Looser & Pritzen Win FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz

Konny Looser and Marc Pritzen, of Honeycomb Pro Cycling, wrapped up their three days of racing at the FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz in perfect style as they crossed the finish line at Curro Hermanus in fourth position on the stage and secured the overall win by 34 seconds.

Images by Sam Clark – FNB W2W

The Shiraz event at the FNB Wines2Whales saw a stacked field of the best mountain bikers who call South Africa home, and several international stars, go head-to-head on the trails from Lourensford Wine Estate to Oak Valley Estate before finishing at Curro Hermanus.

The racing in the first two stages was flat out from start to finish. Stage 3 didn’t break from the precedent that the teams had set and after 62 kilometres of racing, from Oak Valley Estate to Curro Hermanus, the stage results were determined in a sprint finish between a lone Gert Heyns of Pyga Euro Steel, Stage 2 winners Imbuko {Type}DEV and Toyota Specialized, with Philip Buys slightly off the pace.

Beers and Nortje of Toyota Specialized crossed behind Heyns, but with Buys adrift, the stage honours went to them with Du Toit and Botha of Imbuko {Type}DEV crossing second and Pyga Euro Steel securing third.

“It was a super-fast day out there and we went full gas from the start as we all wanted to win the last day,” said Beers. “It was a real fight into the singletracks and winning the stage was the best way to end the season for us and for our sponsors.”

Starting the stage with 40 seconds in hand meant that Looser and Pritzen could adopt a strategy of matching moves, marking attacks, and ensuring that no gaps were forced instead of going on the offensive from the gun.

“Today was a hectic day with loads of pressure,” explained Looser. “We couldn’t afford any punctures, mechanicals or mistakes as the level of competition here was just so high and we had to watch everyone.”

With the FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz title wrapped up, and the South African mountain bike racing season all but complete, the atmosphere at the finish line was jovial as the teams reflected on the last three days of racing in the most competitive field that the FNB Wines2Whales has ever seen.

“Winning the FNB Wines2Whales for the third time was one of my biggest goals for the season,” said Looser. “I knew that with Marc [Pritzen] as a partner, it was possible. This is just amazing!”

“This is big for me!” smiled Pritzen. “Earlier this year I remember standing at Epic and watching the big names get called up and I said to myself that one day I’ll be called up with the theme song… and now having that happen and winning the race is just awesome. I have learned so much from Konny over the past few days and he was the perfect partner to race the FNB Wines2Whales with – it’s such a different vibe and this race is so special.”

“The FNB Wines2Whales is great as it attracts all the top teams and we can go full gas against our friends. It’s the perfect environment for a good time and the best way to end the season,” said Tristan Nortje.

Toyota Mixed category:

 

In the Toyota Mixed category, Candice and Darren Lill, racing as Team Ciovita, secured the category win when they crossed the finish line in second behind the Moka Rangers SC team of Aurelia Halbwachs and Yannick Lincoln.

“It feels super cool to win the Toyota Mixed category!” said Candice Lill. “We came here to have some fun and enjoy riding together. Darren rode like such a superstar and I am so proud of him! This was the perfect way to end the season.”

“It’s been a long time since I have worn a leader jersey,” laughed Darren. “This was all about the fun and this event is great! I can’t wait to do more of the Epic Series races in the future, hopefully with Candice as I have loved racing with her. I’ll be back at the Switchback next year, but I’ll be way more prepared!”

 

Exxaro Special Jersey:

With the Exxaro special jersey all but wrapped up after Stage 2, barring complete disaster, Tlotlo Selala and Halalisani Ndebele decided pre-stage that it was the perfect opportunity to hunt a stage win in the Amateur category. Their strategy paid dividends as they finished ahead of Hollard Namibia by over a minute.

The efforts on the final day further increased their lead in the Exxaro race and they finished the 2022 FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz in 18th on the GC, 2nd in the Amateur category, and first in the Exxaro race. Their reward is either a bursary from Curro for Grades R – 12 or access to a higher education diploma from Stadio.

“It feels awesome to win the Exxaro jersey!” smiled Tlotlo Selala. “If you look at where we started five years, we would never have thought this opportunity would lead to this level of racing, and the prizes from Stadio and Curro are worth millions which is just incredible. We are both blessed!”

