Fresh from the national marathon championships this past weekend, the cream of South Africa's mountain bikers will line up for the third edition of the RE:CM Knysna 200 stage race, which starts on the Garden Route on Friday. Among the 300-strong field will be top 10 championship finishers Lourens Luus and Waylon Woolcock, riding in the colours of the title sponsor, as well as Kevin Evans and Brandon Stewart of FedGroup-Itec. Luus will make his debut in the three-day event alongside last year's solo category winner Waylon Woolcock. "It will be my first stage race in that area, so I'm looking forward to some great riding," said Luus, who hails from Hazyview in the Lowveld. "Apparently it's a real mountain biker's route with something for everyone. Climbing, technical and scenic sections are what the route designers have in store for us." The Stellenbosch-based rider said his team-mate's knowledge of the 200km route would certainly work to their advantage. "Knowing a route is vital to winning a stage event like this one. Knowing on which sections to go hard, where to pace yourself and what lies ahead before starting is crucial for mental preparation. "Also knowing when technical sections are approaching helps with positioning yourself in the bunch." The racing upfront is expected to include the Bridge pairing of Timo Cooper and Nico Pfitzenmaier, as well as Olympic gold medallist Matthew Brittain and another former SA rower Rob Dormehl. Brittain impressed when he placed fourth, a mere three seconds behind winner Nico Bell, in the opening event of the Nissan TrailSeeker series just over a week ago. Luus said the daily stages, at an average distance of 67km, were shorter than many other events on the calendar but that the racing would by no means be easier. "I think, at this point in the season, it's better as we will be ending a big racing block in Knysna and are a bit fatigued. Also, the shorter, punchier stages will make it a bit more . . .
Some of the country’s top mountain bikers will head a capacity field when the third edition of the RE:CM Knysna 200 stage race rolls out on June 7. The title sponsor’s Waylon Woolcock and Lourens Luus, who finished second at the recent Old Mutual joBerg2c, will be looking for a rematch with champion Brandon Stewart, who saddles up with solo category winner Kevin Evans under the FedGroup-Itec banner. Also in the mix at the three-day Garden Route race will be last year’s runner-up Timo Cooper, riding alongside Germany’s Nico Pfitzenmaier in the colours of Bridge. The women’s race will feature the likes of 10-time Absa Cape Epic finisher Hannele Steyn and eight-time national road champion Anriëtte Schoeman, who made her off-road debut at last week’s Nedbank sani2c. The event will also be sporting celebrity firepower in the form of TV doctor Michael Mol, ex-Springbok rugby player Victor Matfield and two Olympic athletes – pole-vaulter Okkert Brits and rower Matthew Brittain, who was sixth at joBerg2c. According to race director Patric Mosterd of Garden Route Events, the 200km route through tough terrain was ideally suited to riders with moderate to advanced technical abilities and fitness. “It’s definitely a challenge for the average rider who works for a living but is passionate about getting out into the mountains. “It’s also perfect for the racing snakes to race from beginning to end.” Mosterd said the race had grown by 40 percent from the previous year, forcing organisers to cap the field at 300 entries to ensure a premium experience for riders. “That means no queues, lots of personal attention and maximum rider enjoyment, which ensures a quality event for everyone, including our sponsors.” The 75km first stage, which includes 1 580m of ascent, starts at the Knysna Elephant Park and heads out towards Wittedrift before climbing up towards Protea Wilds Retreat. Mosterd said the leaders would probably have an opportunity to open a gap . . .
