Killarney - Continuing the form that has seen the 29-year-old ace take two consecutive World RX Drivers’ Championship titles, and win every race this year except for one (round three in Belgium); Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson romped to victory at every wheel turn at the 2018 World RX of South Africa. In all, Johan was one win short of a perfect score weekend - netting three qualifying race victories - ranking him as top qualifier overall - followed by a semi final and final victory at the Killarney Raceway in Cape Town. “What can I say? Winning is what we are here for,” said Johan about the victory. “This win really means a lot – and I know I’ve said that every time I’ve won a race, but it’s really true! When you come to the last race of the season, it’s really important to go to the winter with a win. We all know you’re only as good as your last result, so to start round one in 2019 off the back of this is nice.” Talking more about his incredible year, Kristoffersson revealed one disappointment. “Winning 11 from 12 is really nice – makes me a little bit frustrated about [World RX of] Belgium where [Sébastien] Loeb won – but that 100 per cent record gives us something to work towards next year!” joked the champion. “To make nine wins in nine races is also something special for me. I remember watching Sebastian Vettel winning the last nine races of the 2013 [Formula 1] season and just thinking how incredible that feeling must be, to have so much success in one season. And now I have done just that. Unbelievable. I will never forget this season, it’s such a special one.” Unfortunately for teammate Petter Solberg, his run of 2018 bad luck continued in South Africa, despite blistering performances throughout the weekend. Qualifying fourth overall, Petter went on to win semifinal two and lock out the front row of the event’s main final alongside Johan. However a spin, and contact with rival Timmy Hansen, on lap two of the final ended the triple world . . .
Cyclists wishing to take advantage of a golden opportunity to enter the Takealot Berge & Dale road race at a discounted price have until Friday to do so. Race organisers ASG Events are providing a 15% discount on the entry fee for the event, which is presented by Optimum Financial Services. But the offer closes on November 30. As one of the early national classics on the calendar, the feature race on February 23 over 107km is perfectly positioned as a premier seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour on March 10. The consequence of this is that it has regularly drawn in the region of 4 000 entrants and ASG Events chief executive Fritz Pienaar said there were a number of attractive incentives for cyclists. "Besides being extremely good preparation for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, we have decided to keep the entry fee for 2019 the same as this year," he said of the race which takes place in Krugersdorp on Gauteng's West Rand. "On top of that, we have created the early-bird discount which was not available last year. So we believe cyclists will get real bang for their buck if they enter before Friday." Entries are open to the public and the entry fee will revert to the full price on December 1. Entries close on February 13. Pienaar said they had also been able to improve the safety aspect of the race, with the venue having been moved to the Silverstar Casino. "The biggest consequence of this is that we won't finish on the N14 highway as in previous years. "There is a bit of an uphill finish, but it is a much safer option going into the Silverstar Casino. There will be no vehicles in the road at the finishing straight, which obviously makes it better for all parties." He added that they were assured of the perfect venue for the race village. "The vibe at the Silverstar Casino will provide a great backdrop to the race village, with a variety of restaurants on offer, as well as plenty of fun activities for the whole family." This . . .
Lessons from the Edge, a film documenting Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel’s epic adventures traversing the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) earlier this year, will be premiering at the Ultra Trail Cape Town opening night on Thursday 29 November 2018. The film, shot by Dean Leslie and Jared Paisley from The Wandering Fever Productions for Red Bull Media House, captures the intricate stories within Ryan and Ryno’s successful 25 day 1500km Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Great Himalaya Trail “Looking back on our GHT attempt, it is definitely one of the craziest projects I have attempted, and it was really awesome to have my close friend, Dean Lesley with Jared Paisley, along to document the journey,” says Ryan. “I’m really looking forward to the movie coming out, Dean has spent many months editing and crafting this story, so I am really excited to share it with everyone!” "Our Lessons from the Edge” project was one wild raw adventure,” exclaims Ryno Griesel. “It turned out a bit crazier and way more dangerous than expected and I am extremely grateful that I could share it with Ryan. It was definitely a life changing journey through massive mountain range and we got to meet amazing Nepali people along the way, but there were some dark times that we had to deal with ... we are excited to share this journey of our highs and lows with everyone!" The film sees Sandes and Griesel traverse heavily snow-covered mountains and experience incredibly extreme weather conditions unusual for that time of year along the way. They suffered frost-bitten fingers, serious tummy bugs, breathing difficulties and a few of near death experiences. A constant on the route, however, was the incredibly welcoming spirit of the Nepalese people who truly embody the spirit of Namaste, and welcomed the both of them into their homes. “Logistically, this was one of the most complex shoots I have ever done. The simplicity of Ryan and Ryno moving through the Himalayan Mountains on foot was seemingly . . .
