SA Champs Focus For Four-Time Cup Series Winner

The cool and fresh Pietermaritzburg morning greeted riders and spectators with icy hands but warm hearts, as all geared up for the final round of the 2015 Stihl SA MTB Cup Series DHI at Cascades MTB Park on Sunday 28 June.  The fast-paced and exciting action in Downhill racing always has the crowds on the edge of their seats, and this event was no different.  The seeding run in the morning made for an exciting warm up, throwing names like Tiaan Odendaal, Jonathan Philogene and Andre Pretorius into the top three Elite riders, and set the pace for the afternoon’s final event.

The sun was out in full force for the final run at lunchtime and the action began to heat up.  The Elite Men’s race saw Tiaan Odendaal take the title after knocking three seconds off his seeding run to get him a time of 3 minutes 3 seconds.  Nine seconds behind Odendaal was second placed David Hogan, and third was Andre Pretorius with a time of 03:20.

Being Odendaal’s fourth overall Cup Series title win, he says that he owes it all to his greatest sponsor, his mom:  ‘It’s really cool to say I’ve won four times.  I’m not too sure how many people are able to say that, so it’s an awesome feeling.  I just wanted to thank my mom and all those who have been behind me all the way.’  Odendaal has now set his sights on great results at the SA Champs in Stellenbosch on 19 July, and will be focusing on preparation for the event over the next few weeks.  He says:  ‘I’ve got some enduro racing coming up so I’ll be doing that, and I have a race every weekend up to SA Champs, so it’s quite a busy time now.  But I’ve just got to keep my head down and stay focused.’

Stellenbosch rider Francois Du Toit, who claimed the Youth Men’s victory by “three tenths of a second” was happy to have the win, but was utterly exhausted.  Du Toit says:  ‘I’ve been riding for six years, and this my second time riding the Cascades course.  I enjoy this course, its fun, but the pedalling is quite harsh I guess.  I do really like the top sections of the track.’  When asked about his race, Du Toit said:  ‘It was tiring.  Just… tiring.’  One rider, who would beg to differ about the pedalling section, would be GM Cycles rider, Sabine “Beanie” Thies, who is usually the Sub Junior Woman in the mix.

Thies took the overall Women’s title as well, coming in with a time of 04:19.  She also mentioned that she isn’t easily intimidated to the “boy:girl” ratio of the sport:  ‘Because there aren’t many girls doing downhill, I’m used to the numbers being less than the guys, so I just got out there to have a good time.  And today I had a really good time, the jumps especially were all so nice, and the crowd was amazing.  I love Cascades, it’s probably my favourite – because its quite flat, and I’m pretty good at pedalling.’  The Junior Boys category was won by Kayde Brown, followed by Dylan Parker.

Sub Vets winner, Craig Paul had a fantastic day of racing, with a time of 03:22, 15 seconds faster than second place Cobus Truter.  Behind Truter, was Chad Curtis with a time of 03:43.  A fantastic day of racing could not have ended the SA MTB Cup series off any better than the way it had, with the Vets Men (Thane Archer, Mark Sydney and Grant Dekker) once again providing entertainment for the spectators, and left those laughing in hysterics at little antics on the podium in the name of great sportsmanship.

2015 Stihl SA MTB Cup Series round 4 DHI Summary of Results

Elite Men

  1. Tiaan Odendaal 03:03.554
  2. David Hogan 03:12.478
  3. Andre Pretorius 03:14.682
  4. Adriaan Smit 03:20.446
  5. Jonathan Philogene 03:20.672

Sub Vets Men

  1. Craig Paul 03:22.467
  2. Cobus Truter 03:37.310
  3. Chad Curtis 03:43.000

 Vets Men

  1. Thane Archer 03:52.463
  2. Mark Sydney 03:59.256
  3. Grant Dekker 04:04.062

 Masters Men

  1. Leon Cronje 04:01.763
  2. Maarten Prins 04:35.904

 Youth Men

  1. Francois Du Toit 03:27.233
  2. Jason Williams 03:27.518
  3. Sharjah Jonsson 03:31.876

 Nippers Boys

  1. Keagan Brand 05:47.308
  2. Zachary Wolfson 06:05.152

 Junior Boys

  1. Kayde Brown 04:13.745
  2. Dylan parker 05:08.052

 Sprogs Boys

  1. Kyle brand 04:39.762
  2. Maxamillion Wolfson 05:20.764

 Overall Women
1. Sabine Thies 04:19.784
For a full set of results, click here:

Photo credit: Gavin Ryan/QuickPix Photography