27 May 2015 – Mountain bikers of all ages will be competing for the championship titles on offer at this weekend’s 2015 KwaZulu-Natal MTB Championships (XCO), taking place at Cascades MTB Park, Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 30 May. Pre-entries for the event close at midnight tonight.
The cross-country discipline requires a certain level of skill and fitness, and local riders at the sharp-end of the sport are expected to be on their best form in order to challenge the top positions in mountain biking’s only Olympic discipline.
Representing the Veteran Women’s category is 2013 Masters XCO World Champion, Natalie Bergstrom. “Of course I will be racing. I love cross-country!” said the Ballito rider who plans to defend her provincial title. “I plan to win again as I am unbeaten since 2012,” she said.
The Jowetts Cycles Team rider also won the silver medal at the 2014 Masters World Champs in Norway, and is more than ready to compete in this year’s Masters’ World Champs in August. “I need to race as much as possible to prepare for World Champs in Andorra, Spain,” she added.
Young and talented junior rider, Julian Jessop, will also be competing and is ready for the challenge. “I’m really keen to race. I haven’t raced here in a while so I’m very excited.”
Racing for Specialized Concept Cyclery, the La Lucia resident is also feeling fairly comfortable with the field. “Two of our top riders, Brendon Davids and Alan Hatherly will not be here, so it will be interesting to see how the racing plays out,” he said. “Even though we’re in different categories, I was keen to measure my lap times against those riders to gauge my performance.”
Kargo Pro MTB Team’s Alan Hatherly is currently in Europe for World Cup season. Hatherly claimed the 2014 Junior Provincial Champion title, and is riding this year in the u23 Category.
The u18 SA Marathon Champion enjoys the Cascades track because it’s not easy. “It’s quite technical, and quite hard, but I love a challenge,” said Jessop.
Jessop has a great sense of balance when it comes to school and training as well. “I try to fit in training six times a week with some core strength sessions as well. Sometimes I will train for an hour and a half before school.”
Also looking to defend her 2014 title is Time Freight Team rider, Frances “Frankie” du Toit. The Wartburg heroine is optimistic about her race. “I’m feeling fairly confident heading into the Champs, my form is good and my legs are good, and I’m super excited to race,” she said.
Cascades MTB Park is situated next to the Cascades Shopping Centre, with a number of boutique shops and cafes to accommodate spectators and families alike. The track provides the fundamental building blocks of XCO racing for new riders as well. From sitting and pedaling, to drop-offs and line choice – riders young and old, novice and professional, are able to challenge themselves and grow into brilliant mountain bike riders. The network of trails at Cascades MTB Park has played host to numerous National and International Cup races, and the people of KwaZulu-Natal are always reminded of how luck they are to have this spectacular course in their own backyard.
Date: 30 May 2015
Location: Cascades MTB Park
Entries Close: 27 May 2015
Starting Time: 08:00
Registration: Cascades, 06:30-10:00
Late Entries: Yes
Timed By: Elite Timing
ROAG Registration: No
Event Website: http://www.kznmtb.co.za/
Online pre-entries close at midnight tonight, Wednesday 27 May. Click here to enter: http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1472 . Late entries will be accepted at registration with a nominal charge of R50 in addition to the entry fee.
Entrance for spectators is free, and all are welcome to attend to watch some spectacular mountain bike racing.