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South African National Championships - CN
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, March 16, 2008
Race 1 - March 16: Cross Country - Elite women
Muddy Mundy defends title
Team Jeep's Amy-Jane Mundy did a rain dance last week and then a victory dance at the weekend when she took advantage of muddy conditions to successfully defend her Elite women's title at the Mazda MTN South African cross-country mountain bike championships in Pietermaritzburg. Going into the championships as a dark horse, with only an outside chance of toppling African champion Yolande Speedy (IMC Racing), the 2007 national champion was motivated to put in a great performance.
But winning by more than four minutes was an unexpected bonus.
"I love racing in muddy conditions and so for me, the rain was actually a good thing," explained the 26 year-old. "The course was only about 80 percent rideable on the first lap and I managed to get the early lead on the first climb and just built on it from there."
Mundy used her superior mud-riding skills to increase her lead on the field, while Speedy had to contend with a snapped chain with two kilometres of the first lap remaining.
"It was mostly all downhill from where my chain snapped to the technical zone at the start/finish area so I thought I'd just run with my bike down to where I could wash the chain and repair it," explained Speedy. "But the broken chain fell out of my pocket at some point so I had to find a new chain which took up even more valuable time."
Going into lap two, Speedy had lost a few positions and was 13 minutes down on Mundy, an eternity in a two-hour event. Speedy chased hard on the remaining three laps, moving up to second place and gradually closing the gap to Mundy, who by contrast, was having a perfect race. But ultimately it was Mundy's day and she gave a broad, muddy-faced grin to the crowd as she crossed the finish line.
Mundy clocked a winning time of 2:18.12 with Speedy a distant second in 02:22.45. Sara Muhl (Jeep) rounded out the women's podium in third place.
"I did feel pressure going into the race and am so happy to have been able to defend my title," smiled an elated Mundy, who conceded that Speedy's technical problems did take the pressure off somewhat, before adding: "But I did put all my focus on this race and it's very satisfying that it paid off."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by SA MTB
Elite (4 x 6.3km laps) 1 Amy-Jane Mundy (Jeep) 2.18.12 2 Yolande Speedy (IMC Racing) 4.33 3 Sara Muhl (Jeep) 21.28 Under-23 (4 x 6.3km laps) 1 Heletje van Staden 2.36.40 2 Janneke Lesak 8.56 One lap down 3 Laetitia Botha Junior (3 x 6.3km laps) 1 Mariske Strauss 2.07.43 2 Caitlin de Wet 5.45 3 Genee Steyn 20.44 Youth (3 x 6.3km laps) 1 Candice Neethling 1.59.04 2 Danielle Dalton 38.05 3 Casey Dinkel 48.19 Sub-junior (2 x 6.3km laps) 1 Hayley Smith 1.40.28 2 Tayla-Anne Odendaal 37.06 3 Siobhan Walker 1.01.02 Sub-veteran (3 x 6.3km laps) 1 Tania Raats 2.01.01 2 Shawna Thunder 1.00 3 Natalie Unstead 8.49 Veteran (3 x 6.3km laps) 1 Petrushka Constancon 2.19.15 2 Catherine Gibbings 13.28 3 Debbie Hughes 13.54