The KZN mountain bike team travelled down to the Western Cape on the 13th Feb for the African Continental champs held at Jonkershoek in Stellenbosch. The course was the same one we rode 2 years ago so we had an idea of what we were in for, but didn't expect the track conditions to have changed so much during that time. Overall the track was really good, there were some steep off-camber turns at the top, a road gap that led into fast flowing single track that was super rough and blown out. There was a sprint to the finish through some harvested forest land and a final tight left hand turn towards the finish line.
My first few practice runs were a bit sketchy from the conditions being so much different than I'm used too. But I finally got into the swing of things and started enjoying myself. I had one big crash on Saturday afternoon on the fast off-camber turn, but was soon back on the bike with no serious injuries. Race day came and I was in the zone and ready to put in some good runs. Our Nationals are being run a little differently than previous years, as we now do a seeding run first then a final race run. Before we would do 2 race runs, the faster of the two counting for the final position. I prefer the new race format as it gives you an idea on how fast or slow you are riding in your seeding run, but only gives you one chance to put a fast run together in the final just like a world cup.
My seeding run went well but I did make a few mistakes at the top of the course. I was lying 6th overall and I knew there was time to be made. For the final I gave it my all and pedalled hard, it got a bit loose near the bottom but I held it together. I pushed Tim out the hot seat and managed to finish 5th overall and first KZN rider. I was happy with my result for the day.
Results for the day:
1) Andrew Neethling
2) Jonty Neethling
3) Johan Potgieter
4) Stefan Garlicki
5) Travis Browning