- Venue: Mankele Bike Park, Nelspruit
- Date: 30-2 october 2016
- Distance: 160km
- Climbing: 3500m
- Position: 2nd [1 stage win]
- Time: 7h27
In my younger days I use to race XCO races quite often at the Mankele Bike Park, they hosted National and African Championships and it was always such a pleasurable experience, in the mountains, awesome trails, friendly people, swimming-pool and just an all round kwaai experience!
Since I rode my 1st Isuzu 3-Towers race a few years ago the enjoyment of this fun and relaxed event just appealed to me and I made an effort to come back every year. Thanks Mark and everyone involved for making sure this event keeps it’s authentic character and the trails super fun as always!
This race fall part of such a cool time of racing for me in SA, the end of season races where one are still serious, but with a pinch of relaxation in the spirit and everyone is just out there to enjoy the riding. After the York Timbers Enduro, it was a pleasure to visit old teammate, Nico Bell, in Nelspruit, and now after this race and a few days in Pretoria, heading a bit south for the Berg and Bush stage race.
I teamed up with fellow Cape resident, Matt Beers, for the two races on the opposite side of the country. He’s from Knysna, use to be a motocross racer and yes, you guessed it, super chilled! He is a big guy and we matched really well in our strengths as riders.
Stage 1 (66km, 1250m) played in our favour and Matt and I were super happy to get the stage win on our first race together and with that the leaders jerseys.
Stage 2 (66km, 1450m) the pace was hot once again, but this time we had to look as Team NAD pulled a gap on us close to the end of the big climb of the day, we chased, but could not close the gap through the second half of the stage.
Stage 3 (48km, 1050m) we had to do our share to keep the pace up and try to at least grab another stage win in the short stage. But it ended up being a sprint for the 4-cross track before the finish between three teams with Team Telkom getting the edge on us to win the last stage.
Loved my ten days in the Lowveld! And happy to head to the next adventure with some good memories and a second overall in the Isuzu 3-Towers!