Odendaal, Westbrook Claim KZN Enduro Champs Titles


Tiaan Odendaal and Kim Westbrook claimed the Senior Men and Women’s titles at the 2015 KZN Provincial Enduro Championships, sponsored by NMI-DSM, which was held at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg today.  Conditions were cool and crisp and the lack of rain meant a dry and dusty track, which led to fast race times for the participants.  The Enduro race saw riders in various age categories compete in a total of four timed stages, with the fastest total time determining the winner.
The star venue has hosted four World Cups and a World Championship event in the past for the cross-country and downhill disciplines and today’s provincial Enduro event was unleashed on a championship worthy course.  Event organiser and avid rider, Dave Drummond, was pleased with how the event turned out, saying:  ‘I had a blast today, it was so much fun.  There were varied trails – we go into soft loose sections and then hard fast sections, and tight and twisty sections and open track.  The climb was exhausting but it was worth it.’  Maritzburg College Grade 10 pupil and Youth winner, Sharjah Jonsson, is a keen participant of Enduro, XCO and Downhill races stamping his authority on the events that he competes in.
He laughs and says:  ‘MTB is the epitome of my existence.  I enjoy Enduro because it is a mix of the two [XCO and DHI].  I like the type of bike that we’re riding in Enduro.  It really is the most fun you can have on a bike.  The climbs up to the top were hectic today, but I live 500m from the track so this is my back garden and I ride here often.  I’m used to the steep stuff and the rooty sections and there were some brand new trails with some really big ruts in them, which was really cool.’  The 2013 XCO Champ and 2014 Enduro Champ will be competing in the DHI Championship event on Sunday.  He says:  ‘I haven’t been able to ride much this week as I’ve had seven exams in five days.’
Sub veteran winner Craig Paul is no stranger to mountain bike racing. Paul says:  ‘I’m trying different things now.  I’ve had my days of racing cross-country and no longer have time to train, so I’m doing some Enduro and Downhill now.  I’m enjoying it and doing it for fun.  Obviously, coming from a racing background, I’m naturally going to be competitive and I’m always going to go flatbox when I’m on the bike, but it’s a good load of fun with a great bunch of guys who are all like-minded.’  Senior Men’s winner and the young man with the fastest time overall, Tiaan Odendaal, said:  ‘It was was quite cold this morning and hard to get going.  I felt good and strong and didn’t crash, so it ended up being a good day on the bike.  Today was probably the hardest Enduro that I’ve done, going up and down.’
Odendaal will try and recover this evening in order to be fresh for the KZN Downhill Champs tomorrow, which will utilise the full World Cup track.  Women’s winner, Kim Westbrook, was elated with her surprise victory, saying:  ‘I came in today with low expectations and I came to have a good time.  When I got onto the singletrack I found my pedals and tried to stay on my bike and I just had so much fun.  I love Enduro, it is such a nice vibe and everyone is so chilled.  You cruise up the hill chatting, pushing your bikes, and then you get to go as fast as you can on a clean piece of singletrack.’
Local mountain bike manufacturer, Patrick Morewood (pictured), is a name synonymous with mountain biking and the PYGA co-founder claimed the Championship title in the Veteran’s category.  Morewood says:  ‘For me, having a business and a family takes a lot of time.  Downhill is a time consuming exercise and cross-country is great but requires a lot of training, and the fun factor is not there if you’re not fit.  Whereas Enduro, you can have average skills and fitness and still have fun.  The track today was technically very good with a nice gradient especially on the first two stages, and some good technical stuff with drop-offs.  It really had all sorts.’  According to Drummond, a brand new timing system was put to the test.
Drummond says:  ‘KZN MTB has invested in a timing system that uses timing chips on the wrist and riders scan in and scan out when they start and finish each stage.  The info is carried on the chip and when you cross the finish line you scan the chip in and all the data comes straight through.’  KZN MTB is using the same timing technology as the Enduro World Series but on a smaller scale.  Drummond says:  ‘Riders still have to stop and scan before and after each stage, whereas the World Series uses a system that reads from a distance so you don’t have to stop and scan.’
The KZN Provincial Downhill Championships, sponsored by NMI-DSM, takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 7 June.
 
Summary of Results – KZN MTB Championships (Enduro) – 6 June 2015 
Overall Men
1.Tiaan Odendaal 15:59
2.Hilton Frost 17:17
3.Craig Paul 17:31
4.Jedson Tooms 18:11
5.Shane Martin 18:13
6.Sharjah Jonsson 18:22
7.Jonathan Philogene 18:36
8.Andre van Aarde 18:36
9.Patrick Morewood 18:53
10.Christopher Pearton 18:55

Overall Women
1.Kim Westbrook 21:16
2.Kathryn Fourie 22:44
3.Sabine Thies 24:11
4.Elja Van Urk 24:34
5.Charne Dreyer 24:39

Senior Men
1.Tiaan Odendaal 15:59
2.Hilton Frost 17:17
3.Jedson Tooms 18:11
4.Shane Martin 18:13
5.Andre Van Aarde 18:36

Senior Women
1.Kim Westbrook 21:16

Junior Men
1.Jonathan Philogene 18:36
2.Dean Wortmann 20:21
3.Mitchell Meugens 20:42

Youth Men
1.Sharjah Jonsson 18:22
2.Jett Bradshaw 19:50
3.Kieira Duncan 21:31

Sub Junior Boys
1.Kayle Seaward 19:59
2.Connor Finnis 21:51
3.Tristan Quibell 27:39

Sun Junior Girls
1.Sabine Thies 24:11
2.Charne Dreyer 24:39

Sprog Boys
1.Dreyer Botma 27:53

Nipper Boys
1.Keagan Brand 26:32

Sub Vet Men
1.Craig Paul 17:31
2.Mark Millar 18:57
3.Craig Scott 19:47

Sub Vet Women
1.Kathryn Fourie 22:44
2.Elja Van Urk 24:34
3.Katherine M’Iver 30:24

Veteran Men
1.Patrick Morewood 18:53
2.Grant Macpherson 19:02
3.Craig Seaward 19:25

Veteran Women
1.Nicky Mcleod 26:47

Master Men
1.Mark Mcleod 22:35
2.Michael Frost 22:43
3.David Arpin 23:22

Grand Master Men
1.Ashley Nesbitt 22:55
Photo credit: Mylene Paynter