Fresh from his success at the Old Mutual joBerg2c, Olympic gold medallist Matthew Brittain is set to be more than just a celebrity guest at the three-day RE:CM Knysna 200 mountain bike race next month. Brittain, who finished sixth overall alongside Rob Dormehl in the nine-day event, will once again team up with his fellow rower to take on the Garden Route race from June 7. The 26-year-old oarsman said he hoped his recent achievements on the bike meant that he would be taken seriously in the competitive stakes. “I would way rather be a racing snake than a celebrity guest! When I go slowly ‘for the fun of it’ I don’t really enjoy myself; to me it’s more fun to race a bit and go for it.” This year, he also notched up a 27th place finish in the Absa Cape Epic with Olympic team-mate James Thompson. Brittain said the Knysna race would be an interesting test, as he had only participated in the longer stage races. “I would guess the shorter distance would suit me better but I don’t have the experience to really know where I stand relative to the competition. “I know the terrain down there is incredibly steep so I will be bringing a granny gear and expect the legs to feel like they have done double the distance!” The Centurion resident said he was looking forward to riding the 200km route in and around the Knysna forest. “It will probably be muddy but the route will be spectacular with fantastic riding because it’s in the most beautiful part of our country and renowned for phenomenal trails.” He said Sedgefield farmer and trail builder Dormehl’s knowledge of the area could give their team a slight advantage. “This is Rob’s backyard and I couldn’t wish for a better partner to hit the hills down there with. “But a little knowledge is dangerous as it can lead us to focus on the wrong things. No amount of local knowledge will help us if we can’t compete physically in the actual race, so that’s where 99% of our attention must go.” Brittain . . .
Group 1 Hyundai has announced the launch of the new 2013 Hyundai Veloster at their showrooms in Midrand and Knysna Johannesburg, South Africa 15 April 2013: Group 1 Hyundai has (http://www.group1-hyundai.co.za/) unveiled its latest showroom floor addition with the launch of the 2013 Hyundai Veloster in their Midrand and Kynsna branches. The Hyundai Veloster is the very latest vehicle to be launched by Hyundai in South Africa and comes standard with a host of vehicle extras, including a 7” LCD touch screen display, full Bluetooth integration with video streaming, the iconic 2+1 door configuration the car is known for, 60:40 folding rear seats, a rear-mounted camera with parking assist, automatic climate control, and a host of vehicle safety features. The Hyundai Veloster (http://www.group1-hyundai.co.za/hyundai-veloster.aspx) has looks and styling that incorporate the company’s Fluidic Sculpture Design Ethos and is aimed at the younger market. According to Hyundai South Africa the vehicle is a “unique combination of style, practicality and economy”, all qualities that Group 1 clients look for in a vehicle. Please Note! The Veloster is available in Group 1 showrooms and around the country in Hyundai showrooms from the 5th of April 2013, with prices starting from R259,900 for the 1.6l GDI. END Press release submitted by Justin Atkins at WSI, Cape Town on behalf of Group1 Hyundai. For more PR information, please call WSI Web Marketing Cape Town on 021-913 4382. URL: http://www.group1-hyundai.co.za/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Group1Hyundai Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Group-1-Hyundai/521985357841770 YouTube: Author: Justin Atkins from Group 1 Hyundai. Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. . . .
Renay Groustra of South Africa and Daniel Gathof of Germany won the third and final stage of the Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300 mountain bike race in Knysna on Sunday to secure a comfortable overall victory. The Rocky Mountain-RSA Web team’s time of 3:10:11 over the final 80km was two seconds faster than that of stage-one winners Timo Cooper and Adriaan Louw (Bridge), who had relinquished their overall lead the previous day. Billy Stelling and Rob Dormehl (V&A Market on the Wharf) finished third on the day in 3:15:17. Groustra and Gathof completed the third edition of the 300km race in an aggregate time of 12:18:59. Cooper and Louw, with an overall time of 12:27:46, were more than eight minutes behind after mechanical trouble had effectively sealed their fate on the second stage. Neil Bradford and Tim Osrin (Harvest Foundation) rounded out the podium in 12:55:43. Groustra said the win was particularly meaningful as it was his first outing with Gathof, who is a two-time TransAlp winner in the mixed category. “Our sponsors are also title sponsors of this race, so it means a lot to them and us.” He said they now hoped to secure funding to ride the Absa Cape Epic together. Their lead of close to nine minutes going into the final day had put the pressure firmly on Cooper and Louw. The latter rose to the challenge and turned up the heat within the first 10km on Phantom Pass, but Groustra and Gathof were able to match them all the way to the summit. The two teams stayed together until Louw initiated a breakaway on the big Hydro climb 30km into the race. “We were climbing out of the valley after the first waterpoint when Adriaan went hard off the front,” said Groustra. Cooper and Louw opened up a 40-second gap on the climb but a patient Groustra and Gathof reeled them in shortly thereafter. “And then it was easy after that because they knew they couldn’t get away from us and we felt we didn’t need to open up a bigger lead,” said . . .