Madibaz Sport continues to make its presence felt at a national level following the appointment of Yoliswa Lumka to the management team for the World Student Games next year. The director of sport at Nelson Mandela University will be deputy head of the South African delegation for the world event, which takes place in Napoli, Italy, from July 3 to 14. Earlier this year, Lumka was deputy head of the SA delegation at the Confederation of University and College Sports Association Games in Botswana. The SA team dominated the competition in June, but Lumka said the World Student Games were on another level. "The level of competition is the biggest difference," she said. "In Gaborone [Botswana] there were just over 1 000 athletes participating. "The last Universiade [World Student Games] saw 10 657 athletes and officials from 134 countries competing in a wide variety of disciplines." Lumka said the positions for general delegation management (GDM) were advertised prior to the events and open to university sports staff. "In this case, USSA [University Sport South Africa] has made a decision to start building continuity for the events by keeping the same GDM members, dependent on performance, to make progression easier," she added. "It's always an honour to be recognised and appointed in national positions." Lumka felt it was essential that Madibaz personnel contributed at this level. "It is important that our sports staff stay in touch and are in line to be selected to participate in the national and international landscape. It means we have the right people in our system." She said the team's vision at the Napoli Games would be to improve on past performances. She hoped she would get a chance to add value to their efforts. "This is an opportunity for me to improve preparation systems, in particular, to ensure that Team South Africa bring in more than the five silver medals attained at the 29th Summer Universiade, hosted in Taipei City . . .
The Polish team of Piotr Brzozka and Mariusz Kozak made the most of their trip to South Africa when they finished top of the podium in the Sanlam Investments MTB Invitational in the Western Cape today. The fifth edition of the two-stage mountain-bike race, presented by ASG Events, took place from the Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville, Cape Town, with the second day covering a distance of just under 40km. After taking a comfortable 10-minute lead after the first stage yesterday, the JBG2 CryoSpace1 team had to fight off an early attack today before crossing the line in 1:46:53 for an overall time of 3:30:51. This placed them well ahead of Casper Pretorius and Tristan Nortje (Eden Young Guns), whose second stage of 1:55:30 gave them an overall time of 3:48:32. In third place were the second Polish team of Jacek Brzozka and Wojciech Halejak (JBG2 CryoSpace2) in 4:00:48. Piotr Brzozka said the stage had followed a similar pattern to the opening day. "There was a really hard attack early on but we were able to defend that and at the first climb [about 5km into the stage] we managed to get a gap. "From there we just tried to extend our lead whenever we could and were able to control the tempo of the race." A former professional cross-country cyclist, Brzozka competed in the 2012 Olympic Games and is in South Africa on a business trip. He said he and Kozak, who live near each other in the south of Poland, had decided to take the opportunity to do some races in the country. Although he had ridden in KwaZulu-Natal previously, Brzozka said this was his first visit to the Western Cape and he had been blown away by the experience. "There are so many great single-tracks and a variety of trails so this region is really perfect," he added. "It was a memorable experience for us, especially with the weather being so good and considering it is two degrees in Poland right now with lots of rain. "I will recommend coming to this region for . . .
