Davids and Dreyer get their Hill 2 Hill hattricks

Brendon Davids and Jeannie Dreyer were a step above their opposition as they both collected their third wins at the 100km Compendium Hill 2 Hill Mountain Bike Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Hillcrest on Saturday.

For Davids, who is in the process of transitioning to a road rider, the victory was particularly sweet as he recorded his third win in three years to match the performance of Burry Stander who won the first three Hill 2 Hill races in 2006 to 2008.

 

Both Davids and Dreyer were able to enjoy the final few kilometres of the grueling race with massive leads, safe in the knowledge that only a devastating catastrophe could derail their hat-trick hopes.

 

Davids took the win in a time of 3:52:56, more than 10 minutes ahead of Travis Walker who outsprinted Andrew Hill to claim second and ensure a repeat of the 2016 top three.

 

Travis Walker Brendon Davids Hill 2 Hill.jpgTravis Walker struggle to maintain contact with Brendon Davids early on in the Compendium Hill 2 Hill. Tim Whitfield / Hill 2 Hill.
Dreyer crossed the line in an impressive 31st position overall after breaking away early and riding a solo race for nearly 85km. Her time of 4:51:38, more than 21 minutes ahead of second placed Christie-Leigh Hearder, is even more impressive because she was unable to draft any other rider due to the rule that men cannot interfere in the women's race.

 

The race from Pietermaritzburg to Hillcrest started in cool conditions and just after the riders set off from Alexandra Park it was immediately clear Davids was the rider to beat. With his rivals sitting on his wheel and making full use of his slipstream, Davids opted to adopt a very aggressive race strategy and he was largely responsible for quickly whittling the lead group down to a small and very elite bunch as they rode out of Pietermaritzburg.

 

At the first StaminoGro King of the Hills hot spot, Walker was quickest up the final part of the climb with Davids and Andrew Hill following. It was then these three and Brandon Stewart who fought it out for the rest of the first-half of the course. Walker claimed the second hotspot and was just behind David's at the third to take the overall StaminoGro King of the Hills title.

 

But David's finally had had enough of the other riders conservative strategies. He "put the hammer down" and only Walker could go with him. Walker's challenge soon faded and the gap quickly ballooned quickly.

 

"I rode quite an aggressive race from the start because I was marked the whole time and nobody was prepared to roll through," he said after crossing the line.

 

"I actually decided not to go for the King of the Hills because everybody was just chasing me down, so I waited and did the same as I did last year and went hard just before the midway point.

 

"Travis came with me this time and then I put the pressure on again with about 45km to go. Â I ended up putting myself under pressure. I was actually right on the rivet until the big climb at Hill n' Dale with 30km to go.

 

"I think after racing on the road I now only start really ticking over after about two hours so once we got to there it was almost like I went on to autopilot and I was able to keep it steady.

 

"The course is very difficult now. The new stuff is great and is much better from a mountain biking perspective."

 

Jeanie Dreyer Hill 2 Hill.jpg
The loneliness of a champion. A smiling Jeannie Dreyer wins the StaminoGro Queen of the Hills title. After this she rode for 85kms with no help to claimher third Hill 2 Hill title. Liam Whitfield / Hill 2 Hill

 

There was always one only one winner in the women's race with Dreyer building a big lead on the climb to the first Queen of the Hills hotspot and she was never challenged as she rode home in an impressive solo ride of almost 85 kilometres.

 

Young Christie-Leigh Hearder rode a steady race to finished second with Candice Parker-Dennison third, just ahead of Sandy Haywood and Cindy Theunissen.

 

Results:


Men

 

1 Brendon Davids 3:52:56
2 Travis Walker 4.03.39
3 Andrew Hill 4.03.42
4 Leeroy Emslie 4.13.00
5 Andrew Johnson 4.14.16

 

Women

 

1 Jeannie Dreyer 4.51.38
2 Christie-Leigh Hearder 5.12.32
3 Candice Parker-Dennison 5.26.05
4 Sandra Haywood 5.29.48
5 Cindy Theunissen 5.29.58




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