Neil, Waylon win stage | SASCOC - SASCOC

Neil, Waylon win stage

Team RECM’s Neil MacDonald and Waylon Woolcock outsprinted pre-race favourites Max Knox and Adrien Niyonshuti of MTN-DoItNow to win the first official racing stage of the nine-day Fairbairn Capital/Old Mutual joBerg2c on Saturday.

Day two saw the winners finish the 93-kilometre stretch between Frankfort and Reitz in a time of 3hr 10min 01sec, just three seconds ahead of the Knox-Niyonshuti pairing.

Early leaders Brandon Stewart and Darren Lill of Fedgroup Berg and Bush completed the podium in 3:10:13.

Team bizhub’s Ischen Stopforth and Catherine Williamson continued their domination of the women’s race, finishing 16th overall in 3:48:47.

Defending champion Yolandi du Toit and team-mate Aur├®lie Halbwachs of Team Develop crossed the line second in 4:05:44, while Caren Henschel and Heike Jakins of Axis House Velocity took third in 4:50:33.

The first mixed team was Fairbairn Capital’s newlyweds Erik and Ariane (L├╝thi) Kleinhans in 3:39:21.

Second, in 3:50:34, were Cycle Lab KTM’s Johan Labuschagne and Yolande de Villiers, with GT’s Stu Rawlinson and Janine King third in 4:15:17.

Despite a technical problem halfway into the stage, MacDonald and Woolcock made the most of the relatively flat conditions on the day. ÔÇ£My chain slipped off at a time when Brandon and Darren really put the gas on,ÔÇØ said MacDonald.

Instead of chasing, MacDonald said he and his team-mate decided to hold a steady pace alongside Knox and Niyonshuti, conserving their energy for a final push that saw all four riders catch up with the leaders on the last 10 kilometres of single track.

ÔÇ£We had the legs at the finish,ÔÇØ said MacDonald, who rode last year’s 900-kilometre inaugural event between Heidelberg in Gauteng and Scottburgh in KwaZulu-Natal with Nic White. On that occasion, his challenge was scuppered when White crashed and broke his leg on day one.

MacDonald said he and new team-mate Woolcock would ÔÇ£take it as it comesÔÇØ, since mountain biking was such an unpredictable sport. ÔÇ£Nine days is a long way ÔÇô anything can happen.ÔÇØ

Stopforth echoed his sentiments, saying that if they were feeling good they would continue to ÔÇ£go hard every dayÔÇØ in order to try and bank as much time as possible. ÔÇ£You never know when something could go wrong and you lose a lot of time.ÔÇØ

Sunday’s third stage is from Reitz to Sterkfontein Dam over a distance of 125 kilometres.