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Race Report: SA Cup Enduro & KZN Gravity Series 2021 - Round 1

Apr 14, 2021
by KZN GRAVITY  
SA Cup Enduro 1 Greg Minnaar Gravity Series 1

Once again Giba Gorge MTB Park near Durban, South Africa played host to the first round of the 2021 KZN Gravity Series sponsored by Greg Minnaar Cycles as well as the inaugural round of the SA Cup Series. Both Enduro and Downhill events were held over the weekend of the 10th and 11th of April. Course designer, Guy "Ronnie" Ronaldson, did not disappoint with technical and exciting features including the Rhinos Ravine and some surprise linking trails between old favorites like FreeRide and Switchback Valley, as well as some new creative lines on the top section of the DH track.

Saturday - Enduro
Hot, sticky, humid conditions greeted 140 riders on the 10th April for the Enduro Round. Giba Gorge MTB Park is known for its steep liaisons on the southern side of the park and 2021 pushed riders to the limit with three arduous climbs to Stages 1-3, while Stages 4-5 tested the riders technical ability with Rhinos Ravine claiming precious seconds with its tricky and rutted turns. Stages 1 to 3 were a variety of open off-camber grass tracks which gave way to tight rooty natural bush-lined single tracks. Stage 4, Top Gear saw a return after a 5-year absence to an old-school pedal-fest stage that hurt those who had not prepared for the long sprint sections in the middle of the run. Stage 5 was the highlight for the day with a tight squeeze through the abandoned house before the fun of Smile Mile began.

SA Cup Enduro 1 Greg Minnaar Gravity Series 1
Omar Wilson negotiating the new cut into FreeRide.

SA Cup Enduro 1 Greg Minnaar Gravity Series 1
Saturdays Enduro also saw an unprecedented number of U13 Girls entering the event showing incredible growth in the discipline even during the pandemic.

Matthew Lombardi took the top step in the Elite Category as well as overall with a cracking lead of 46 seconds over the runner up Andre Pretorius, with Cape Towns Niko Velasco hot on his heels and Sharjah Jonsson sharing 4th with an impressive Youth - Ross Kew


Overall Mens
1. Matthew Lombardi 13:20
2. Andre Pretorius 14:06
3. Niko Velasco 14:14
4. Sharjah Jonsson and Ross Kew 14:20

Overall Ladies
1. Sabine Thies 16:47
2. Louis Kotze 17:00
3. Sandra O'Shea 18:16

Full results: http://www.elitetiming.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/KZN-Enduro-1.xlsx

Sunday - Downhill
Another hot day greeted the riders on Sunday for Round 1 of the Downhill Provincial Series. The brand new track sections at the top provided a challenging A and B line offering to all riders.

Coming off the new top section, riders were then greeted by the dry off-camber section


The dry and dusty conditions at the top of the track spelt doom for the new catch berms, which were laid to waste after the morning's practice, claiming more than a few victims.

SA Cup Enduro 1 Greg Minnaar Gravity Series 1



SA Cup Enduro 1 Greg Minnaar Gravity Series 1
Travis Holmes (Photo: Keagan Brand & Bunny)

The track was dry and fast with the loose off-camber conditions making for some interesting runs. When the dust had settled it was hometown hero Connor Finnis who stamped his mark on the event with a blistering 1:46.60, sealing the deal on both race runs and riding to victory.

SA Cup Enduro 1 Greg Minnaar Gravity Series 1
Connor Finnis' flawless race runs ensured the top step remained his throughout the competition.

SA Cup Enduro 1 Greg Minnaar Gravity Series 1

Overall Mens
1. Connor Finnis 1:46.60
2. Niko Velasco 1:50.69
3. Cullen McMaster 1:53.97
4. Nate Hall 1:54.71
5. Matthew Lombardi 1:54.78

Overall Womens
1. Sabine Thies 2:21.10
2. Anvia Bredenkamp 3:06.02

Full DH results: http://www.elitetiming.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/KZN-Downhill-1.xlsx

Official Photos Courtesy of HalfPint Media https://halfpint.co.za


1 Comment

  • 2 0
 Giba, my favorite place to ride. So sad to have missed the enduro race.

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