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2015 KZNMTB Downhill #3 - Giba MTB Park

Apr 21, 2015 at 4:10
by Nigel Hicks  
The 2015 KZNMTB Downhill Series came to a thrilling close on the 19th April with the 3rd and final round being held at Giba MTB Park outside Pinetown. The technical albeit short Downhill track at Giba Gorge did not disappoint, with overcast but dry and dusty conditions greeting the riders for morning practice. The top of the track is a long rock garden starting straight out of the gate, with deep holes and jagged edges to catch those who stray from the racing line, the bottom of the track however is underlain by deeply weathered granite where what had been berms in the morning were transformed almost immediately into arrestor-beds of deep granite soil with unseen holes, roots and rocks lying in wait.

2015 KZNMTB 3 - Giba MTB Park
Veteran rider Deon Van den Berg sends one of the rock drops in the top of the course.

With the non-entry of current series leader Tiaan Odendaal due to work commitments, the door was open for one of the other top competitors to claim the top step and try to take the overall series title at the same time. International rider Samuel Bull (SportsNut) was back racing after a nasty early season incident with a car had left him with fractured vertebrae. Bull had his sights set on picking up where he had left off 2 weeks prior at the National event held in Pietermaritzburg where he had taken top honours. The enthusiastic crowd were not disappointed as Bull sneeked home with the fasted time of the day (1:33.42), narrowly beating sibling team duo Chris and Jonathan Philogene (2 Bros Racing) into 2nd and 3rd respectively. The short track provided some close racing with first and second separated by a mere 1/100th of a second. Timothy Bentley (Fox Head) and Ryan Frerichs rounded out the top 5 for the day.

2015 KZNMTB 3 - Giba MTB Park
Jonathan Philogene (2Bros Racing) out of the start gate on his way to 3rd overall and 2nd Junior.

2015 KZNMTB 3 - Giba MTB Park
Chris Philogene (2Bros Racing) railing the lower switchbacks to 2nd overall and 1st Junior.

2015 KZNMTB 3 - Giba MTB Park
Sam Bull (SportsNut) off the last drop in on his way to 1st Overall and 1st Elite

Mens Podium
Mens Podium

In the ladies, the previous events had taken their toll on the field with two of the main contenders, Kathryn Fourie, and Kim Westbrook nursing injuries coming into the final round. Both riders had to try and fend off a charging Sabine Thies, who was fresh off a national win two weeks before and brimming with confidence. However, when the tracks granite marbles were rolled it was Kim Westbrook who came through the dusty track with the fastest time of 2:18.12, beating Kathryn Fourie into second and Thies having to settle for bronze. Joanne Hicks and Kate Stephenson rounded out the top 5 of the ladies field for the day.

2015 KZNMTB 3 - Giba MTB Park
Kim Westbrook about to drop in to the rocks, while Kathryn Fourie negotiates the rocks at the start

2015 KZNMTB 3 - Giba MTB Park
Sabine Thies off the rock roll

2015 KZNMTB 3 - Giba MTB Park
Lauren Hoyer in the lower rock chute

Ladies Podium
Ladies Podium

The rest of the field had an awesome time tackling the challenging track with a number of enduro riders who had partaken in the previous days enduro event opting to give DH a bash. Although there were a couple of spills all seemed to have a fantastic time and it is promising to see the progression between the two disciplines in both the ladies and mens categories as young and old are now prepared to come and give downhill a go.

2015 KZNMTB 3 - Giba MTB Park
Tim Bentley

2015 KZNMTB 3 - Giba MTB Park
Development rider Mthokozisi Christopher Mkhize on his way to 14th in the Elite Category

Shuttles
Shuttles to the top

DH Finish
The finish arena

Prize Giving
Prize Giving at Giba MTB Park

Although the KZNMTB Series presented by NMI-DSM has come to a thrilling close, racing is not done as the riders will converge once more at Cascades Bike Park in Pietermaritzburg for the stand-alone KZN Championship Event sponsored by NMI-DSM on the 6th and 7th June. A big thank you goes out to the Series Sponsors:NMI-DSM, Shreddtech, Elite Athlete Performance, Pyga, and of course Giba MTB Park. Thanks to the photographers Aldine Venter (Ink Black Photographic), Nick Ferreria (NMI-DSM), and Kevin Bender for the images.

2015 KZNMTB 3 - Giba MTB Park


Author Info:
nigelhicks101 avatar

Member since Nov 16, 2009
21 articles

5 Comments
  • 1 0
 Awesome write up Nige, can't wait for KZN Champs Smile Going to be a heap of fun, love riding with this group of people!
  • 2 0
 did it on my 29er trail bike, awesome track!
  • 2 0
 6th June is Enduro and 7th is Downhill
  • 1 0
 Sick article Nige, was an awesome event Smile getting super stoked for KZN Champs.
  • 1 0
 When in june is kzn champs







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