Reigning champion Brandon Stewart and new partner Neil MacDonald won the FedGroup Berg & Bush mountain bike race from the Harrismith area in the Free State to Winterton in KwaZulu-Natal by a whisker on Sunday after three days of close racing. The RE:CM-FedGroup-Itec Connect duo beat nearest rivals Waylon Woolcock and Andrew Hill of TIB-RE:CM by a mere 17 seconds overall on a testing and muddy route that had to be hastily modified due to extreme weather conditions. The final stage of 56km from Emseni Cape near Spioenkop to Winterton came down to a sprint finish between the two top teams with Woolcock and Hill crossing the line first in 2:11:34 to take their second stage win in a row. Stewart and MacDonald, who took the leaders’ red jerseys after winning the opening stage by 20 seconds, crossed the line two seconds behind to secure overall victory in 7:42:08. Former Sharks centre Jeremy Thompson and team-mate David Leiman, riding under the Thule banner, finished third in 2:20:43 to secure the final podium position in 8:08:47. Stewart, who hails from Hilton, said it was fantastic to win his sponsor’s race, especially since it was Randburg-based MacDonald’s first outing at the event. “For us the most important thing was to get a feel for riding together.” After a more cautious start the previous day, the pressure was on from the beginning of the final stage with MacDonald setting the early tempo. The relentless pressure split the field as they ascended the first major climb with the top two teams going clear for the third successive day. “From then on it was just the four of us rolling together,” said MacDonald. “It was up to Waylon and Andrew to attack us if they wanted the overall win, so we were just content to sit on and conserve for the finish.” Although Woolcock and Hill applied pressure at every opportunity, they were unable to open a gap and had to settle for the stage win. “Neil and Brandon knew they had the overall win,” said . . .
Andrew Hill and Waylon Woolcock took one back for TIB-RE:CM as some of the top teams battled illness and mechanical problems on day two of the FedGroup Berg & Bush mountain bike race near Winterton in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday. The pair beat newly announced FedGroup-Itec Connect team-mates Brandon Stewart and Neil MacDonald in a thrilling finale to claim the 61km stage by a single second in 2:49:11. Former Sharks rugby player Jeremy Thompson, riding alongside David Leiman in the colours of Thule, crossed the line in 2:56:04 to take third on the day. Stewart and MacDonald’s second place sees them retain their leaders’ jerseys and they are now 19 seconds ahead of the stage two winners. Thompson and Leiman cemented third overall. With two big climbs and a water crossing looming, the top professional teams started conservatively as they infiltrated Spioenkop Game Reserve. A lead group of five teams formed at the head of affairs and were all still together when they reached the unique speedboat crossing of Spioenkop Dam after 33km. On the other side, the first big climb saw Stewart and MacDonald take control and they were closely followed by Woolcock and Hill. But, as a stomach bug began to take its toll on the latter, the overall leaders drew clear and by the time they reached the base of Spioenkop they were two minutes up the road. “Neil and Brandon were ahead of us going over the summit (at the final water point),” said Woolcock. “But then they must have had technical problems because we caught them on the descent, which wouldn’t have happened on a good day.” Stewart confirmed that they had lost valuable time when he was forced to stop and attend to chain problems on the way down. Woolcock and Hill grabbed the opportunity with both hands and were able to close the gap in the technical section near the bottom and from there the two teams rolled to the end as one. “Coming into the finish, I just told Andrew to go because I knew we . . .
