It was a battle of the former roadies as Hanco Kachelhoffer and Pieter Seyffert outsprinted their rivals to take the stage win on day seven of the Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race on Thursday. The Altech Autopage Karan Beef pair hung on in a tight run into the finish at MacKenzie Club near Ixopo to claim the win over 79km in 2:58:09. Multiple national time-trial champion David George and teammate Justin Tuck of The Gear Change were second on the day in 2:58:13, while race leaders Johann Rabie and Gawie Combrinck of EAI Cycling came in for third a further second back. Rabie and Combrinck now take a commanding 19-minute lead (27:45:48) into the penultimate stage of the 900km race. Kachelhoffer and Seyffert move into second overall (28:05:02) in the absence of overnight runners-up Tyronne White and Andrew Hill. The Avis Van Rental duo was forced out of the race after White sustained a knee injury in a crash on Wednesday. Third place in the general classification now belongs to George and Tuck (28:10:51). "This stage is always so fast and I think everyone looks forward to seeing how fast they can go on the flowing singletracks, so we knew it would come down to a bunch sprint," said Kachelhoffer. "Luckily, today Pieter and I had good legs into the finish." In the other racing categories, some leads changed hands while others extended their already substantial time gaps. There was an upset in the mixed category as Seattle Coffee's Billy Stelling and Carmen Buchacher stormed through the singletrack trails ahead of overnight leaders, an under-the-weather Samantha Sanders and teammate Justin Victor of Valencia Cycling. Stelling and Buchacher finished first on the stage in 3:09:49 to slip into the overall lead in 31:21:43 – a full five-and-a-half minutes ahead of Sanders and Victor. "I rode with the second group through the Oak Lane dual track and my plan had been to wait for Carmen and give her a hand up the hill on the Red Bull Run," . . .
Defending champions Johann Rabie and Gawie Combrinck delivered another workmanlike performance to all but seal their victory on day six of the Old Mutual joBerg2c near Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday. The EAI Cycling pair took their fourth consecutive stage win on the 97km route from Nottingham Road to Glencairn Farm in the shadow of Sani Pass to extend their overall lead to more than 18 minutes. Rabie and Combrinck cruised into the finish in a time of 4:17:47, just 38 seconds clear of The Gear Change's David George and Justin Tuck, with Hanco Kachelhoffer and Pieter Seyffert of Altech Autopage Karan Beef third in 4:20:57. After the mountainous stage, which saw riders ascend Snow Top Mountain – the highest point on the nine-day route – the leaders retained their similarly lofty spot in the standings with an aggregate time of 24:47:34. Despite crashing heavily, Avis Van Rental's Tyronne White and partner Andrew Hill still managed to place fourth on the stage in 4:22:37 to remain second in the general classification in 25:05:47. Kachelhoffer and Seyffert rounded out the overall podium in 25:06:53. Heavy mist dampened the start of the day's racing from Clifton Preparatory School but after an enforced 10km neutral zone the four teams quickly broke away. They stayed together as they headed for the foothills of the southern Drakensberg until White crashed with 20km to go on the aptly named Face Plantation stretch. "We were coming down off the top of Winterhoek after the second waterpoint and as we reached the tribal land area Tyronne got on the wrong side of David when he swerved to avoid a rutted section and landed rather heavily," said Hill. Their three rival teams initially sat up but then decided to make the most of White and Hill's misfortunes as they headed up the last technical climb on the Red Bull Run. Rabie lifted the pace on the ascent to shake Kachelhoffer and Seyffert before the final two-team chase towards the . . .
