Quattro ROAG Series battle of the ages

On 23 May 2018 by admin

Written by: Tim Whitfield

THE Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival will see a battle between the old hands and the young guns as riders fight for points in the third leg of the Quattro ROAG Series.

After two out of the nine events in the province’s premier marathon mountain bike series, veteran Andrew Johnson is leading the standings after he opened his account with a victory at the Wartburg Classic in February, and then followed that up with an impressive third at the second leg at the Husqvarna Mid-Illovo Classic in April.

Those two results give the Ballito resident a big lead over sub-vet Tyrone White, who had a disastrous race at Wartburg but finished second at Mid-Illovo. White has been riding himself into good form recently and his technical skills and climbing ability could make him the rider to beat in the single-track laden Karkloof Forests this weekend.

However, the man who beat White at the Husqvarna, South African U23 champion Julian Jessop, will be tough to beat and will be keen to show his two older rivals that his win in Mid Illovo was all about skill and speed.

A fourth rider who could stake a late claim for series honours is Stuart Marais. The Howick resident has not taken part in any of the Quattro ROAG Series events so far this season while he has been riding big stages races. But he enjoyed a double win at the weekend when he emerged victorious in both the Absolute MTB Challenge in Howick (where he narrowly beat White) on Saturday and the final leg of the KZN Lap Challenge Series in Pietermaritburg on Sunday.

If he can make it three wins from three races, then Marais will stake a solid claim and put himself on course to claim the R25 000 prize for winning the series.

In the women’s MTB standings, Andrew de Boer, with a win and a second in the opening two legs, is in a strong position with a huge lead in the standings. However, Christie-Leigh Hearder, who won in Mid-Illovo, is favoured to make up more points on De Boer in Karkloof and with seven more events de Boer may struggle to keep her lead over the next few months.

The Quattro ROAG Trail Run series, which is held in conjunction with the MTB Series, sees 2017 champion Mark Mackenzie’s two third-place finishes giving him a solid lead over joint second-placed Mthokozisi Chamane and Derek Wasserfall. Chamane and Wasserfall won the opening two legs of the series but have both each only raced one event so far.

The women’s trail run is the closest dice of all the elite standings with Megan Wassung’s two second places giving her a narrow lead ahead of the 2017 champion Wendy Mills who won the opening leg but ended up a disappointing fourth at Mid-Illovo.

The Karkloof Classic is the third leg of the nine-race series and will be followed by The Holla Sugar Rush Festival in mid June and Gooderson Drak Gardens Challenge at the end of the month.

Latest ROAG Series Standings

1 Andrew Johnson 174
2 Tyronne White 126
3 Brennan Anderson 120
4 Julian Jessop 100
5 Nathan Treble 97
6 Cayde Muldoon 92
7 Mazwi Smimango 87
8 Warren Price 86
9 Dean Wortmann 78
10 Jordan Wisdom 75

MTB Women
1 Andrea de Boer 186
2 Tarryn Morgan 106
3 Christie-Leigh Hearder 100
4 Rouxda Grobler 86
5 Belinda Mason 80
6 Nadine Nunes 74
= Isabel Moolman 74
8 Lauren Snailham 69
9 Landy Puddu 64
10 Rentia Denissen 56
= Brenda Potts 56

Trail Run Men
1 Mark Mackenzie 148
2 Mthokozisi Chamane 100
= Derek Wasserfall 100
4 Thierry Pletinckx 86
= Wiseman Vezi 86
6 Gary Hill 64
= Steven Yates 64
8 Mthokozisi Dlamini 56
= Ross Treleaven 56
10 Wiseman Mkhonza 51
= Byron Cochran 51

Trail Run Women
1 Megan Wassung 172
2 Wendy Mills 164
3 Sarah Gray 100
4 Linda Gathmann 74
= Gina Treleaven 74
6 Jacqualine Slogrove 69
7 Astrid Schroder 64
8 Genevieve Barnard 56
= Deanne Walsh 56
10 Elmarie Thole 51