South African trail runner, AJ Calitz, has finally broken his K-WAY SkyRun curse, by taking the title crown on his 6th attempt in a time of 15hrs18min30sec. Following just over one minute behind AJ, the closest 2nd place in recent years, was recently crowned South African trail running champ, Stewart Chaperon in a time of 15hrs19min43sec, and local athlete Hylton Dunn in 3rd in 15hrs28min33sec. Nepalese runner, Sange Sherpa, took 4th place keeping alive the urban legend that no foreigner is able to take winning position at SkyRun. “That was a very hard race, it’s probably the worst I have ever felt whilst running,” says AJ Calitz. “But after Balloch I started feeling stronger and really believed that if I could just keep pushing I could do it! I am thrilled to finally have won this iconic race!” After a last minute decision to have to change the course route due to violent service delivery protesting in Lady Grey, the K-WAY SkyRun has proved that it can cope with anything thrown in its path, including the running of what many athletes are saying was a far more brutal course and temperatures reaching over 40 degrees. “In a year that has seen several of the country’s biggest ultra-endurance races cancelled for various reasons, we feel very proud that we were able to change the route and our start location less than 3 days before the start of the race and see some of the most incredibly nail-biting racing from our elite athletes,” says race organiser Mike de Haast from Pure Adventures. “In our 100km route the lead position changed more than 8 times throughout the race! We are thrilled that K-Way Athlete, AJ Calitz, took podium position in the first year that K-WAY has come on board as title sponsor!” In another race first, leading ladies Tracy Zunckel and Tarrin van Niekerk, who won the K-Way SkyRun 65km two years ago, finished in a tie in 20hrs46min04sec, followed by a tie for 3rd place some 5hrs later between Kate Birkett and Sofia Ackerman in . . .
Former champion Hanco Kachelhoffer knows his competitive edge will kick in when he bids for another title at the Sanlam Investments MTB Invitational in the Western Cape this weekend. The two-day mountain-bike race takes place from the Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville, Cape Town, on Saturday and Sunday, covering stages of 40km and 39.8km. Riding for Team ASG, the 33-year-old Kachelhoffer will link up with Somerset West's Etnard Louw for the fifth edition of the event, with their sights firmly set on a podium spot. He won the race with Pieter Seyffert in 2016 and is looking forward to his partnership with Louw. "I have said to Etnard we have to do at least one race a year and this is a cool one to do," he said. "He is riding at a really decent level and we are good friends, having ridden together in winning the Storms River Traverse in 2016." Even though he has retired from professional racing, the Paarl-based rider said he had always enjoyed the Sanlam MTB and knew he and Louw would be up for the challenge. "There is always an expectation to achieve something in any race you enter and we are definitely targeting a spot on the podium this weekend," said Kachelhoffer. He added that the race was a special occasion, with plenty of variety in the tracks and "a nice vibe during the weekend". "I feel this two-day event is a really good format and being based at the Meerendal Wine Estate it is in a very nice location. "Areas such as Meerendal and Bloemendal do have some big mountains, so there is a good test from that aspect, but there is also plenty of single-track. "The trails are awesome but fairly challenging and it will mean you have to keep your concentration up." Kachelhoffer, who will be riding in the Liberty TransCape from George to Franschhoek next year, said it was a matter of finding a balance over the two stages of the Sanlam MTB, presented by ASG Events. "You don't want to expend too much energy on the opening stage . . .