 

FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz Results – Stage 3

 

Men’s Racing:

  1. Toyota Specialized: Matthew Beers & Tristan Nortje | 02:20:42
  2. Imbuko {Type}DEV: Wessel Botha & Pieter Du Toit | 02:20:44.5 (+00:00:02.4)
  3. Pyga Euro Steel: Philip Buys & Gert Heyns | 02:20:56.3 (+00:00:14.3)

 

Men’s Amateurs:

  1. Exxaro/RMB1: Tlotlo Selala & Halalisani Ndebele | 02:39:28.3
  2. Hollard Namibia: Martin Freyer & Gerhard Mans | 02:40:32.7 (+00:01:04.4)
  3. Hollard Namibia Life: Christo Swarts & Ingram Cuff | 02:46:04.1 (+00:06:35.8)

 

Men’s Masters:

  1. SPH Transport Services: Steven Hayes & Waldo Zevenster | 02:49:31.5
  2. Uncle fish/White Ricer Manor: Gerrit De Vries & Giles Fourie | 02:50:08.5 (+00:00:37)
  3. Staffanuti Stocks: Burger Bester & Hendrik Bester | 02:53:03.9 (+00:03:32.3)

 

Men’s Grand Masters:

  1. Robert Daniel: Piet Swiegers & Robert Sim | 02:50:13.5
  2. Nitro & Flash: Rowan Williams & Delaney Impey | 02:55:09.2 (+00:04:55.7)
  3. Primetime: Douglas Burger & Gavin Scholtz | 03:01:46.2 (+00:11:32.7)

 

Men’s Great Grand Masters:

  1. Anna Foundation Great Grand Masters: Linus Van Onselen & Eben Espach | 03:07:28.1
  2. North & South: Vaughan Ulyate & Jimmy Mills | 03:12:50.3 (+00:05:22.2)
  3. SATIB Africa Botswana: Seamus Oneill & Scip Vernede | 03:33:01.3 (+00:25:33.2)

 

Mixed:

  1. Moka Rangers SC: Aurelie Halbwachs & Yannick Lincoln | 02:48:14.2
  2. Ciovita: Candice Lill & Darren Lill | 02:51:00.9 (+00:02:46.7)
  3. MadMacs: Charles McFall & Yolande De Villiers | 02:52:32.6 (+00:04:18.4)

 

 

 

FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz General Classification – Stage 3

 

Men’s Racing:

  1. Honeycomb Pro Cycling: Konny Looser & Marc Pritzen | 07:42:48
  2. Pyga Euro Steel: Philip Buys & Gert Heyns | 07:43:22.6 (+00:00:34.5)
  3. Toyota Specialized: Matthew Beers & Tristan Nortje | 07:45:59.1 (+00:03:11)

 

Men’s Amateurs:

  1. Hollard Namibia: Martin Freyer & Gerhard Mans | 08:45:38.1
  2. Exxaro/RMB1: Tlotlo Selala & Halalisani Ndebele | 09:01:25.4 (+00:15:47.3)
  3. Exxaro/Pepto: William Sello Majapholo & Keneth Kabelo Thsukukudu | 09:23:11.2 (+00:37:33)

 

Men’s Masters:

  1. Uncle fish/White Ricer Manor: Gerrit De Vries & Giles Fourie | 09:16:25.3
  2. Staffanuti Stocks: Burger Bester & Hendrik Bester | 09:22:46.9 (+00:06:21.6)
  3. RDX Powerbar: Jaco Davel & Andreas Studer | 09:29:28.8 (+00:13:03.5)

 

Men’s Grand Masters:

  1. Nitro & Flash: Rowan Williams & Delaney Impey | 09:35:06.3
  2. Robert Daniel: Piet Swiegers & Robert Sim | 09:36:25.6 (+00:01:19.3)
  3. Primetime: Douglas Burger & Gavin Scholtz | 10:23:07.7 (+00:48:01.4)

 

Men’s Great Grand Masters:

  1. Anna Foundation Great Grand Masters: Linus Van Onselen & Eben Espach | 09:56:17
  2. North & South: Vaughan Ulyate & Jimmy Mills | 10:34:39.2 (+00:38:22.1)
  3. Antipodes Pump For Peach: Bart Meganck & Ross Castle | 11:41:48.3 (+01:45:31.2)

 

Mixed:

  1. Ciovita: Candice Lill & Darren Lill | 09:19:13.8
  2. Moka Rangers SC: Aurelie Halbwachs & Yannick Lincoln | 09:24:13.7 (+00:04:59.8)
  3. MadMacs: Charles McFall & Yolande De Villiers | 0609:26:46.6 (+00:07:32.8)

 

Exxaro Jersey:

  1. Exxaro/RMB1:Tlotlo Selala & Halalisani Ndebele | 09:01:25.4
  2. Exxaro/Pepto: William Sello Majapholo & Keneth Kabelo Tshukukudu | 09:23:11.2 (+00:21:45.7)

Songo-91-Specialized: Zola Ngxakeni & Ntlantla Nonkasa | 09:30:24.3 (+00:28:58.9)

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