Last weekend, Jonkershoek hosted a Triple-Header DH event which saw the countries top racers in action.
This iconic venue, with a world-class network of trails and Downhill track, combined a round of the SRAM WP DH Series, a round of the SA Cup Series and the ‘winner-takes-it-all’ National Championship. Through the age groups, the fields were stacked with what is a tight-knit yet very competitive community of gravity racers.
Race Organizer, Helen Erlangsen: “Whilst downhill is the most exciting cycling discipline for spectators and riders, it is also the one sport where riders are guaranteed huge highs and deep lows. Anything can happen in a race run – the riders have many variables that they need to control on-the-fly. There is such a fine line between ‘over-cooking’ a run and slowing down to ‘stay on your bike.’ Incidentally, this discipline provides the perfect platform for teaching children to deal with ‘unlucky’, misfortunate events early on in life.”
In the seeding run, Johann Potgieter overcooked things a little and blew off the dusty track in dramatic fashion. Recovering from injury, Stefan Garlicki put in a solid seeding run and no doubt boosted his confidence by posting the fastest time, a 2:22.224. The 2019 Elite Men’s Champ, Theo Erlangsen was second in seeding with a 2:23.838.
In the final run, which is the winner-takes-all race, a frustrated Theo Erlangsen experienced a mechanical issue that cost him time. He crossed the line and stopped the clock at 2:21.080, which was good enough for 2nd place. It was a bad run for the fastest seed, Stefan Garlicki too, who cross-rutted a turn and was blasted by a gust of wind, simultaneously, which saw him hit the deck. He remounted to place 16th on the day. Local lad, Tim Bentley sailed down the track in a time of 2:23.500 which secured 3rd place. Johann Potgieter put in a brilliant race run, stayed on his bike and kept things smooth for a winning time of 2:19.343. Adi van der Merwe and Niko Velasco rounded out the 5 man podium with 4th and 5th respectively.
THE 2020 SA DH CHAMPIONS
NIPPER BOYS: Christian Bekker
SPROG BOYS: Zak Jones
SUB JUN BOYS: Pieter Venter
YOUTH MEN: Ike Klaassen
JUNIOR MEN: Ethan Parr
VETERAN WOMEN: Rika Olivier
VETERAN MEN: Pieter Rossouw
MASTER MEN: Chris Nixon
ELITE WOMEN: Frankie du Toit
FROM THE ELITE WINNERS
WOMEN | Frankie du Toit
“My seeding run on Sunday was less than ideal with weather conditions being super gusty and me making some silly mistakes like stalling in a corner and blowing my foot off the pedal, but it actually gave me confidence for my race run as I knew I had a lot more to give! I gave my absolute all in my race run and had a near-perfect run which I was very happy about. It ended up being enough to shave 10 seconds off my seeding time and to take the win. I’m super stoked with the win as it’s a big confidence booster and it shows the hard work is paying off. I came into the weekend with no expectations and just the goal to do my best and that’s what I did so I’m happy! I’m also happy to prove myself to my new sponsors of Fox, Liqui Moly and my old sponsors of Trek SA and BMT Bike Shop. It was a well organized and vineyard event, with a lot of entries for a downhill race which is really cool to see!”
MEN | Johann Potgieter
“So my weekend was pretty good as a whole, which sounds obvious I guess because I won, but what I mean by that is I feel I had my bike setup pretty good for the track in time for the race. Overall I was happy with how I was feeling on the track. My seeding run was a bit disastrous as I came out of a left hand corner and washed the front which made me unable to make the next right-hander and I sent it straight off the track. This was less than ideal as it meant I seeded lower down and would have an earlier start than the other guys. In my finals I had a good run…there were some close moments of course but I guess that’s normal when you are pushing hard. I crossed the line 3 seconds faster than the fastest qualifying time and then I had to play the waiting game. My time was good enough in the end and I won the race. I was so happy and couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year.”
| IMAGES: Ewald Sadie, Matthew Stark, Max Sullivan, Paul Botma – as supplied |