White gets it right in four-man sprint at Husqvarna Classic

On 28 November 2019 by admin

By: Tim Whitfield

Tyronne White kept his unbeaten record for 2019 intact as he won a tense four-way sprint at the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run on Sunday.

White has yet to be beaten in a dream year so far in 2019, but he thought his run of success was about to be broken as he was “under pressure” in the 60km race on Sunday before he just managed to edge out Henry Liebenberg, Derrin Smith and Stuart Marais. All four crossed the new finish line at the Gwahumbe Game Lodge and Spa within two seconds of each other.

“Stuart (Marais) and Henry (Liebenberg) went out hard from the start and only four of us managed to stay together,” said White on Sunday after finishing. “Stuart then made it hard on the climb up to the KOM (King of the Mountain) hotspot and I was definitely under pressure there while Derrin (Smith) dropped off.

“Stu won the KOM and then the three of us settled down and we all just kept it steady. Derrin rode back to us. He did really well to come back and from there we rode hard and enjoyed the route. We were all closely matched so it was some good close racing.

“It all came down to the sprint at the finish and that was a bit chaotic. It is a new finish venue and none of us knew the sprint, so we were all going and then easing up and then somebody else would go. I think each one of the four of us led at some point over the last 500m. I was just a bit lucky and managed to be in the right place at the right time as we came round the final turn.

“I came around the last corner in the lead and managed to get the win from Henry and Derrin.”

White finished in a time of two hours 23 minutes and 59 seconds with Liebenberg a second behind and Smith one second further back to claim third on the same time as Marais.

While the men’s race could not have been much tighter, Nadine Nunes was able to cruise home to an eight-minute win over Shelley Higgo in the women’s race. Nunes finished in a time of 3:09:50 with Higgo crossing the line in 3:17:41 while Debrah Thomas ended third, four minutes further back.

In the 18km Farmers Agri-Care Trail Run, Mbhasobhi Gumede managed to beat Msawenkosi Mtolo by just 13 seconds with Innocent Skhumbuzo a mere 11 seconds further back as the top three all finished within half a minute of each other.

After a tight battle for superiority on a fast downhill course, Gumede managed to edge ahead as they approached the finish and crossed the line in 1:06:25 with Mtolo just managing to hold off Skhumbuzo for second.

Sarah Gray was top in the women’s trail run. She finished in 1:16:35 to beat Apiwe Gaga by less than three minutes with Kirsty Scott third.

The start and finish of the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run was moved to the Gwahumbe Game Lodge and Spa for the first time this year and the riders welcomed the move.

Race winner White was full of praise for both the new finish venue and the route.

“The Gwahumbe Game Lodge is such a nice place to ride,” said White. “The organisers put so much effort into the event and they make it such a nice race. They must have had some difficulty with all the rain over the past weeks but the route was wonderful.

“The amount of work they put in to make the trails so good is incredible. I think all the farmers get together and put in so much work … I think they must all have a competition to see who can build the best trail. They had built berms on just about every turn … the amount of effort they put into the preparation really blew me away.”

Race organiser Shanon MacKenzie was also pleased, and a little relieved, that the new venue was so well received. “We have had such good feedback from everybody. All the competitors seemed to have loved the new start and finish area.

“The feedback we have had about the 40km race was much better than in the past and we have had such good reports from everybody about the new route.

“There was something for everybody at Gwahumbe Game Lodge and Spa. There was a great kids area with a play area and trampolines, and a gin bar and plenty for the adults as well. I think changing it to Gwahumbe was a good thing. It was such a chilled environment.”

For more information, visit www.husqvarnaclassic.co.za

Results

Trail Run

18km

Men

1 Mbhasobhi Gumede 1:06:25

2 Msawenkosi Mtolo 1:06:38

3 Innocent Skhumbuzo 1:06:49

Women

1 Sarah Gray 1:16:35

2 Apiwe Gaga 1:20:07

3 Kirsty Scott 1:22:51

8km

Men

1 Hlelani Radebe 0:31:51

2 Fanele Gumede 0:31:55

3 Innocent Shangase 0:31:57

Women

1 Brigitte Von Buddenbrock 0:46:08

2 Hana Newlands  0:52:37

3 Ruth Gray 0:53:25

MTB

60km

Men

1 Tyronne White 2:23:59

2 Henry Liebenberg 2:24:00

3 Derrin Smith 2:24:01

Women

1 Nadine Nunes 3:09:50

2 Shelley Higgo 3:17:41

3 Debrah Thomas 3:21:07

40km

Men

1 Kusaselihle Ngidi 1:52:04

2 Johandre’ Marx 1:54:22

3 Nkululeko Pewa 1:56:20

Women

1 Euodia Swart 2:39:05

2 Rosemary  Smith 2:39:40

3 Jo-Anne Rogers-White 2:44:18

18km

Men

1 Rupert Taljaard 0:55:42

2 Joshua Johnson 0:55:46

3 Omar Wilson 0:56:30

Women

1 Emily Van Heerden 1:02:20

2 Riley Smith 1:04:20 3 Errin Mackridge 1:09:44

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