Following in the tyre tracks of the FNB Wines2Whales MTB Adventure, 1300 mountain bikers (650 teams of two) gathered at the picturesque Lourensford Wine Estate (Somerset West) on Monday, 2 November to share in the excitement by taking part in the FNB W2W MTB Ride. Stage One saw riders having to complete a 72km route that featured a 1620m ascent before crossing the finish line at Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw), their home for the next two days.
Stage highlights included the new Wedderwill and Knorhoek single tracks. The A-2-Z Trail in the Grabouw Forest left lasting memories. Sections X and Y, however, did not form part of this year’s route.
Team Bianchi/Westvaal’s JC Jooste and Tyler Day set a blistering pace crossing the finish line in an impressive time of 3 hours 38 minutes 48 seconds. Jooste says: ‘This is my first W2W. Our sponsors told us that this is the best mountain bike event in SA. Thanks to them we were able to enter. Our goal was to get up the first hill with the guys from FLM9, after which we’d just see how we feel and take it from there. On the 35km mark Tyler put down the hammer, and we made our break. Stage one was hard, and because we didn’t know the terrain we had to focus all the time. Tomorrow we’ll ride defensively, have fun and hopefully absorb some scenery.’ Michael Potton and Theuns Goosen of Team FLM 9 came in second, while Heiko Redecker and Graeme Kuys of Team FLM 8 finished third.
Warrick Kernes and Nicolette Griffioen of Team Merida claimed victory in the mixed team category in a deserving time of 4 hours 12 minutes 54 seconds. Griffioen says: ‘Due to an injury my original riding partner had to withdraw. I was able to take over his entry. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was hoping for nice single track. The climbs were tough, but I loved the technical sections. Hopefully our lead is big enough so that we can just enjoy the rest of the race.’ Francois Malan and Jeanie De Villiers of Team Citricom 2 came in second, while Casper Badenhorst and Nadine Nunes of Team NSquared finished third.
Barbara Mulcahy and Sally Petersen of Team Karoo Sister Power completed the 72km route in 05:06:23. Michele Du Toit and Beverley Wood of Team Fast in Frannies came in second, while Michelle Zulch and Riana Howlett of Team S-Works finished third.
Stage Two: Tuesday, 3 November 2015
A single track haven and affectionately dubbed ‘Play Day’ the Stage Two route will feature the exhilarating Paul Cluver Bike Park and single tracks as well as the Kromco Play Park.
Start & Finish Venue:
Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw)
Photo credit: Volume Photography