Easter weekend saw George play host to the first round of the WP Downhill series for 2012. 41 riders (mostly from Cape Town) made their way up the N2, unfortunately greeted by plenty of rain and wind. Friday's unofficial practice consisted of gale-force winds and a bit of rain, which lead to only a few riders taking on the track. Saturday saw a bit of sunshine during the morning but things turned dark from early afternoon and would stay like this until the end of the race.
Robert Starke at the top rock garden.
Theo Erlangsen during Friday's practice.
A short sunny break from the rain and wind.
George DH is widely considered to be one of the most fun tracks on the Western Province calendar. It has a bit of everything and shuttling up is made relatively easy with decent dirt roads leading to the top. The first part of the track is wide open and fast with a number of rock gardens and doubles to sort the men from the boys. As they enter the forest, riders face a couple of berms and jumps before they hit the long steep rock chute. This is followed by a little step down into the last high speed section with a couple of berms separated by 2 big doubles.
Daniel Saunders entering the forest during Saturday's practice.
And then the rain came.
Jaco Veldsman entering the rock chute.
Daniel Saunders flying through the last bit of the rock chute.
With the usual top 3 occupied with World Cup priorities, the podium finally saw some new faces. Adi van der Merwe was the fastest man down the hill with a time of 3.23.47, followed by Robert Starke and Adriaan Smit in third. Even though it was a wet race, times were very competitive and there were surprisingly few crashes. As usual the fastest lady down the track was Rika Olivier with a time of 4.01.22.
Adi van der Merwe on race day.
Wynand la Grange taking the step down into the final section of the track.
Thanks to Ronald Christie for putting together this event (some lessons were learned) and to everybody else that were involved. It was good fun and hopefully next year will be bigger and better with more sponsors showing up and supporting the sport.
Lastly, a special thanks and a lot of respect goes out to Robert Starke from Contermanskloof MTB trials for making this media coverage of the race possible. Also congrats with 2nd overall!
Overall top 10 results:
1. Adi Van Der Merwe : 3.23.47
2. Robert Starke : 3.31.32
3. Adriaan Smit : 3.33.19
4. Dane Olsen : 3.35.94
5. Devon Katzen : 3.37.21
6. Daniel Saunders : 3.37.30
7. Duran Van Eeden : 3.38.27
8. Theo Erlangsen : 3.39.62
9. Luke Le Roux : 3.43.89
10. Jaco Veldsman : 3.48.48