South Africa’s Renay Groustra and German team-mate Daniel Gathof claimed the 115km second stage and overall lead of the Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300 mountain bike race in Knysna on Saturday. In a reversal of fortune, the Rocky Mountain-RSA Web duo came good on a stage that included 2 400m of climbing to comfortably overhaul Bridge’s overnight leaders Timo Cooper and Adriaan Louw. Groustra and Gathof crossed the line in 4:39:56, followed by Cooper and Louw (4:48:45) and V&A Market on the Wharf’s Billy Stelling and Rob Dormehl (4:55:15). The new leaders, who twice veered off course the previous day, took full advantage of a Cooper puncture to establish a lead of almost nine minutes going into the 78km final stage on Sunday. Passing through the local Rastafarian village, the racing started at an easy tempo on what is traditionally regarded as the tour’s queen stage. Gathof, twice a TransAlp winner, forced the first breakaway through the Petrus se Brand forest trails, which came after the first feeding station at 30km. With only his partner and the Bridge riders able to follow, it was left to Stelling and Dormehl and masters’ category leaders Neil Bradford and Tim Osrin, riding in the colours of the Harvest Foundation, to do the chasing. Disaster struck the yellow jersey pairing when Cooper punctured on a descent 50km into the race. “We plugged it and then the plug popped out, so we plugged it again,” said Cooper. After running out of CO2 bombs, a pump borrowed from solo rider Dominic Calitz got them on their way again. “We couldn’t see Renay and Daniel anymore and then the two chasing teams caught us but we rode away from them again before the second waterpoint.” By the 60km mark, Gathof and Groustra had pulled six minutes clear of Cooper and Louw. They continued to extend the gap on the remaining hills to ride alone to the finish. Gathof said the big gravel road climbs had suited him perfectly, as they were very similar to . . .
After almost 100km of pristine forest riding, former champion Timo Cooper and ad hoc partner Adriaan Louw made the decisive move on the final stretch of tar to claim the opening stage of the three-day Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300 in Knysna on Friday. In a day of shifting fortunes, the Bridge riders finally outsprinted Renay Groustra and Daniel Gathof (Rocky Mountain/RSA Web) to cross the line in 4:28:48, just four seconds clear of their fellow escapees. Third-placed Austrian riders René Haselbacher and Wolfgang Krenn (Makomo Resources), who were also part of the initial three-team breakaway, overcame illness to finish almost six minutes behind the leaders in 4:36:41. Wellington-based Cooper, who finished runner-up last year alongside Jarryd Haley, said the racing started at a furious pace up the first hill on the dump road just outside Knysna. “We eventually got away with two other teams on a climb after about 40 kilometres and we just put in a constant tempo from there.” Groustra and Gathof built a slim lead on the technical Red Route through the Harkerville Forest, but bad luck struck when they went off course. By the time they recovered from their misadventure, the Bridge and Makomo Resources riders were just 30 seconds off. Cooper and Paarl-based Louw closed the gap, only to join Groustra and Gathof on another detour. “We were consolidating with Timo and Adriaan when we went the wrong way again,” said a frustrated Groustra. “That put us about five minutes behind René and Wolfgang.” However, stomach problems put an end to the Austrians’ efforts and the chasers caught and passed them just before the third waterpoint at the 80km mark. From there, the two teams rode together to the finish and in the end it was Cooper and Louw who had the legs to secure the win. “There are still two more days,” said Groustra. “It’s now up to Timo and Adriaan to lead the way, so we can just focus on what we’re doing.” His German partner, who is a . . .
