Trailing by almost three minutes going into the last day, the approach was simple. “We are going to race as if it’s cross country,” Beukes said the morning of the final day.
Before the weekend’s race the team had doubts over Matthys’ fitness. After having to withdraw from the Cape Epic due to illness, the road to recovery meant less time on the bike than he would have wanted. Afterwards Gert commented that he was a bit worried if Matthys’ legs would last, but after winning the Sani2C with a superb final day, it’s obvious that Beukes is back with a bang.
Their race did not start according to plan. A technical on the first stage resulted in the team losing time and finishing 5 minutes off the pace. They pulled it back brilliantly with a crucial stage win on the 2nd day, making up for some of the lost time on Day 1. The win put them in overall 2nd position, almost three minutes behind overnight leaders Johann Rabie and HB Kruger of Team Telkom.
Aggressive riding from the start by Heyns and Beukes was met with equal vigour by the leading pair, making it very difficult to gain ground. The first day’s bad luck, however, was rewarded with a turn in fortunes. A bad puncture on a downhill forced Team Telkom out of contention. Setting a frantic pace up front, Team Scott LCB took the overall win away from the race leaders.
The winning pair is aware that they had luck on their side. “Every second counts on a day like today. This is not exactly how we wanted to win, but we lost three minutes on day one, so sometimes you win and sometimes you lose,” Beukes said after the final sprint to the finish line.
After missing out on the Epic, Gert Heyns was in a thankful mood: “We can now look forward to the rest of the year. There are still a lot of races to go.” Until the next showdown, the two will braaap the living daylights out of their local Strava trails.