Excitement is building for the second SPAR River Paddle Challenge which takes place in the Swartkops River estuary on November 24. This, the second edition of the event, is expected to draw entrants from a broad spectrum of the paddling community, with organisers Zsports Events having arranged a variety of events from 11am. The event will take place at Dufour Park on the Swartkops River. It caters for paddlers from U12s to the 65-plus category and includes singles, doubles, triples and stand-up paddling. The entry fee is R100 per paddler. Entries received on the day will be charged an additional R30. Organiser Mike Zoetmulder, of Zsports, said the success of last year's event provided plenty of reasons to continue the concept as it was one of the major fundraisers for the Zwartkops Conservancy. An environmental organisation, the Zwartkops Conservancy works constantly to maintain the eco-system of the river and its surrounds to ensure the survival of flora and fauna. "It is such a magnificent river in the greater scheme of things that it needs to be looked after," said Zoetmulder. "The river is fine for paddling, but we need to have ongoing awareness of the necessity to keep it clean." Zoetmulder added that the race was unique in that it took place in an estuary. "It won't work at low tide, so we do this when the tide is high, enabling us to create narrow canals through the mud flats for the paddlers. "This is not done regularly in these sorts of events and that is what makes it exciting for the competitors." SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton said their close relationship with the Zwartkops Conservancy made it an easy decision to throw their weight behind the Challenge. "Being involved in events such as these shows our support for the work they do in the area," he said. "The Paddle Challenge also talks to our commitment to healthy lifestyles and happy family time." With their head office based in . . .
University of Johannesburg soccer star Amanda Mthandi is over the moon at her selection for the national team to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations women's tournament in Ghana, starting this weekend. The 22-year-old wing will make her debut for South Africa during the event, which gets under way on Saturday. Banyana Banyana play their opening match against Nigeria on Sunday. Mthandi was on the fringe of national selection this year, being included in an expanded squad, but she failed to make the final cut for an earlier tournament. "This time I was excited to make the provisional squad for the Cup of Nations and then, when my name was read out in the final squad, I did not know how to react. "I was ecstatic but at a loss for words," said the second-year transportation management student, who lives in Kibler Park in Johannesburg. Having been rewarded with the ultimate selection, Mthandi said she was eager to make an impact at the Ghana tournament, feeling she added something new to the national squad. "I play as a wing, but I believe I have the sort of versatility in my game which can add some value. "For example, I can play as a holding striker or I can adapt to the requirements of playing up front, running onto balls in an attacking position." One of her main objectives at Afcon is to score her first goal for her country. "Obviously as a team we want to qualify for next year's World Cup, but my special aim is to net one for Banyana Banyana," said Mthandi. "I believe the experience I will gain playing at this level will help me to improve as a player." The top three teams from the Afcon tournament will qualify for the World Cup to be held in France next year. Mthandi's national selection caps off a memorable year, the highlight of which she said was winning the University Sport South Africa tournament in Port Elizabeth in July. "That was a really good week for UJ soccer, and especially for me, after I was named player of the . . .
South African ultra-endurance and marathon mountain biker and SPOT athlete, Timothy Hammond, will officially be crowned the first South African Epic Legend, when he completes the New Zealand Pioneer Mtb race later this month. “The reality that I could soon be South Africa’s first Epic Legend hasn’t really sunk in for me yet,” explains Timothy. “I lined up for the start of the FNB Wines2Whales at Lourensford last week for the first time since the ABSA Cape Epic used to finish there many years ago. Back then there was a small race on the last day of Epic called Vigne a Vigne. It was before I started racing seriously and can recall very clearly waiting for the leaders of the Epic to come in after our small race around Lourensford had finished. I remember being in complete awe of them and wondering if I would ever be capable, or get the chance to finish a Cape Epic one day. I stood there on the start of day 1 of W2W last week with 3 Cape Epics under the belt and on the verge of becoming the first South African to complete the series. I really had to calm myself down. Being able to ride the best trails in Switzerland, New Zealand and South Africa is a real blessing, too stoked!” Founder and CEO of the Epic Series, Kevin Vermaak says he feels very proud that Timothy will be the first South African to take this title. ““With the Epic Series, we’ve created a global community of like-minded athletes who want to challenge themselves and their teammates on the world’s most iconic mountain biking terrain. Any rider who has conquered the Swiss Alps, New Zealand’s backcountry wilderness or the untamed African Absa Cape Epic has passed the ultimate test of any mountain biker,” says Kevin. “To complete all three Epic Legend Races deserves the utmost respect of the mountain biking community and of course the coveted Epic Legend medal. It’s always a proud moment for me when a South African achieves something great. We are holding thumbs for Tim as he aims to complete the final . . .