge difference.’  Potgieter was in the hot seat and the name to beat with a time of 02:20.442.  Odendaal was the last rider out of the start gate, who wasn’t aware of the previous times.

He says:  ‘I saw Stefan Garlicki on the side, and was worried he had crashed, but then I had heard that he had a flat.’  He went on to beat Potgieter, but only just.  Potgieter says:  ‘I am just so happy to be back on my bike.’

Potgieter had crashed during a training session in Paarl last year March, and injured his wrist.  He had been battling with his wrist ever since.  He says:  ‘I was in a cast, and given 8-12 weeks.  After that I still wasn’t good.  So this year January I had to have an operation and a screw put in, so it’s a big thing for me to just be back racing.’

Sabine Thies was the only young lady to descend the mountain, and she finished in a time of 4 minutes 38.220 seconds.  The next round of the Stihl MTB DHI cup will take place in Pietermaritzburg in June 2015.

Photo: Three-time SA champ, Tiaan Odendaal took top honours in the Men’s Elite Category in the third round of the 2015 Stihl SA MTB DHI Cup at Mankele MTB Park in Mpumalanga on Sunday 26th April. 
Photo credit: craigdutton.com