Marno van Zyl from Louis Trichardt managed to keep up a grueling pace, which enabled him to finish ahead of his closest rival, Douglas Archer, and win the junior men's category.

Mountain bikers having to work for positions

Date: 15 April 2016 By: Isabel Venter


Mountain biking – and cross-country biking in particular – is generally not for the fainthearted.

This year's participants of the annual Cycle Centre Challenge had to battle it out on an extremely muddy and slippery Cross Country track. As in the past, the race was hosted in the Komatiland Forests, on the locally constructed track.

This year’s event was, sadly, characterized by poor attendance, partly because of the rainy weather. The muddy track proved a challenge for visiting participants from other places, such as Tzaneen and Polokwane. From the word go, local cyclists proved their mettle on the track as they were more used to it.

Local cycling talent Kombo Bere had a powerful race in the Junior Men U/23 category, finishing his four laps in a time of 65:23:01; a whole 12 minutes faster than his time last year. He closest rival and also a local, Gehart Meyer, finished just over nine minutes after him in second place in a time of 74:55:01. Francois Labuschagne also from Louis Trichardt finished third in a time of 83:16:01.

In the Junior Men 17-18 category (four laps), local cyclists Marno van Zyl and Douglas Archer battled it out for top honours. Douglas kept up a gruelling pace, mere seconds behind Marno during all four their laps. Marno only managed to shake off Douglas during the fourth lap, finishing almost two minutes ahead of him in a total time of 77:57:01. Douglas finished second in a time of 79:21:03, with Lean Kahts in third in a time of 105:14:21. The only girl in this category was Joleen de Swardt from Louis Trichardt, who finished the race (three laps) in a time of 65:51:03.

In the Youth Men 15–16 category, Richard Lambert from Louis Trichardt lost out on the first place by seconds. He was up against nationally ranked cyclist Dawie Grobbelaar, who recently moved to Louis Trichardt. Dawie overtook Richard during the second lap and finished the race in a total time of 55:58:01, 12 seconds ahead of Richard, who finished in a time of 56:10:01. Benj Baber finished third in a time of 61:03.

The youth women's category saw Lara Dando finishing in first place in a time of 59:29:18. She was followed by Simoné Nel in second in a time of 68:35:03 and Monique Pretorius third in 97:00:01.

Reinhard Jansen van Vuuren was the winner in the category for sprog boys (three laps) in a total time of 28:21:14. He was followed by Jarred Watridge in second place in a time of 29:05:18 and Tyrone Anders third in 30:15:01. The only girl in this category, Lilian Baber, finished in 32:55:01.

In the category for sub-junior boys, Josh Baber finished first in a total time of 25:36:36. JC Logtenberg was second in a time of 35:55 and Shaun de Beer in third in a time of 40:24:10.

Other age category winners, with their total time in brackets, were Richard Jansen van Vuuren (Vet Men 82:39:01) and Christie Thomas (Vet Women 68:06:13).


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Isabel Venter

Isabel joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2009 as a reporter. She holds a BA Degree in Communication Sciences from the University of South Africa. Her beat is mainly crime and court reporting.


More photos... 

Kombo Bere managed to win the annual Cycle Centre Challenge a second time, improving on his previous wining time.

Dawie Grobbelaar, a nationally ranked mountain biker who recently moved to Louis Trichardt, won the youth men's category of the past weekend's annual Cycle Centre XCO challenge.

Richard Lambert from Louis Trichardt, mere seconds ahead of Dawie Grobbelaar during their first lap in the Cycle Centre Challenge. He eventually finished second in the youth men's category.