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South African National Marathon Series - NE

Chandelier, South Africa, April 26, 2009

2008 Results   Results    

Bassingthwaighte, De Villiers grab Chandelier success

Marc Bassingthwaighte (Garmin adidas) made a welcome return to the top of a major race podium when he won Round 2 of the MTN South African National Marathon Mountain Bike Series at Chandelier, Oudtshoorn, on Sunday.

The reigning Namibian cross-country champion outlasted his rivals in unusually wet Karoo conditions on a gruelling 126km ultra-marathon course to clock a winning time of 5:21: 53. It was his first major marathon victory since August 2007, when he won the Koranna Challenge in Free State.

"It felt good to win again. Especially since there were stages in the race where I really wasn't expecting to be in contention," said a relieved Bassingthwaighte. "I've been focusing mostly on cross country racing in the past 18 months where racing for around two hours is the norm. For me, this was a very long race!"

Philip Buys (Garmin adidas) bolted off the start line in search of the King of the Mountains prize at 15km. He achieved his goal but was soon caught and passed by Bassingthwaighte, Johnny Kritzinger (DCM Chrome), defending champion, Kevin Evans (MTN Energade) and Erik Kleynhans (Team GT).

Bassingthwaighte kept the pace high on the descents, which were often slippery and stoney. This saw the demise of Kleynhans after 60km. Evans, Bassingthwaighte and Kritzinger then kept the pace steady and at 80km, Evans put in a big attack.

"It was one of those attacks that you don't even bother trying to counter it was so fierce!" said Bassingthwaighte. "I thought that was it. We wouldn't see Kevin again. I then tried to work out how I could beat Johnny, but after a while I realised he was spent. So after he dropped off I went steady on my own until I saw Kevin up ahead. I realised his battery was empty and that gave me motivation to catch him."

Bassingthwaighte caught the weary Evans and then, with 14km remaining, dropped the South African champion on a climb, riding on solo to a sweet victory in trying conditions. Kritzinger also caught and passed Evans to secure second place with Evans rounding out the podium positions. Francois Theron (Garmin adidas) and David George (MTN Energade) were fourth and fifth respectively.

In the 83km marathon race, Yolande de Villiers (Cycle Lab Supercycling Toyota) was dominant in winning the women's title, leading virtually from start to finish in what was a popular hometown victory.

The 36-year-old, who won the Round 1 of the country's most prestigious mountain bike racing series in Barberton, clocked a time of 3:59:40, to earn herself another helping of maximum points and put her in contention for the overall series title which she last won in 2006.

"We've had 100mm of rain here in the week leading up to the race. That's almost half our average annual rainfall," said De Villiers. "As a result, the conditions were damp and dangerous in places.

"I pushed really hard from the start and by the time I reached the third water point, I could see quite far behind me and noticed no other women were close. So I decided to ease off a bit and be a bit more cautious. I didn't want to risk a crash or a mechanical problem. It all ended up going really well today. I wanted to just be consistent in the series this year and two wins in two races is a bonus."

Hanlie Booyens (Jeep), winner of the 2009 Absa Cape Epic (with partner Sharon Laws) claimed the runner-up place on Sunday, while veteran Ischen Stopforth (Marsilio Projects) filled the final podium spot.

In the 47km half-marathon, Arno du Toit and Caitlin de Wet, both members of the Mr Price Scott team, secured the men and women's titles respectively.


Ultra-marathon, 126km

1 Marc Bassingthwaighte (Garmin adidas)                   5.21.53
2 Johnny Kritzinger (DCM Chrome)                             3.40
3 Kevin Evans (MTN Energade)                                 6.46
4 Francois Theron (Garmin adidas)                           25.46
5 David George (MTN Energade)                               25.53
6 Peter Smith (Jeep)                                        29.21
7 Tiaan Kannemeyer (Neotel)                                 31.07
8 Stephan Strauss (Mecer)                                   41.14
9 Erik Kleynhans (Team GT)                                  44.48
10 Charles Keey                                             46.29

Marathon, 83km


1 Herman van der Westhuizen                               3.57.49
2 Marcel Deacon                                              0.31
3 Gerrie Beukes                                              3.11


1 Yolande De Villiers (Cycle Lab Supercycling Toyota)     3.59.40
2 Hanlie Booyens (Jeep)                                      5.05
3 Ischen Stopforth (Marsilio Projects)                       8.13
4 Janneke Leask (Rocky Mountain)                            21.39
5 Heletjie van Staden (Schwinn)                             34.12

Half-marathon, 47km


1 Arno du Toit (Mr Price Scott)                           1.59.39
2 Ruan du Toit                                               0.04
3 Gert Heyns                                                 3.22


1 Caitlin de Wet (Mr Price Scott)                         2.30.32
2 Fienie Barnard                                             0.55
3 Mariske Strauss (MTN Energade)                             1.15