Race report: KZN MTB Downhill #1 at Karkloof

Perfect sunny South African summer conditions greeted a field of 87 Downhillers at the first round of the 2015 KZN MTB Downhill Series presented by NMI-DSM in Karkloof on the 8th February.
The Karkloof venue was a new addition to the series with a fast and unforgiving track awaiting the riders. Rain in the week leading up to the event had turned the clay-based lower woods into a veritable ice rink which would not dry and made tyre choice difficult, as the top of the track was drying fast with dusty corners beginning to blow out through morning practice. The Karkloof track was littered with large jumps interspersed with flatout speed sections and 2 long awkward rock gardens towards the bottom of the track.

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Cole de Ridder waiting in the gate for his start - Image Nick Ferreria.

A large contingent of Gauteng riders made the trip down to Karkloof to give the KwaZulu-Natal locals a run for their money on the fast track. But when the dust had settled it was SA #1, and 38th ranked rider in the world Tiaan Odendaal (Leisure Lakes Bikes) who took top overall honours in a time of 2:40.37 ahead of KZN Junior riders Jonathan and Chris Philogene (2 Bros Racing). The elite podium was rounded out by David Hogan and Kelvin Purchase who filled the overall podium with 4th and 5th respectively. The old men of DH gave the young guns a run for their money on the long track with the top 3 Masters riders (30-39 age cat) ending within the top 15 riders overall.

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Tiaan Odendaal sending the gap out of the last woods to first overall - Image Nick Ferreria.

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Kelvin Purchase on his way to 3rd in Elite Men.

In the ladies class, 8 ladies entered to tackle the challenging course with top honours going to Kathryn Fourie in a time of 3:55.42. Kim Westbrook put in a solid performance following her win in the Enduro Event the day before to finish 2nd, 14 seconds adrift, whilst 12-year-old Sabine Thies rounded out the top 3 in her first ever DH race.

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Kath Fourie moments before going down hard in the rocks.

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The ladies! Sabine Thies and Joanne Hicks making light work of the rocks while Michane Viljoen tastes dirt.

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Lots of riders felt the brunt of the 3 minute track - Images Craig Scott and Gavin Ryan.

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Shane Martin flying into the finish area - Image Nick Ferreria.

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The rocks claim another victim - Image Nick Ferreria.

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Doug Du Plessis squashing a drop in the lower woods - Image Craig Scott.

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Andre Pretorius sends one of the road gaps high on the course.

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Overall Mens Podium.

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Ladies Podium.

KZN MTB would like to thank its sponsors, NMI-DSM, Shreddtech, Elite Athlete Performance, and Pyga for the prizes, and a thank you to the land owners Sappi Forestry, and Karkloof MTB Club for land access permissions. The series now moves to St Ives Mountain Bike Park in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands for round 2 on the 22nd March, where another brand new track awaits.

Check out the KZN MTB Enduro #1 Karkloof race report here.
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3 Comments

Super_mil, Feb 16 2015 02:14

Such a good day out.

Bibi, Feb 16 2015 04:15

Great pics and update!!

Look like the shredders had an amazing day up there.

nigelhicks, Feb 18 2015 11:50

full results here - http://www.elitetimi...23/Default.aspx