Pietermaritzburg – As the nine-leg Quattro ROAG Series heads into its fifth race at the Safire Baynesfield MTB Classic, the race’s defending champion Brendon Davids will be back to try and secure his first significant ROAG points haul of 2015 when the popular 65km marathon gets underway just outside Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
Davids has been involved in the Quattro ROAG Series in 2015 with an appearance at the Compendium Sugar Rush Classic however the race was not a good one for him as he came away with a seventh place finish.
The 22 year-old feels that he is more focused on this weekend’s race than he was for the Sugar Rush and is looking forward to a positive result.
“I had a bit of bad luck at the Sugar Rush but I also wasn’t really in the race,” the Kargo Pro MTB rider said. “I am definitely more prepared and I’m taking this weekend’s race a bit more seriously so we will see how it goes.”
Davids is coming off a rather intense block of training heading into this weekend’s Baynesfield clash with his sights ultimately set on the upcoming South African Cross Country MTB Championships where he will be racing in the Elite Men’s race as opposed to the Under-23 category.
“This weekend is going to cap off a big week for me training wise as I keep building to the national championships next month and Baynesfield is the perfect set up to work even though it is a 65km race it is really fast and punchy.
“It definitely provides the right work out for me and I am hoping that I can repeat last year’s race and get another win there,” a focused Davids added.
It has been a busy few months for Davids and his Kargo Pro MTB team mate Alan Hatherly after the pair only recently returned from Europe where they took part in the first two legs of the UCI World Cup.
Davids has however taken the decision to remain in South Africa in the coming weeks instead of taking on another trip to Europe for the upcoming Swiss World Cup.
“I think that my preparations for the nationals will be much better if I stay in South Africa as then I won’t have to worry about the effects that travel will have on me.
“I will be able to stay at home and keep training here where I am comfortable.
“There is also going to be a top class field at Baynesfield this weekend so it falls into the big picture of where I want to be going heading into nationals later in the year.
“It is quite difficult to find races on the local marathon calendar that are suited to cross country riders but Baynesfield definitely is one and I want to use that to my advantage and try get myself as race sharp as possible,” he mentioned.
Sunday will provide a new experience for Davids and team mate Hatherly as they ride together in a Classic for the first time, something that Davids is looking forward to.
“Both Alan and I are in good shape at the moment and feeling good so it will be a good experience to have a team mate with me for the race and it is something that I am looking forward to.
“Having a team mate with you gives you the opportunity to test the field and tire them out a bit through team work so I think we might have a slight advantage but we will see how it goes,” a cautious Davids explained.
The ladies race will see the ROAG Series veteran Natalie Bergstrom take to the start line with a serious challenge coming from the young Frankie du Toit who returned to KwaZulu-Natal with her national marathon title last weekend so it will be an exciting duel between them.
The Quattro ROAG Series standings currently see three-time defending series champion Andrew Hill leading comfortably over the young Jedson Tooms. Whilst in the ladies series sees Bergstrom leading the way with Isobel Moolman in second with the young Frankie du Toit chasing in fifth place overall.
The 2015 Quattro ROAG Series is a nine leg series that sees all of KZN’s top mountain bikers doing battle for the coveted title and the winner’s cheque of R22 000 for both the male and female overall winners. More information can be found at www.roagseries.co.za