In less than two weeks’ time, five-time world champion paddler, Hank McGregor (Jeep Team SA), will find out whether he has been named ‘Sportsman of the Year’ by the inaugural World Paddle Awards. McGregor is the only South African shortlisted for the award, joining the likes of Germany’s Sebastian Brendel (current world and Olympic champion in sprint canoeing) and the United States’ Fabien Lefèvre (double Olympian and world champion in canoe slalom) in the final three. Says McGregor: “I feel truly honoured to be nominated for this award. To be in the final three is just a bonus due to the fact that the nominee list contained the likes of Olympic Champions and World Champions across all disciplines of paddling be it sprint canoeing, slalom, dragon boat racing, river racing, surfski racing, etc.” The World Paddle Awards is the first event of its kind to focus only on paddlesports - a diverse sport often overlooked by the mainstream South African and global media. The awards recognise the many different paddlesport disciplines across the globe and validate the most remarkable men and women who compete in these disciplines. Winners, publicly announced on Saturday, 9 May, at a ceremony inside the palace-like Golden Hall in Augsburg, Germany, will receive a ‘Golden Paddle’, affectionately known as a paddlesports’ ‘Oscar’. Says McGregor: “I believe the World Paddle Awards will create awareness for the sport in general due to the fact that it’s uniting all the paddling disciplines into one event. This will also help highlight paddling as a diverse sport with a lot to offer, which will hopefully attract sponsors and media attention.” McGregor has without doubt earned his place amongst the world’s greatest paddlers. His 2014 achievements (on which the awards nomination is based) include winning both K1 and K2 gold medals at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships – the first South African ever to do so - and adding to his prior collection of three World . . .
An epic weekend for Jeep Team athletes saw Barry Lewin claim the national surfski title in Durban and Mikaela Jonsson win the Junior Woman’s Sprint event at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Cape Town, while Kyle Dodd and Alex Dolman were crowned national BMX Champions in their respective age categories in Johannesburg. Paddling At the 2015 South African Surf Lifesaving Championships, Jeep Team’s Barry Lewin got off to a flying start in the men’s single surfski race on Sunday (26 April), cruising ahead of top paddlers Hank McGregor (Jeep Team), Matthew Bouman and Jasper Mocké. Lewin maintained his winning momentum throughout the race, claiming victory ahead of Bouman in 2nd and Dominic Notten in 3rd. The win was especially memorable for Lewin, who commented: “In 1987, here at the exact same venue, my dad won the men’s national single ski title so it is incredibly special to be able replicate his achievement 28 years later!” Lewin’s victory was also a historic moment for his local club - Marine Surf Lifesaving - as it marked the first time in history the club has secured the men’s senior national title. McGregor and fellow Durban Surf club paddler, Wayne Wilson, won the men’s double surfski championship, ahead of Luke Chalupsky/Shaun Dias in 2nd and Bouman/Wade Krieger in 3rd. On Monday, both McGregor and Lewin competed in Race#2 of the Bay Union Surfski Series, finishing 3rd and 9th respectively. Multisport On Sunday, Jeep Team’s multisport stars, Michael Lord and Mikaela Jonsson, competed in the Sprint Event at Race#3 of the ITU World Triathlon Series – the Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town. Jonsson achieved an outstanding result against female athletes older than herself, finishing the 500m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run in 4th position overall but winning 1st Junior Woman home in 1h03m42s. Overall, Alexandra Quenet claimed the Women’s Sprint title in 1h01m09s, ahead of Gizelde Struass in 2nd (1h01m32s) and Hayley Preen in 3rd . . .
South African television personality Nico Panagio and top recording artist Jimmy Nevis are set to entertain the crowds during the SPAR Women's Challenge at Pollok Beach in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, May 9. Top Billing presenter Panagio will act as master of ceremonies on race day, facilitating the event to ensure that all segments of the programme flow seamlessly. One of these programme highlights will be the post-race prize-giving, during which one lucky participant will be handed the keys to a brand-new, limited edition Hyundai i10 Glide. Panagio is no stranger to the SPAR Women's Challenge, having emceed many of the regional races over the years, especially the Pretoria leg of what is collectively known as the SPAR Grand Prix series. "Since this is a community initiative I think the most important outcome of this event is that everyone enjoys the opportunity to come together," he said. "And of course to celebrate possibly the most integral element to the survival of the human race – women!" Apart from being entertained by the male runners dressed in drag, Panagio said he was always inspired by those 'never say die' runners who finished right at the end. "And then there are those boerie rolls . . ." This year the PE race falls on the same weekend as Mother's Day and although Panagio's own mother passed away six years ago, he said he celebrated her every day. "On Mother's Day my father, two sisters and I call one another and reminisce about her food and silly sayings. "Each of us has a certain part of her personality and when we spend time together it almost seems like she is there," he said. Panagio said that he and his daughters would also be celebrating his wife on the day. "My girls love their mom dearly and share her love for creativity, so we will probably make some sort of artistic creation as a gift." He said that events like the SPAR Women's Challenge were a chance to celebrate the importance of not taking people for . . .
