Defending champs dominate in Scottburgh

On 31 July 2018 by admin

Written by: Dave Macleod

Scottburgh – Defending champions Andrew Hill and Bianca Haw retained their men’s and women’s mountain bike titles at the tenth anniversary edition of the Sappi Scottburgh MTB and Trail Run Weekend on Sunday, but in vastly differing races.

Hill (TIB Insurance) came into the race sizing up a hat trick of wins, and had to come up with a plan to deal with that pressure and a strong men’s field, some of whom had peaked for the SA Cross Country championships in Bloemfontein the day before the Scottburgh showdown.

“It is hard to ride with all that pressure but then you just have to take the bull by the horns and just go for it.” said Hill.

With a dangerous men’s field and a Scottburgh layout that had plenty of climbing and, true to its “raw and untamed” reputation could have derailed his hat-trick plans, Hill opted to make his move very early on in the race, contested in ideal weather and trail conditions.

“I had to!” he explained. “There were such strong riders here that I had to put them all under pressure right from the beginning, so I climbed really hard early on and it worked because I got a bit of a gap.

Hill knew that the two riders closest to him, Julian Jessop and Reinhard Zellhuber, had both raced at the SA XCO champs, though Zellhuber’s race was cut short by a mechanical problem.

Eventually only Zellhuber (Garrun Group) could stay with Hill as he continued to pile on the pressure at the front.

“It feels fantastic to claim the hat-trick of wins,” said Hill. “It was an awesome day out on superb trails and in beautiful weather conditions, which makes it all the more special,” he added.

Hill was excited by the form of his iMana Wild Ride partner Warren Price who finished fourth, narrowly losing the dice for the last step on the podium to Pyga/Euro Steel rider Jessop.

Meanwhile Bianca Haw (Red Bull/Cannondale) came into the defence of her title on a high after winning the women’s title at the XCO nationals in Bloemfontein on Saturday, and showed her class as she raced away unchallenged to win by five minutes.

“I love this track so much and it is nice that I know it because it sort of feels like home,” said Haw, a member of the host Scottburgh MTB club.

She said that she had relied on her boyfriend Andrew Houston to drive back from the Free state after winning her national XCO title on Saturday.

“He was determined to do the race in Scottburgh so we had to make it back in time,” she said.

“Luckily the women’s race in Bloem was done by midday so there was time for a quick shower and then into the car to Scottburgh,” she added.

“It is a great race to come back and win again because Flav (race organiser Flavia Scarpa) puts so much work into it, starting way before the KAP sani2c, and it shows,” she said.

Frances Janse Van Rensberg and Hayley Smith had to slug it out in a thrilling end-sprint for silver that Janse Van Rensberg won by the slimmest of margin.

The 28km race was won by Brent Richter in a ding-dong duel with Nicholas Burczak.

The MTB races support the Cycling for Mobility charity that funds wheelchairs for patients that cannot afford them.

The Funky Pants Trail Run on Saturday was also very well supported, as over 550 athletes took part in the weekend’s trail running and MTB races.

Sappi Scottburgh MTB & Trail Running Weekend
45km MTB
1.Andrew Hill 1:39:01
2.Reinhard Zellhuber 1:39:52
3.Julian Jessop 1:42:07
4.Warren Price 1:42:09
5.Brennan Anderson 1:44:00
6.Jordan Wisdom 1:44:16
7.Jedson Tooms 1:44:44
8.Trevor Rowe 1:44:57
9.Cayden Muldoon 1:46:01
10.Wessel Swanepoel 1:46:06

1.Bianca Haw 1:53:09
2.Frances Janse Van Rensberg 1:58:12
3.Hayley Smith 1:58:12
4.Christie-Leigh Hearder 1:58:57

28km MTB
1.Brent Richter 1:14:31
2.Nicholas Burczak 1:41:31
3.Jordan Bold 1:18:43
4.Jonathan Watts 1:21:59
5.Rupert Taljaard 1:22:16