Undeterred by a last-minute course change, defending champion Brandon Stewart and ad hoc partner Neil MacDonald cleaned up on a muddy first day of the FedGroup Berg & Bush on Friday. The RE:CM-FedGroup Itec Connect pair finished in 2:41:20 on an abbreviated 74km course after torrential rains the night before had forced an impromptu route change. They beat nearest rivals Waylon Woolcock and Andrew Hill, of RE:CM-TIB, by 20 seconds after the latter were mired down with mechanical problems on the final stretch of single track. FRIB’s Jarred van Zuydam and Rick Diesel crossed the line in 2:51:30 to round out the podium. Organiser Gary Green said he had been forced to abandon the first 40km of the famed route, which started near Sterkfontein Dam in the Free State and traditionally includes a spectacular drop down the escarpment into KwaZulu-Natal. The changes, which saw almost 90% of the stage take place on safer district roads, played to the strengths of the two lead teams, which featured former roadies Woolcock and MacDonald. Soon after the start, Woolcock and Hill were first to put the hammer down, catching most of their opponents slightly off-guard. They were joined by Stewart, from Hilton in KZN, and MacDonald, who lives in Randburg, and the two teams soon started stretching their lead over the chasing pack. “Waylon really made it hard and we were quite taken aback,” said Stewart. “I think he wanted to show Neil (his regular partner) what he’s got in the tank.” According to the 31-year-old, the two teams stayed clear for the rest of the day. “We shared the work and rolled together most of the way. “There was no point trying to force the issue on those roads because there were no sections where you could get away or try to make it really hard.” Stewart said they knew it would all come down to the technical sections near the finish at Emseni Camp, which is situated in the shadow of Spioenkop just outside Winterton in the Central . . .
With the 2013 Super Rugby season not far off, Nelson Mandela Bay awaits the arrival of Super 15 Rugby on our shores with great anticipation. Access Management, the operators of Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, hosted a Golden Ticket event last Wednesday, where local captains of industry got together, demonstrating their support for rugby in the Bay. Despite some rather inclement weather, the event proved to be a memorable one indeed. The Golden Ticket event was designed to encourage Port Elizabeth business to get squarely behind local Rugby, by inviting them to declare their intent to take up the offer of corporate season ticket packages, (which are aimed primarily at empowering their workforce – and ultimately the community – and affording them an opportunity to be part of what is widely regarded as arguably the world’s toughest Rugby competition, which will be played right here in our midst). Several of the Metro’s largest corporations have already expressed their intent to become part of this incredibly exciting and rewarding venture, and they encourage other companies to do likewise, in an effort to ensure that Super 15 Rugby becomes a reality for ALL citizens of the Metro – as intended. “What’s happening here in Nelson Mandela Bay has much more to do with our greater community, economy – our welfare and pride – than just with Rugby or sport. This is the kind of stuff that will mark change in our history books many years from now. But it is at this point – right now – that we need every bit of support and encouragement possible from every single son and daughter, and from every captain of industry in our area, to help us realise that change”, said EP Rugby Union President, and Chairman of the Southern Kings’ Super Rugby franchise, Cheeky Watson. Proceedings last Thursday evening reached an interesting climax when invitees were treated to an inspiring simulation of a war-room speech by EP Kings skipper Luke Watson. He had the audience captivated by his . . .
Defending champion Brandon Stewart will team up with old foe Neil MacDonald in a surprise last-minute pairing for the three-day FedGroup Berg & Bush mountain bike race that gets underway on Friday. The FedGroup-Itec Connect man, who won with Jacques Rossouw last year, will mount his title defence in the 220km event alongside the 35-year-old former roadie as he waits to announce his new team-mate for the 2013 season. MacDonald placed first and second overall in the last two editions of the Old Mutual joBerg2c alongside usual RE:CM team-mate Waylon Woolcock. The latter will be riding this event with Andrew Hill. Stewart, 31, said he was delighted to have his old nemesis, who will be making his debut in the race, on his team as they were both seasoned pros. “Between us we have many years of hard-earned racing experience. For this there is no substitute.” The Hilton-based rider said they had originally intended to ride together but arrangements had fallen through. “Fortunately, everything has now come together.” Stewart said they had a good understanding on the bike, having ridden alongside each other on numerous occasions. “We know each other’s style and ability well. I think compatibility and a good vibe make for positive racing on all courses.” MacDonald, who hails from Randburg, has shown good form recently with third-place finishes in the MTN Ride Crater Cruise and Nissan Trailseeker Series race at Van Gaalen. “I think our chances are good and we’re definitely aiming for the win,” said Stewart. “I’ve rested and am motivated to do well. “At the end of a long season it’s usually the most motivated team that has the edge.” Voted the country’s premier race in the past, participants in the competitive Descent will depart from the vicinity of Sterkfontein Dam near Harrismith in the Free State and finish at Winterton in the Central Drakensberg on Sunday. Stewart said he would then compete as a roving ambassador in the more . . .