Race leaders Johann Rabie and Gawie Combrinck stamped their authority on the Old Mutual joBerg2c with an unequivocal third stage victory on day five of the nine-day mountain bike race on Tuesday. The EAI Cycling duo hurtled into the finish at Clifton Preparatory School on Nottingham Road to claim the 112km stage from Winterton in a blistering time of 3:50:01. Avis Van Rental's Tyronne White and Andrew Hill were the second team to descend out of the surrounding forests and crossed the line in 3:54:55. After suffering two mechanical setbacks, Pieter Seyffert and Hanco Kachelhoffer of Altech Autopage Karan Beef managed to hold it together to claim the bottom step of the podium in 3:58:34. Rabie and Combrinck (20:29:47) now have an almost 13-and-a-half-minute overall lead on White and Hill (20:43:10), with Seyffert and Kachelhoffer third in the standings (20:45:56). According to Rabie, their plan had initially been to take it easier after the two longest stages of the 900km race. "But I saw that Gawie felt quite strong at the start and he was setting quite a good pace." The three teams, plus The Gear Change duo of David George and Justin Tuck, rolled together for the first half of the race. "We went up some of the climbs and saw that the other guys looked like they were suffering while we were still feeling pretty good," said Rabie. "So we decided to go a bit harder and see what happens." At around the 60km mark, Rabie and Combrinck broke away on the major climb of the day up to Kamberg. "I wasn't sure if I wanted to ride the rest of the way alone but we opened up quite a gap on them without spending too much." Behind them there was a dice for second place, as Hill and White also got away from Seyffert and Kachelhoffer on the ascent. "They managed to get back onto us and we worked together until Pieter punctured with about 20 kilometres to go," said White. "We looked back and we were on our own. Andrew was going really strong . . .
Former roadie Johann Rabie and teammate Gawie Combrinck tore through the open flats and singletrack trails of the eastern Free State to wrest the overall lead on day three of the Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race on Sunday. Leaving Reitz, the EAI Cycling duo put the hammer down on the 122km stage – the longest of the nine-day event – to take the win at Sterkfontein Dam near Harrismith in a time of 4:14:05. Their efforts put the defending champions back at the top of the standings with a combined time of 12:21:19. Overnight leaders Tyronne White and Andrew Hill of Avis Van Rental finished a distant second on the day in 4:18:09 to slip into the same spot in the general classification in 12:25:19. The Altech Autopage Karan Beef pairing of Pieter Seyffert and Hanco Kachelhoffer rounded out the day's podium in 4:20:19 to remain third overall in 12:27:38. Despite the chilly morning temperatures, Combrinck said he and Rabie had felt they had the legs as they hit the dirt after the opening neutral zone through the town. "We felt good at the start so Johann went hard just to isolate everyone. We knew that forcing everyone to work hard suited us because we're quite strong on the long stages." After 10km, a large lead bunch had formed, and by the first waterpoint 22km later, it had been whittled down to just the eventual podium finishers and The Gear Change duo of David George and Justin Tuck. By the second waterpoint at the 58km mark, the four teams had a more than four-minute lead on the chasing riders. They stayed together and extended the gap to more than six minutes on the riverside Jabulani singletrack around 75km into the stage. As the major climb of the day, Mount Paul, loomed beyond the final waterpoint, Combrinck and Rabie turned up the heat. "At the end we still had a bit left in the tank," said Combrinck. "And with Johann going super hard in the gutter, we managed to get a gap on everyone else." George and Tuck were the . . .
