Greg Minnaar & Mongoose KZN provincial #3 results and race report
It’s always great to race sections of an upcoming World Cup track, but even more so when you do it against a multiple world cup winner and local legend like Greg Minnaar. This past weekend of 26 & 27 March saw the Greg Minnaar Mongoose provincial cup series take place in Pietermaritzburg…Race organiser Morne Odendaal had the following to say:
To every rider (and spectator) that conquered the mud, cold and mist to take part in this event as well as everyone that work so hard to made this a huge success, thank you. From the organiser and track builders side we hope you enjoyed this part of the World Cup track and had some fun and fear dropping down Cloud 9 and through Pebble beach, which claimed its usual amount of injuries during practise, sorry guys get well soon and ready for the CSA Super Series Cup 1#.
In true home style Greg Minnaar took top honours with Tim Bentley in hot pursuit, Travis Browning and Hayden Brown was only split seconds apart with Tiaan Odendaal taking the Junior Men title and rounding off the podium in 5th overall place. A very good race with unbelievable few injuries taking the weather and track conditions into account.
A special word of thanks to Brain Dinkelman and Dave Rigby that helped to shuttle the riders to the top together with Fine Metals and G7 our Transport sponsors, as well as to the Red Bull KZN team for their product and PA system, a lot of riders made good use of those “wings”.
Race report by Conrad Davies:
Putting Things in Perspective and Racing in the Mud
This past weekend saw the running of the third Greg Minnaar/Mongoose KZN Provincial in Cascades, Pietermaritzburg. The organizers decided to just run the top half of the World Cup track, which would be the steeper and more technical, but less pedally half. Mr Minnaar himself made an appearance on Saturday afternoon, while we were practicing. When ever Greg comes to a race (or looks like he might race), there is a ton of hype, so Sundays race saw tons of spectators, even though it was wet and miserable.
I went up on Saturday – even though I had ridden the track quite a bit – just to get a few more runs down the course. As I said the top part of the track is the more tech part and the water falling from the sky every evening, in the days leading up to the event, hadn’t made it any easier. The new start for the World Cup is much higher up the hill, than in 2009. You ride down an open road for a few meters, before ducking right into the forest. Some loamy corners and a few rocks take you to a rock drop (Eye Boggler) and a ski jump into a short road section, before going back in to the forest. The forest is just saplings, about 12 foot tall and is a perfect slalom coarse, leading to a sweet road gap, about 4 or 5 foot high.
You land the road gap into a steep chute, into a big left berm and then you’re at the start of the old WC course. A ski jump – that was once the first table top of the old track – into some drifty, off camber turns, before cloud 9. All this I had pretty dialled in the weeks before, but now – in the wet – it was a little more scary. The drop into cloud 9 was slippery and the chute to exit it was even more so. A sketchy run over the road at the bottom, took you over a rock and then to the big rock. Over the rock, down a pallet bridge and into pebble beach. Pebbles? More like big/slippery rocks.
Once through all that, things start to calm down. A fast section takes you into a new double and then down some sweet single track with a few cool jumps and cool berms. And then things get crazy again: A cork screw section, with fast berms, leads you into another gap jump, a chute, ski jump, a very bumpy gully, another gap and two HUGE table tops. And that’s it. I was so grateful, that the track ended there, because after holding on in the mud the whole way down I was knackered.
Sunday race day, Greg was there, the crowd was there to see and I had made up my mind that I was going to stay on my bike this time. The last time Greg Minnaar was at a regional event, I had taken three times longer to get down to track than him. Granted he is a multiple world champion and it was raining, but I still wasn’t happy with that. This time I set a goal in my mind to finish in less than double his time. Greg had been doing just over 2 minute runs in practice, so a sub 4 was what I was aiming for.
The rain on Saturday night had maid the track pretty wet, but surprisingly not so slippery. As people rode the track, and it dried slightly, the grip just seemed to get better and better. I put a set of Intense Spikes with the middle row of spikes cut, and a THE mud guard on the bike, hooked up a few tear offs on my Von Zipper Porkchop MX goggles and took a practise run on the track. I was stoked for some good racing. Had a bacon and egg burger and headed up for my first race run.
Things went well. The course just seemed to get better and the crowd shouting my name, made for an awesome experience. Except for clipping a tree in the slalom section, the run was clean and a I finished with a time of 3:33.24, well inside my goal time and just .13 of a second ahead of Mark Sydney, to put me 4th in sub-vet.
Back to the top for another go and the mist rolled in. Mark told me that he couldn’t see through his goggles on his first run because they misted up (Oakleys!), so he wasn’t going to wear any in his second go. Maybe not the best idea on a muddy course, but who am I so critisize. I had awesome visibility the whole way down. Well no I didn’t, but I could see the mist very clearly. It almost felt like you where riding in a steam bath. The air was warm, but the mist was so thick that, you couldn’t see more that 2 to 5 meters ahead of you. Trees and road gaps just suddenly arrived in front of you. I came to a complete stop twice, missed the road gap completely and very nearly nearly went over the handle bar off cloud 9. The rest of the run went well, but was 4 seconds slower than my first, but I has happy to have had a relatively clean run.
All in all the weekend went well. Seeing the fast guys like Greg, Tim and Hayden come through the last section was a huge eye opener. Total commitment from them. Good times.
Can’t wait for the nationals on the full course. It’s going to be wild. And then World Cups in SA. Rad!
The overall results were as follows:
|32||Kyle Du Toit||EM||3.22.04|