SPAR Eastern Cape has reconfirmed its commitment to the development of local women’s sport by extending its sponsorship of the SPAR-NMMU Netball Club for a further three years. This follows the latter’s recognition as Sports Club of the Year at the prestigious Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Achiever Awards last week. The club won the provincial netball league for a seventh consecutive year with several players and management representing South Africa at international level. According to SPAR promotions and advertising manager Wendy Westraadt, they enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the club and were very proud of its achievements. “The players and staff have worked very hard and thoroughly deserve it.” NMMU sports manager Theresa le Roux said the award was made on a points system based on club results, player achievements and involvement in community outreach programmes. “The trophy is highly prized because it takes into account all the efforts that a club has put in during the year.” Le Roux said they were particularly proud of wing defender Zanele Mdodana, who captained the Proteas to a gold medal in the Diamond League Series in August. She was joined in the national squad by team-mates Mampho Tsotetsi and Nontle Gwavu. In July, goalkeeper Zanele Vimbela was called up to the SA student team that took silver at the World University Netball Championships. She was also named Player of the Year at the Nelson Mandela Bay Netball Association awards ceremony on Friday. On the management side, head coach Lana Krige was appointed coach of the national Fastnet team. Le Roux said Krige’s appointment had further helped to raise the tertiary institution’s profile. “All of a sudden some of your national players would like to study at NMMU or are looking for jobs in PE!” Le Roux said 80% of the players selected for the NMBNA provincial teams were from the university, but that they would not have been able to achieve . . .
Athletes all along the Garden Route are warming up for the Sunrise Women’s Challenge in aid of the Up with Down’s school for children with special needs on Saturday, October 27. The fifth edition of the event, which is sponsored by Heather Park SUPERSPAR in George, comprises a 10km feature race and 5km fun run, as well as a 5 x 2km relay option. Inspired by the success of the national SPAR Women’s Challenge series, the event has been reassigned as a women-only race this year. According to race director Danie Raubenheimer of the Nedbank Running Club in George, the ultimate aim is to become one of these prestigious grand prix events in the future. “Although this is now specifically a women’s event, men will be allowed to take part on condition that they dress in drag.” He said there would be prizes for the best-dressed men’s team and individual male in women’s clothing in the 10km race, as well as incentives for the school with the most pre-entries. In addition to the R6 000 prize purse, there will also be lots of lucky draw prizes, including R2 000 worth of SPAR grocery vouchers. Raubenheimer said the circular route would start and finish in front of the Heather Park SUPERSPAR store. “It’s an undulating course, which takes runners through the surrounding suburbs of Heather Park and Rooirivier Rif.” Proceeds will go to local school and first-time beneficiary Up for Down’s, which was founded as a non-profit organisation by parents of children with Down’s Syndrome but now caters for learners with various learning disabilities. Finishers will receive medals, with t-shirts going to the first 500 entrants. Get an entry form from the Heather Park SUPERSPAR or enter online at www.onlines.co.za by Wednesday, October 24. Late entries will be accepted at the store between 5pm and 7pm on Friday, October 26. Go to www.facebook.com/sparinaction to follow all of SPAR Eastern Cape’s initiatives. Issued by: Full Stop Communications Coetzee . . .