Development riders Mboneni Ngcobo and Sthembiso Masango showed the pro field a thing or two as they drove the pace on the 116km neutral opening stage of the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race on Friday. The muddied but unbeaten RMB Change a Life Academy duo set a solid tempo as the field of 800 left Heidelberg on the outskirts of Johannesburg and headed towards the Free State border. Ngcobo and Masango were first onto the floating bridge crossing of the Vaal Dam and maintained that position across the finish line at Wilgerivier High School in Frankfort. Although the first stage is officially untimed, the pair, who hail from the Valley of a Thousand Hills near Pietermaritzburg, clocked a time of 4:40:22. They were followed home by Avis Van Rental's Andrew Hill and Tyronne White, with the Altech Autopage Karan Beef team of Pieter Seyffert and Hanco Kachelhoffer third in 4:40:51. "Today it was our plan to take the stage win because we know the following days are going to be hard! We won't get a chance like this again," said Masango. Ngcobo said they had their sights set on an overall podium after losing out on a top-10 finish due to mechanical problems last year. Defending champions Johann Rabie and Gawie Combrinck of EAI Cycling played their cards close to their chests as they finished safely within the bunch. "There are two or three teams we've got our eye on for the overall but it's still a long way to go," said Rabie. In the women's and mixed categories, the SasolRacing teams paced together to dominate on the day. Two-time women's race champion Catherine Williamson looks set for another strong showing alongside new partner and former mixed category winner Yolande de Villiers after the pair took the stage in 4:55:24. Their teammates Johan Labuschagne and Leana de Jager followed a second later to take their category win. Williamson said the stage had been far tougher than expected after heavy overnight rain on the . . .
This weekend Jeep Team’s multisport superstars - Mikaela Jonsson and Michael Lord – will be racing against triathletes from across the globe at the Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town, which takes place at the brand new Green Point Athletics Stadium in the Mother City from 25 – 26 April 2015. The Cape Town event marks the fourth stop and the third continent of the 10-race ITU World Triathlon Series, known as the ‘pinnacle of triathlon’, which is broadcast in over 160 countries and attracts over 130 world-class elite triathletes. The current Olympic, European and Commonwealth men’s triathlete champion, Alistair Brownlee (Great Britain), and double Olympian Nicola Spirig (Switzerland) will both be competing in the Cape Town event. Jonsson and Lord will be entering the ‘Sprint’ race, consisting of a 500m swim in the V&A Waterfront’s Quay 6; a 20km cycle through the streets of Cape Town; and a 5km run through the Green Point Urban Park, ending at the Green Point Athletics Stadium. Other Jeep Team racing news… BMX After flying the flag for South Africa at Round 1 of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester, UK, Jeep Team’s Kyle Dodd is back on home soil, and preparing to compete at the BMX National Age Group (N.A.G) Championship Series. Legs 1 – 3 of the series are taking place at the Germiston BMX Club in Gauteng, from 25 - 26 April 2015. Jeep Team’s youngest athlete, Alex Dolman (15), will also be competing in the series, which is considered excellent training ahead of the 2015 UCI BMX World Championships in Belgium. Dodd and Dolman will both be competing in the World Championships, happening from 17 – 25 July 2015. MTB On Saturday, Jeep Team’s cross-country pro, Dylan Rebello, will be riding in Race#3 of the SA XCO Cup Championship, which takes place at Mankele Mountain Biking Trails, near White River in Mpumalanga. Paddling Jeep Team’s multiple world champion paddler, Hank McGregor, will be looking to extend his Bay Union Surfski Series lead on . . .
After taking its first tentative steps two years ago, the SPAR Little Ladies Race has become an essential part of the SPAR Women's Challenge family in Port Elizabeth. Held annually on May 1, the "little sister" race caters for girls younger than nine years and serves as a curtain raiser to the main event, which this year takes place on Saturday, May 9, at Pollok Beach. According to SPAR Eastern Cape marketing manager Abri Swart, the event is unique to the province, as none of the four other regional races offered something similar. Swart said the 2.5km challenge was introduced so that little ones could also participate and experience some of the fun of the 5km and 10km feature events. "It has given little ladies an opportunity to participate in an event that promotes healthy living and an active lifestyle from a young age." While the race was not widely publicised, he said it had proved immensely popular since its introduction. "This event has never been advertised, it has only been through word of mouth that we have received hundreds of entries and continue to do so year after year. "It's amazing to see how competitive the little ones are. They are so enthusiastic and really look forward to a fun day out." Swart said it provided a perfect mother-daughter bonding opportunity, as moms could run alongside their children and keep an eye on them. He said organisers were confident that the event would not only continue to grow but also extend the retailer's outreach function. "We trust that the Little Ladies Race will grow every year and that we will be able to give back to organisations within our community that are involved with assisting children in need." This year the Little Ladies Race will have its own charitable beneficiary, Cupcakes of Hope, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the early detection of childhood cancers. For more information find SPAR Women's Challenge Port Elizabeth on Facebook or follow @sparchallengepe . . .