Zevenwacht Wine Farm hosted Round Three of the 2021 SRAM Western Cape Downhill Series.
The sky was blue and the wind subsided for pretty much the entire weekend as over a hundred riders from the region assembled for the two-day event.
The 1.5km long Zevenwacht track has an average gradient of -11.3% and is an ideal venue for a provincial series where riders of all skills levels can get a taste of gravity racing. The iconic features of the track include a flowy section at the start that leads into some jumps, the tin mine gap jump, a rock gulley and a high-speed run into the finish. It is a fun track to ride, yet technically challenging at race pace. National Champion, Theo Erlangsen is preparing for his World Cup season and missed the event but the return of former World Cup rider Tim Bentley kept the spice levels high. Follow the story in the photos below.
Table Mountain and Cape Town’s CBD put on a show for the track walk which was well attended.
These are the new faces of Downhill in SA — and there are many of them. The DH boom is real.
Heiko Basson sizes up the start straight.
The format for the weekend: practice on Saturday and Sunday morning, followed by two race runs with points from both counting towards the 2021 titles. The fastest time of the two runs would decide the winner of this round.
It was good to see the dirt jump champ Tim Bentley back at a Downhill race.
It was not the best weekend for Tim’s other half, Frankie du Toit. The Elite Women’s SA Champ took a horrendous crash in practice (losing a shoe in the process) but she bounced back on Sunday and snatched a 3rd for the day, just 2 seconds off the pace.
Pieter Rossouw keeps it low on the wall ride as he rolls into 3rd place in Vet men with a 2:21:893.
Do you even race run Sui? Yes, if you are Matthew van Rosenveld. 6th place in Elite Men for Matthew this weekend.
From the Freedom Challenge, to big wave surfing, to Downhill racing, Barry Futter sure gets out there and lives. Barry’s second run was a little quicker than his first and he claimed 4th in Vet Men for the weekend.
SA Champ (Nipper Boys) William Nelson threads the needle on his Pyga Pascoe to take the win. William’s arch-rival Sebastian Flynn was less than 0,5 of a second behind.
Also on the gas this weekend was Michard Meets who ran a 2:12.923 on a 135mm trail bike — 4th in Elite Men.
Mountain biking is a family sport and Downhill race days are no different. In between his hard hours of volunteer work to ensure the shuttles run smoothly, Mr Basson takes a load off to watch his son Heiko race. Good times!
13-year old Sammy Hosking putting on the style as he motos into the finish run. It was 50th overall and 8th in his category for Sammy with a 2:32.534.
Squashing the tin mine gap and winning the Super-tuck award is pinner Corbin Mann. Frustrated after his first run, Corbin said he felt faster than what the clock said. He then went two-tenths quicker in the second run to place 8th in Elite Men.
Mom and daughter, Gina (left) and Jessi Nixon displaying fine technique on the hip jump.
Former Masters World Champion Chris Nixon whipped out the trail bike for this race and placed 14th overall and 1st in his category.
Timing legend Grevile Ruddock in the zone.
Philip van Schalkwyk impresses with his shapes and speed. 4th overall and 1st in Youth Men for the Stellenbosch Styler.
Zevenwacht isn’t the fiercest of downhill tracks – but there is plenty of airtime available to please the fans. Well done Philip, you’re respecting that number. #Cairoli #222
Yes it’s another super steezy shot of Tim Bentley going all-moto onto the table but this move wasn’t only for the style. It’s for the speed. Tim drops the back wheel early on the table and gets onto the pedals sooner than most which bumps up his speed for the final run into the line. Speed and style award is all yours Tim.
53rd overall and 2nd in his category Jack Schliemann hucks the v10.
The fans are always welcome at the racing. Good spirits and support coming from the Heckler’s Rock crew. Nice one!
Alessio De Franchi, 32nd overall, 15th in Elite Men and clashing gloves like a boss.
Downhill stole Frankie du Toit from the endurance race scene a few seasons ago and we ain’t giving her back. Very impressive ride to stay in the points chase Champ. Heal up soon.
By her own admittance Jessi Nixon was a little apprehensive on some of the jumps at the start of the weekend. She settled in well and rode smoothly to take the win in the Elite Women category with a 2:35.517.
Pottie has the fitness and finesse to take the win on any track.
Impressive riding from young Sebastian Flynn, second in Nipper Boys today.
Fastest Junior on the day? Michael Brown.
An initially cool day turned out to be fiery as the day wore on. Peter Futter motored down the hill to take the win in the Vet’s class.
It was a no-show for Thomas Rood on Sunday. Cape Town’s most eligible bachelor took a spill on Saturday and wasn’t fresh enough to race on Sunday. Heal up Tommohawk!
Trail bike for the win? Almost. If anyone can put a Trail Bike onto the top step of a podium at Zevenwacht, it is Adi. He ended the weekend 2 seconds back from Pottie, in second place.
It was about 16 years ago that Pottie won his first National at this venue. All weekend he was blitz vinnig and precise on the bike. Fastest in both runs and first overall for the day, it’s always impressive to watch him ride.
Elite Women’s Podium, left to right: Gina Nixon, Jessie Nixon, Frankie du Toit.
Johann Potgieter (1st), Adi van der Merwe (2nd), Tim Bentley (3rd)
Looking for images of this race? E-mail the official race photographer Chris Taylor
ELITE WOMEN 1. Jessi Nixon 2:35.517 2. Gina Nixon 2:35.582 3. Frankie du Toit 2:37.171 ELITE MEN 1. Johann Potgieter 2:05.332 2. Adi van der Merwe 2:07.230 3. Tim Bentley 2:07.306