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Race Report: Greg Minnaar Cycles Gravity Series #2

Apr 16, 2019 at 13:02
by Nigel Hicks  

Once again Giba Gorge MTB Park near Durban, South Africa played host to the second round of the 2019 KZN Gravity Series sponsored by Greg Minnaar Cycles. Both Enduro and Downhill events were held over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of April. After intermittent rain over the last few weeks, the trails were prime for a weekend of Gravity racing. Course designer, Guy "Ronnie" Ronaldson, did not disappoint with new and exciting features including the new Rhinos Ravine and some surprise linking trails between old favorites.

The friendly security at the entrance to Rhinos Ravine


Hot, sticky, humid conditions greeted 123 riders on the 13th March for the Enduro Round. Giba Gorge MTB Park is known for its steep liaisons on the southern side of the park, but for 2019, a chilled single track climb took the riders up to Stages 1 and 2 with a long liaison up the northern side to the final 3 stages. A short overall distance of 25km did not lessen the technicality of the stages however as a variety of trails awaited. Stages 1 and 2 were a variety of open off-camber grass tracks which gave way to tight rooty natural bush-lined single tracks. Stage 3, ShayaMoya saw a return after 5 years 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 4 and 5 were highlights for the day with tight, steep off cambers lying in wait in two all-new treats.

The tight nature of the bush tracks saw many a rider fall foul to over commitment into the loose blind corners that littered the stages.

The short stages for the days racing led to extremely close times at the sharp end of the field.

These close times led to a tie for 2nd place in the Elite Men, with teammates Luke Dinkel and Keira Duncan (Pyga) registering identical overall times of 16 min 29 sec over the 5 stages. After a short stint down-under and a current 19th placing after the first two EWS rounds, Sharjah Jonsson was back and on fine form, taking the overall win with a time of 16 min 17 sec.

The Overall Men's Enduro podium

Stand out performance for the day went to the Flying Dutchman Andre Pretorius (TrailTech Cycles) who took fourth overall for the day, and a commanding win in the Sub-Veterans (30-39) category.

A field of 15 ladies came out to enjoy the Enduro trails. A strong ride by Steffanie Grossmann saw her take the overall win by 20 seconds over Sabine Thies, with Louise Kotze rounding out the top 3 overall.

A great turn out for the Enduro event on Saturday

Team Velosolutions Isimbali and Go-Durban Cycling / Peschel Sports rolling out to the stages.

Louise Kotze took 3rd on the day in the ladies

Liam Read squashing into 5th overall in the Enduro

Ronnie the trail builder took home top honours in the Grand Masters category for the Enduro on Saturday

Overall Men: Class;Time
1 SHARJAH JONSSON: Senior/Elite; 16:17
2 KEIRA DUNCAN: Senior/Elite; 16:29
2 LUKE DINKEL: Senior/Elite; 16:29

Overall Ladies: Class;Time
1 STEFFANIE GROSSMANN: Senior/Elite; 18:54
2 SABINE THIES: Junior; 19:14
3 LOUISE KOTZE: Sub Veteran; 19:41

Full results are available on Elite Timing's website.


Another blisteringly hot day greeted the riders on Sunday for Round 2 of the Downhill Provincial Series. The track itself has not changed too much since 2018 except for dry conditions compared to the mud-bath of last year. The dry and dusty conditions at the top of the track spelled doom for the new catch berms, which were laid to waste after the morning's practice. Other than that, it is business as usual, the track was dry and fast with the loose conditions making for some interesting runs. With a field of 60 riders lining up to start, an incredible day out was had by all from the Grand Masters to the Nippers categories.

The event was not without its incidents, however, only in Africa would a rider have to bunnyhop a 3m long, highly venomous, Black Mamba snake which was crossing the track 10m away from the start gate. The incident luckily did not have any consequences with the snake striking the front wheel of Nigel Hicks' Trek Session, thank goodness for 29er wagon wheels.

Tim Bentley negotiating the loose off cambers on his way to first overall

The start view was pretty good, with fresh cut grass turns dropping you into the fast mid-track

The event was a real experience, with wildlife aplenty, both on and off the track.

The rather mellow bank drop at the start of the track was made rather deadly for one of the riders who had to bunnyhop over a Black Mamba snake crossing the track.

Sakhile Langa drops into the steep top of the track

The fast shuttles gave the riders lots of time to practice

Superbock Beer was again on hand to keep the riders properly hydrated

In the Elite Men's category, Timmy Bentley took a commanding win 2 seconds up on Cullen McMaster (Giant SA) who ended up in second with older brother Struan McMaster (Giant SA) rounding out the top 3.

Steffanie Grossmann did the double taking the win in the Downhill as well as the Enduro.

In the ladies categories KZN’s Development program in association with Go Academy, Peschel Sports and Velosolutions Isimbali with still proving extremely fruitful with Ongeza and Aphiwe walking away with medals once again.

Overall Mens: Class;Time
1. TIMOTHY BENTLEY: Senior/Elite; 1:46.33
2. CULLEN MCMASTER: Senior/Elite; 1:48.35
3. STRUAN MCMASTER: Senior/Elite; 1:50.21

Overall Ladies: Class;Time
1. STEFFANIE GROSSMANN: Senior/Elite; 2:13.60
2. SABINE THIES: Junior; 2:15.47
3. NIKKI ALVIN: Veteran; 2:44.74

Full results are available on Elite Timing's website

The event organisers would like to thank all our sponsors

Author Info:
nigelhicks101 avatar

Member since Nov 16, 2009
21 articles

  • 2 0
 Nice one Nige!
  • 1 0
 Well done MCMASTER Bros !!

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