“It’s always nice to get a win under the belt and they all help keep the confidence up,” said Croeser. I try to treat every event the same so that there isn’t any added pressure when the really big races come around and I also look to try learn something new every time I race, and I did both these this past weekend so I was really happy. I went into the race really tired after one of my toughest weeks of training ever so I knew beforehand that it was going to be tough and I was going to hurt but that’s just all part of it. I sat with Trav (Walker) for the first three laps and then got a bit of a gap so I rode at my own pace through top the finish. I didn’t push too hard but it still was a really good training session for me as you can’t ever really fully replicate a race environment in training,” he added.
Having looked to mix it up with Croeser for much of the early part of the encounter, Walker then struggled a touch in the middle of the race before he picked things up towards the end and raced home to claim the spoils ahead of under-23 first year Dylan Rebello of Team Jeep.
“I missed one of my feeds so I really battled for a little bit and so fell off the pace a little. Once I got going again though I felt pretty good and it was good to get the under-23 win,” said Walker. "I raced Dylan Rebello at African Champs and he beat me so, with him down from Pretoria, it was nice to put six minutes into him this past weekend and get some confidence back,” he added.
With Marias having rounded out the team’s one, two, three and finishing second in the elite men’s race ahead of third place Tyron Bird of X10siv/Sound Mechanix, fellow Kargo Pro MTB rider Siyabonga Njiva put in comfortably his best effort of the year when he crossed the line seventh in the elite men’s clash.
The venue in Pinetown’s Westmead was the ideal stage for the contest’s action to unfold and the team’s good form bodes well for their tough upcoming Western Cape assignment which will see them take on some of the globe’s top XCO stars at the UCI category 2 event to be held by Western Cape MTB on 8 March.
“The racing was a good build up for our team and prep for Cape Town category 2 event which will basically be a mini World Cup as I’m sure loads of international riders will compete as they will already be here for the Absa Cape Epic as is definitely the team’s next major focus.
“From there we will then head to round one of the Southern African Mountain Bike Cup Series at Cascades in Pietermaritzburg on 14 and 15 March where we’re really hoping all our riders can shine,” he added.
Prior to their Cape assignment, Croeser, Walker and Njiva will all head to Wartburg this weekend as they look to fly the Kargo flag high at the 65km Illovo Wartburg Classic on Saturday 22 February. More info can be found at www.peschlracing.com
SUMMARY OF RESULTS - KARGO PRO MTB TEAM
KZN MTB PROVINCIAL SERIES XCO #2
1.Rourke Croeser (Kargo Pro MTB)
2.Stuart Marais (Kargo Pro MTB)
3.Tyron Bird (X10siv/Sound Mechanix)
7.Siyabonga Njiva (Kargo Pro MTB)
1.Travis Walker (Kargo Pro MTB)
2.Dylan Rebello (Team Jeep)
3.Callan Deacon (Velo Life)