16 May, 2016

2016 KAP Sani2c Draws to a Close


The 2016 KAP Sani2c's race event got off to a blistering start on Thursday, 12 May 2016. One of the best mountain biking fields ever seen at the Sani2c assembled on the start line of the 2016 event. The field was however blown away by defending champions Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock who took top honours whilst it was the expectant ladies team of Robyn de Groot and Jennie Stenerhag who took the spoils in the women's race.

The USN-Purefit pair of Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock were just as dominant as they were in 2015, putting significant daylight between themselves and the second placed duo of Johann Rabie and HB Kruger of Team Telkom.

"In a short, fast race like sani2c, you basically have to pound it from the beginning. You need to try and put the rest of the teams under pressure and that is what we set out to do today, and we are happy with our two-minute lead over second and third," Darren said after their stage one victory.

The Queen stage on the second day of the event is often seen as one which shakes the race up and Darren is under no illusions about how tough it is still going to be with their 2015 second stage potentially playing on their minds.

“Our advantage does not mean that the race is wrapped up by any means. Anything can happen on the second stage of the race, but it does take the pressure of having to chase off us. The pressure is actually now on the guys behind us because they have to try and win back the time that we have put on them.”

It was a difficult day out for the NAD Pro MTB Team duo of Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell, who had to fight hard to keep within touching distance of the two teams ahead of them as they powered home in third place.

"I could still feel that we hadn’t quite recovered from joBerg2c, we just didn't have the legs today after the guys really made it hard from the gun on the first single track. We battled to stay with them yet we managed to close the gap towards the end. We couldn't get passed the other guys and the first stage is usually the worst for us so hopefully tomorrow the legs will feel better and we can make up some time,” a disappointed Gawie Combrinck said.

The ladies race was a full-throttle battle from start to finish as the Dorma Time Freight pair of Candice Neethling and Vera Adrian put the more fancied Team Ascendis Health brace of De Groot and Stenerhag under unexpected pressure, forcing the latter pair to dig deep towards the end of the stage.

"The race got a bit tighter than we would have liked!" current South African Marathon Champion, Robyn De Groot admitted. "We made a slight tactical error when we stopped at water point two and Candice and Vera rode through, leaving us with a big chase and we only caught them just in time to take the stage win!"

Swedish star Jennie Stenerhag has been on the road to recovery recently following a heart operation earlier in the year and the first stage of the sani2c was one of her first real hit outs since her surgery.

"I am feeling fine," mentioned Jennie. "Although I know that I am not in the best shape of my life, I am feeling alright and looking forward to tomorrow!"

In what was an eleventh hour entry, the Sasol Racing duo of Catherine Williamson and Johan Labuschagne were the strongest mixed pair on the day. As Johan goes in pursuit of another sani2c mixed title, the pair opened up a two minute lead over the Team Garmin pair of Yolandi du Toit and Ben-Melt Swanepoel, a handy lead going into Friday's second stage.

Meanwhile, the Adventure event’s 99km second stage from MacKenzie Club to Jolivet Farm saw Nivea's Wynand van der Berg and Philip Beukes extend their overall lead after claiming their second consecutive stage victory despite two serious mishaps along the way.

The first, a serious fall during the steep descent into the legendary uMkomaas Valley that many onlookers believed would spell the end of the pair’s race. The duo managed bounce back though, only to then to have to deal with a slipping seat post issue for the remainder of the testing Queen stage.

Van der Berg and Beukes raced home ahead of Clinton Halsey and Liam Graham of Talon Tough Tools while Brandon Harcus and Brett Parker finished third on the day.

Clinton Halsey and Liam Graham’s effort was enough to see them join the Nivea pair in the General Classification's top three however AHS Racing's pair of Ashley and Alistair Haigh Smith's second stage fourth place effort sees them remain in second place overall.

Thursday's action also saw the curtain come down on the first of the 2016 KAP sani2c events – the Trail, which got underway on Tuesday - with broad smiles on the faces of all those who successfully navigated their way down to Scottburgh Main Beach.

Kyle Deeley

Kyle Deeley

Editorial Assistant |