Tricky conundrum for Quattro ROAG Series leaders

On 20 July 2018 by admin

Written by: Tim Whitfield

THE national mountain biking championships in Bloemfontein on Saturday is going to provide opportunities, and present a tricky conundrum, for riders taking part in the Sappi Scottburgh MTB event 450km away.

Scottburgh is the sixth leg out of nine in the popular Quattro ROAG Mountain Bike Series and riders hoping to collect the biggest MTB series prize in the country are aware that this weekend’s South Coast event could be crucial in the final series outcome.

With just three events after Sunday’s Scottburgh race, the chances for points are running out for those hoping to make up ground on rivals on the closely-contested log. And the national mountain bike cross country champs taking place in Bloemfontein this weekend adds to the intrigue as it creates a chance for some riders to make up points and others to lose points.

The cross country specialists – such as log leader Julian Jessop and South Africa’s number two ranked Stuart Marais, who are both competing for national titles in Bloemfontein – have a tough decision: Do they rush back to KZN on Saturday night and race in Scottburgh in a potentially fatigued state, or accept they will not get points in Scottburgh and trust their rivals do not pick up too many points?

For Jessop, who needs just two more race finishes to have six result and thus qualify for the series prize of R25 000, it is possibly not a make-or-break decision as he can afford to “discard” one of the remaining events, although he has entered and is expected to be on the start line on Sunday after the drive back.

Marais, however, needs to finish all four remaining races to qualify for the series so he has a crucial decision to make if he still wants to be in line for the big prize.

The fact some of the big names may forego the points as they chase national titles presents opportunities for the chasing pack to collect a race win at Scottburgh and potentially unseat Jessop.

Marais’s win at the recent Gooderson Drak Challenge (just his second race of the series so far) has moved him up to fifth on the log, while Jessop (four events) claimed second despite a mechanical problem and now holds a narrow 12-point lead over Andrew Johnson (five). Tyronne White (four) is third, but if he grabs his second win of the season he could take over the overall lead once again.

The women’s race for their R25 000 prize is desperately tight with Andrea de Boer and Christie-Leigh Hearder just separated by four points. Between them the pair has shared three wins and three second places from the five events so far this year and their race for the title looks like going down to the final event in Baynesfield in September.

In the men’s trail running log, Mark Mackenzie still holds the lead he inherited at the second event of the year, but the consistent runner is looking over his shoulder as Nomore Mandivengerei mounts a potent challenge for the title.

Mandivengerei has won the last three events and as long as he finishes three of the remaining four events – Scottburgh, Eston, Tour de Kranz and Baynesfield – then it is hard to see him not collecting his first overall title.

The women’s trail running log is led by the consistent Sarah Gray who has won or been placed second in all four events she has taken part in, while Wendy Mills is 43 points behind with an extra result.

Latest Quattro ROAG Series points:
1 Julian Jessop 360pts (4 events)
2 Andrew Johnson 348 (5)
3 Tyronne White 282 (4)
4 Cayde Muldoon 218 (5)
5 Stuart Marais 186 (2)
6 Nathan Treble 179 (4)
7 Brennan Anderson 171 (3)
8 Mazwi Smimango 155 (4)
9 Warren Price 150 (2)
10 Frederick Rossouw 132 (4)

1 Andrea de Boer 350 (4)
2 Christie-Leigh Hearder 346 (4)
3 Belinda Mason 222 (5)
4 Nadine Nunes 199 (3)
5 Rentia Denissen 191 (4)
6 Landy Puddu 162 (3)
7 Isabel Moolman 159 (3)
8 Tarryn Morgan 145 (3)
9 Rouxda Grobler 142 (2)
10 Wendy Corkin 114 (3)

1 Mark Mackenzie 317 (5)
2 Nomore Mandivengerei 300 (3)
3 Thierry Pletinckx 200 (3)
4 Mdu Zondi 148 (2)
5 Derek Wasserfall 147 (2)
6 Rupert Sebire 141 (4)
7 Tony Perkins 76 (2)
8 Ross Treleaven 68 (2)
9 Grieg Walker 60 (2)
10 Michael Campbell 49 (2)

1 Sarah Gray 372 (4)
2 Wendy Mills 329 (5)
3 Megan Wassung 216 (3)
4 Apiwe Gaga 148 (2)
5 Gina Treleaven 115 (2)
6 Zanele Jele 95 (3)
7 Karen Maiden 83 (2)
8 Alison Wasserfall 81 (2)
9 Jacqualine Slogrove 69 (2)
10 Julyette Lewis 45 (2)