Jonkershoek Provincial DH - South Africa

Feb 9, 2011 at 0:03
Feb 9, 2011
by Eric Palmer  
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The DH season in the sunny hemisphere is in full swing & this weekend was the 2nd provincial race in Jonkershoek. 2 days of DH, a few hospital trips & a healthy amount of awesomeness! Needless to say it was a great weekend!

The Jonkershoek track is on my doorstep, so I went on Saturday to see what the track was looking like & to snap a few shots & get a bit of a plan for race day. I was surprised at the number of guys there, but amped because more riders = more photo opportunities. I took the shuttle up & ran straight down to a nice dusty corner I'd shot before, but wanted to try some new angles & get out of my comfort zone.

Andrew Neethling is back in SA, and I was happy to get some shots of him on his new Giant!
Andrew Neethling is back in SA, and I was happy to get some shots of him on his new Giant!

I knew another soft corner nearby that would have some good roost:

After some dodgy running down steep slopes with 20kg of gear on my back & a tripod & flash in each hand I reached the 2nd road gap. I did a bit of a double take, something wasn't looking right... the forest was "missing". By then it was nearly the end of the shuttle runs & I didn't want to miss a possible lift back to the gate where my car was & being nearly 40°C I wasn't too keen to spend more time in the sun than I needed to. I made a quick mission to the end of the track to find Luke Davis' dad in his bakkie (SA pick up). My lift back was sorted & only a handful of riders left, I set up at the last drop & got a few before I resembled overcooked bacon.

Race Day...

Up early & down to the gate to get the shuttle up... lots of riders, but no shuttle. Everyone was itching to get to the top & after a few minutes our lifts were there.

Snapped a few on the way up...

I skipped the road gap again & went to a little rock drop just after it. I had also shot there before, but had an idea/lighting setup that I wanted to try & had fun there while the guys warmed up with a few last practice runs.

At the next spot I'd seen a nice frame on the way down the day before, nothing fancy on the riding side, but thought I'd give it a go & after a bit of running back & forth to fine tune my lighting I got a few that I was happy with.

I moved down to a stony corner after a steep shoot & played a bit with my fisheye. I didn't want to get too carried away with it & changed to my 24-70mm after a few shots & the harsh dappled light was actually working in my favor for once & got some great dust trails behind the guys.

Midway through the group Marius lost control just after the road gap & had to be taken to hospital. There was quite a gap in the riding waiting to get him sorted out, so after the elites it was straight to the 2nd runs. I made my way to the end again & got some shots of the last drop again, but this time with all the sponsors' banners around.

In the end the results were:

1st Johann "Pottie" Potgieter
2nd Andrew Neethling
3rd Jonty Neethling

Thanks to Chris Nixon for making WC Provincials happen, all the sponsors for their support & the medics, shuttle drivers & marshals. A great team putting on great races & keeping the DH scene alive & kicking, your hard work is much appreciated & the scene looks to be on the up with lots of new juniors at each race.

UCI is coming to town next weekend & I'll be there to catch the DH & XC, so expect more from sunny South Africa soon!

Full Results:

Must Read This Week


  • + 8
 solid write up & great pics. Whats the go with your new watermark? I found it to be quite distracting in some of your shots.
  • + 6
 thanks man! Ppl have been using my shots & cropping my name out, so this is my solution.
  • + 4
 sick man wish i was there. when is pottie getting sponsored?? love the watermark politics, i honestly dont think it even distracts from the pics!
  • + 1
 Thanks Jors!
Pottie is sponsored by Mongoose, VZ, Red Bull & a few others... donno why he doesn't race internationally though.
Wink I think some ppl just like looking for things to moan about.
  • + 2
 I had the pleasure of meeting Pottie this summer when we took a slight detour with him from val di sole to schladming 600km Smile
he needs some more funding from his sponsors you can't be SA national champ and not be able to at least compete in most of the world cups rather than just a few, plus he is good fun to be around never a dull moment good article btw
  • + 2
 good one for pottie !! one of the best racer i ve met , fast , calm and talented , already back in 2003-04 he was leading the provincial and nationals. can t beleive he doesn t have a major back up for WC series ....he really deserves it. on the other hand racing in S.A. was fun and some of the track are just epic to ride, my favourite part is all around cape town . Hello to all my Saffa friends !!
  • + 1
 Love the write up and the shots!
You make me want to pack my DH bike for my holiday to SA (1 week - counting the days!). Even though I'm from there, I never actually rode Mountain Bikes there. That track at Jonkershoek looks the tits!
  • + 1
 Looks like South Africans are all in when it comes to neck protection. Good for you guys. Are they compulsory for racers in this series?
  • + 1
 nope, Leatt has just exploded here. One of the riders works for them & a few guys have had nasty crashes (one of the worst was Jaco, the guy on the orange & white Gambler) & broken vertebrae, so everyone is being careful. I'm glad, coz DH crashes end pretty badly more often than not.
  • + 1
 I hear ya.....I will have mine for this season for sure.
  • + 3
 Awesome Eric, thanks 2 u we getting put up on da map!!!
  • + 1
 Amazing pictures but i agree with Tom-moT about the drop-shadowed watermark. They pop too much and I am no pro but i suggest you make it more subtle next time.
  • + 5
 Thanks, if it doesn't pop you can't read my name :/
Explained why I put it where I do on the POD.
"ppl crop it out & don't credit me... now if you see rider you see my name. Sux, but I credit every rider, I make a point of finding their name & I don't always get the same in return. Hope that puts things in perspective."
  • + 3
 Great write up and pics!
  • + 1
 Any one of those pics could be POD Smile
  • + 2
 On of them IS pod lol
  • + 2
 Sick Photos! Congrats Neethling !
  • + 1
 Its good to see everyone protecting their necks. Great shots Eric!
  • + 1
 Does Greg Minnaar do any of these races?
  • + 2
 nope, he's from further up north in a different province.
  • + 1
 Dope Smile on all accounts Smile
  • + 1
 Sick photos!

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