Inaugural winner Timo Cooper will be aiming for a second victory when he takes on the third edition of the Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300 in Knysna from Friday. Cooper, who won the three-day mountain bike race in 2011 alongside Jacques Rossouw, will be riding with ad hoc partner Adriaan Louw in the colours of new sponsor Bridge. With one half of last year’s winning team, Adi Enthoven, sidelined due to a vertebral injury, the way is clear for Cooper and Louw to challenge for the title and a share of the R70 000 prize purse, courtesy of First National Bank. “We’re definitely going for the win,” he said. “It’s the first time we’ll be riding together but we are good friends and really understand each other.” Cooper, who podiumed in the three-stage Tankwa Trek last weekend with Oliver Munnik, said this was particularly important in a stage-racing environment where partners relied heavily on one another. “Mechanically, Adriaan is also pretty good, so if there’s a problem with a bike he’ll be able to sort it out.” They will face off against the Austrian pairing of Philipp Ludescher and René Haselbacher (Team Asrin) as well as Renay Groustra and German rider Daniel Gathof (Team Rocky Mountain). Cooper said he expected everyone to conserve their efforts on the 100km opening stage as they sussed out the competition. “Our aim is to stay with the front bunch but if we can win stage one, we’ll go for that too.” As a climber, he said he was looking forward to making amends for last year’s difficulties on the revised 115km queen stage. It was in the sandy stretches across the Western head on day two that he and former partner Jarryd Haley lost their overall lead. “They’ve taken the sand out but they’ve put some very big climbs in. We’re hoping to make some gaps there.” Cooper said they would try to put time into the rest of the field on the fast 78km final stage. Overall, he felt the 300km course played to his strengths. “The climbs are constant . . .
Former Olympic pole-vaulter and reality show survivor Okkert Brits will face his toughest challenge yet when he takes on the three-day Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300 in Knysna from February 22 to 24. Brits will be participating in his first ever mountain bike stage race as a guest of First National Bank, which is sponsoring the R70 000 prize purse. However, he said he would not have his eyes on the prize, as he was relatively new to the sport and had only been training for the past 10 weeks. “The objective is just to finish and have as nice a time – and break as few things – as possible,” said Brits. The 39-year-old said it was a great opportunity and that he had heard the Knysna event was one of the toughest and most beautiful stage races on the national calendar. “If you’re not an endurance athlete it’s really hard,” said the former track and field star. “I have no experience and no idea what I’ve gotten myself into!” Brits, who will be competing in the Absa Cape Epic alongside former Welsh rugby captain Colin Charvis in March, said he needed to test his endurance as much as possible ahead of the eight-day event. “I need to see if I can make it. The great thing about the GR300 is that I’m really going to find out where my problem areas are.” He will be riding with FNB’s Mike Howell, who has completed multiple Ironman competitions, in the 300km Garden Route event. “As a pole-vaulter you pretty much do everything on your own and you know how to sort yourself out. But now it’s different because you’ve got a partner to worry about and you’re both going to have good and bad days.” Although, weighing in at 105kg, the big man was not looking forward to the climbs, he said he would rely on his skills as a high school BMX racing champion to assist on the technical descents. “I’ve already had a few proper falls but as a pole-vaulter you make your living out of falling, so I’m used to it,” he laughed. One of an elite group of athletes to . . .
Rocky Mountain Bicycles has renewed its title sponsorship of the Southern Cape’s premier stage race, the Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300, which takes place in and around Knysna from February 22 to 24. The upmarket Canadian bicycle brand, which has had a presence in South Africa for almost three years, confirmed its commitment following a sell-out event this year. According to Rocky Mountain brand manager Eugene Haley, the race had all the hallmarks of becoming one of the top stage races in the country. “This is our second year of sponsorship and we anticipate this relationship continuing for at least the next couple of years.” Haley said the 300km race, which follows a clover-shaped route through indigenous forests and mountains, represented the kind of riding at which Rocky Mountain bikes excelled. “Because the bikes are tested in Canada on what are considered to be the best, toughest and most technical mountain bike trails in the world, we feel they are ideally suited to withstand the rigours of riding in South Africa.” He said the title sponsorship would include a cash component as well as a range of lucky draw prizes. These include a full-carbon 29-inch bike worth R40 000 and Evoc product giveaways valued at R10 000. In addition, long-standing race beneficiary, the Knysna Sport School, would receive an entry-level bike for its cycling development programme, said Haley. Local pro team and this year’s runners-up, Jarryd Haley and Timo Cooper, riding in the sponsor’s colours, would return for a crack at the title, said Haley. Cooper won the inaugural event in 2011 with Jacques Rossouw. “We will also be pairing Renay Groustra with German rider Daniel Gathof, who has had multiple podium finishes for Team Rocky Mountain in stage races like the TransAlp.” Riders will compete for an overall prize purse of R70 000, which is sponsored by First National Bank. Race director Patric Mosterd of Garden Route Events said the race, which is . . .