Three days of exceptional mountain biking concluded just outside of Hermanus on Sunday, 06 November 2016 with
elated mountain bikers completing the final 69km stage (featuring a 1200 climb) of the 2016 FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Adventure.
Team Freewheel Cycology’s Gavin Klerck and Lionel Murray claimed their second stage victory, completing Stage Three in a lightning fast time of 03 hours 06 minutes 33 seconds. “I didn’t think it was possible, but the trails have gotten even better,” says a very happy Klerck. “We had a good stage. We started with everyone and stayed in the mix. At the first climb we pulled away and opened a lead, but then my bike punctured. We had to fight really hard to catch the guys again. On the fast downhill Tyson here (referring to Murray) put the hammer down. The trails are really phenomenal. Finishing first at W2W is massive for me.”
“This is a world-class event,” says Murray. “The organisation is superb, the food, accommodation and trails are fantastic. The riders are treated like professionals. It just cannot get any better.”
Team Freewheel Cycology’s combined finishing time of 09 hours 40 minutes 31 seconds for all three stages secured them the overall champion’s title in the men’s race. Team SALiRE’s Robert Cragg and Charles Mcfall claimed the second spot on the podium, while Team GRW-LCC’s Dwain Butler and Rudi Pollard finished third.
Theresa Ralph and Hamish Knowles of Team Galileo Risk snatched a hat-trick stage victory with a deserving finishing time of 03 hours 16 minutes 59 seconds, taking their combined winning time for all three stages to 10 hours 16 minutes 08 seconds. According to Ralph, they had a marvellous day out on route. “Hamish and I just flowed together. We went out hard, kept it steady and fuelled well. It might be last night’s wine that carried us through today,” laughs Ralph.
“Riding with Theresa is a massive learning curve,” says Knowles. “I’m never part of the lead group. Today we were out in front up until the 30km mark. I’m really chuffed with that. Riding with Theresa has me in awe. I’ve definitely improved since 2015. Claiming the mixed team title motivates me to achieve more.” Team Recycles Racing’s Robert Kitching and Collette Bastard claimed the second spot on the podium after three days of racing, while Team Totally Stoked’s Tanja and Jon Oosthuyse finished third.
Team SALiRE Women’s Lolita Van Aardt and Simone Rhoda Van Aardt also celebrated their hat-trick stage victory on the day after completing the 69km stage in a time of 03 hours 41 minutes 20 seconds. Team SALiRE Women’s combined winning time for all three stages was 11 hours 22 minutes 30 seconds. The second spot on the podium went to Team Pharmachoice Ladies’ Michelle Van Aswegen and Emma Pienaar, while Sarah Davies and Beverley Wingfield finished third.
“Congratulations to all the riders and winners for completing this really tough event. You have set the tone for the rest of the FNB Wines2Whales MTB event series. It was encouraging to see so many cyclists coming out to enjoy the Adventure. We could not have wished for a better start to the 2016 edition of this event,” said Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business.
The final destination stage, Stage Three of the FNB W2W MTB Adventure started at the picturesque Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw) and finished at the Onrus Caravan Park. Iconic sections on route included: passing the Houw Hoek Inn, the oldest hotel in South Africa, meandering through the quaint town of Botriver past the Botriver School, experiencing the magnificent Wildekrans and Hermanus Trails, Gaf-se-Bos, the Fruitways Beach Crossing, the PERI river crossing and then finally crossing the finish line by the sea.
Photo: Tobias Ginsberg
The prize purse for the 2016 FNB W2W MTB Race has increased to an impressive R407 500.00. To add to the excitement, the overall men’s and women’s prize has been increased from R65 000.00 to R100 000.00, while prize money has also been allocated to age group riders.