The 2013 Old Mutual joBerg2c will be one for the books as the organisers join forces with the Participate for Good campaign, a 46664 Bangles Initiative, to raise more than a million rand towards building container libraries in rural communities along the race’s route. The nine-day mountain biking event, which rolls out on April 26 next year, will be the first in a series of sporting events that will help the initiative reach its overall target of R20 million, or 100 libraries, by 2016 for the Mandela Day 46664 Library Campaign. The campaign is spearheaded by 46664 Bangles Initiative chief executive officer Robert Coutts, who has ridden the 900km event every year since its inception in 2010. “The race is possibly one of the best examples I have seen where the entry money is paid back into the communities we ride through. “The local communities treat us like kings and queens – we couldn’t find a more aligned event and receptive organisers anywhere.” Coutts said anyone could register with Participate for Good as a charity champion and use their chosen adventure or sporting event to generate donations for the initiative. “So if you wanted to ride the Old Mutual joBerg2c for the library project, you simply register, set your own target and then use the built-in social media links to start asking for donations from individuals and corporate sponsors.” According to Coutts, four teams had already registered, with another three in progress. “We hope to make 20 teams in total but, as always, we are building towards a long-term objective.” He said Old Mutual joBerg2c participants would receive free extras like 46664 cycling kit, daily bike services and limited edition titanium 46664 bangles, depending on their targets reached. With R415 000 already pledged to date, Coutts said the race had already exceeded its target for year one, which would enable the delivery of at least two libraries. “We are ecstatic and will now set our aim higher. We hope . . .
Seven-time Dusi canoe marathon champion and new Freedom Challenge record-holder Martin Dreyer will be alongside wife Jeannie when she makes her comeback to racing at the three-day FedGroup Berg & Bush in KwaZulu-Natal from October 26. The Pietermaritzburg-based team, riding in the colours of USN/Hi-Tec, will be one of the fancied pairs in the highly competitive mixed category in their first mountain bike stage race following the birth of their second child five months ago. Although his wife was not yet back to peak form, Dreyer said they were looking forward to the challenge of competing against a field that included the likes of Justin Porteous and Candice Neethling of Team JoJo and Bridgette Stewart and Brad Stroberg of FedGroup-Itec Connect. “She’s getting stronger every day. It’s going to be tough riding against those racing snakes but we won’t go down without a fight.” The adventure racer said running had always been the focus of his training, but his confidence on the bike had increased following his record-shattering five-day victory in the Freedom Challenge in June. “My riding has improved dramatically, but I still won’t shave my legs. I’m not a specialist mountain biker.” The Dusi Duke said he had great respect for his younger rivals. “I know Justin from multisport racing. He’s a good rider; it’s his game. And Candice is an exceptional athlete as well. “Bridgette has a fantastic pedigree as a downhill racer, while Brad’s got the energy of youth on his side.” The 43-year-old said he hoped that his experience in endurance sport would give him the edge in the 220km event. “When conditions get tougher, I like to think it suits me more. If you can deal with it better than your competitors, it allows you to get ahead of the curve.” Both husband and wife are veterans of the Absa Cape Epic, with Jeannie, 32, having finished second in the mixed category alongside Geddan Ruddock in 2005. She also holds the record for the Otter . . .
Enthusiastic young paddlers can share in the excitement of this great sport by entering The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin, which is considered the premier one-day canoeing race on the South African calendar. The Ozzie Gladwin Guppy race is a special event aimed specifically at the youth and will set the scene for the start of the main event at Bon Accorde at Albert Falls on Sunday, 11 November. Paddlers between the ages of four and twelve years old are welcome to enter. The route on the dam is approximately 2,5km long. Racing starts at 08h00 and will consist of round the buoys racing with some of the senior canoeists on hand for safety purposes. The Guppy series encourages children to get involved in canoeing by making it fun. More than 50 young paddlers took to the water last year and every guppy was rewarded with a little something for their efforts! The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin is South Africa's biggest one-day canoeing race and an explosive way to kick off the unique KwaZulu-Natal summer river racing season, which will culminate in the thrilling climax of the Africa’s greatest canoe marathon, The Unlimited Dusi in February 2013. The Ozzie Gladwin sports a unique format as it offers competitors a 26km race that includes four kilometres of flat-out racing across Albert Falls dam, then a testing one kilometre portage around the dam wall, followed by a 21km river section on the Upper Umgeni with the Albert Falls Weir and The Cascades, before the end-run of four kilometres of testing rapids into the finish at Crafcor Farm. Be part of the action at The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin 2012! For more information or to enter, visit www.theunlimitedozziegladwin.co.za More Info: http://www.theunlimitedozziegladwin.co.za Author: Christel Liebenberg from Peridot. Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. No of Images Uploaded: Three To gain access to Three image/s please Like, Tweet or +1 this article: [l2g] Images: Girl power with Jodie Fuhri leading the . . .