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Sifiso stars in PMB
- Updated: April 29, 2012
South Africa’s BMX superstar and 2012 Olympic hopeful, Sifiso Nhlapo powered his way to victory in the first of two legs of the SA National BMX Championships at Alexandra Park BMX track on Saturday’s day three of the CSA KZN All Africa Challenge.
Action from the third day of the SA National Track Championships also continued just next door whilst KZN’s mountain bikers enjoyed tackling the newly introduced endure and eliminator race formats a little way up the road at Cascades MTB park.
Nhlapo commanded his way to victory in the qualifying runs earlier in the day but the Olympic hopeful left his best until last as he held off a determined Kyle Dodd in the final event of the day to cross the line first and claim the early advantage in the two race championships.
ÔÇ£It’s been a really good weekend for me so far. Thank goodness the sun stayed away a bit today after the heat during practice, the track is awesome and I’m just having a lot of fun racing in South Africa again,ÔÇØ said the MTN Cycling.
ÔÇ£Racing here obviously isn’t quite on the same level as overseas but it’s always tough racing when coming back home and everyone’s really improved so you always know it’s going to be a race to the line and today was no different.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£I’m also trying to gear up towards the Olympics at the moment so it’s really great to get some hard race laps in at this stage so for me this is really good practice and tomorrow is another day and I’ll just look to take things as they come,ÔÇØ he added.
Nhlapo’s bid to make the Olympics has been hard hit by injury and as things stand he may well have to make the podium at this year’s BMX world championships in Birmingham if he is to make Team South Africa for the London Games.
Nhlapo was pushed all the way to the line by Johannesburg based youngster Kyle Dodd who has taken the local BMX world by storm in recent months.
ÔÇ£I’ve been staying with my coach Jonathan Chislett here in KZN since December and we’ve been working really hard ahead of the World Champs in Birmingham later this year,ÔÇØ said Dodd.
ÔÇ£It’s always tough racing a top Olympic contender which Sifiso obviously is but at the same time it’s really great being able to go up against a guy of his ability and I had a really good time out there.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£I tried to give him a bit of a hard time towards the end there but he was just too strong for me but the fact that I was able to stay with him made me feel really good about where I am at the moment and tomorrow will be another tough day but hopefully I can put in another consistent race,ÔÇØ he added.
Nhlapo and Dodd were followed home by Christopher Austin in third, Godfrey Buziba in fourth and Miguel Carvalho claimed fifth.
Action was halted for close on three quarters of an hour earlier in the day after Carlos Grantham suffered a heavy crash and had to be rushed to hospital for treatment however the doctors were confident all was fine and were going to monitor him closely overnight.
Grantham certainly wasn’t the only cyclist in PMB to suffer a bit of a fall throughout the day’s action as Kate Field also hit the ground hard during Saturday morning’s CSA KZN All Africa MTB Challenge Enduro race however after receiving some light medical assistance she got back on her bike and finished the race.
The race was claimed by young Alan Hatherly (BMC SA) who lead Hilton Frost (Marshalls World of Sport) and Travis Browning home before Forst went on claim the runners-up position again in the afternoon’s cross country eliminator event which was won by Channing Smith.
On the track it was a day of qualifiers for the elite men with Jeanne Nell and Jean Smith fending off Matthew de Freitas and Brent Pheiffer respectively in the Sprint semi-finals whilst the evening’s action included the 15km Scratch final, 4000m Individual Pursuit final and the Team Sprint final.
Sunday sees the second leg of the SA National BMX Championships take place at Alexandra Park. The elite men’s 1km Time Trial final, Team Pursuit final, Sprint final and 40km Points final along with the elite women’s 500m Time Trial final keep things going on the track whilst Cascades MTB park will once again be the venue of the CSA KZN All Africa MTB Challenge 45km Classic along with the 30km and 15km races as well.
4000m Individual Pursuit Qualifiers
1.James Perry 4.48.84
2.Steven van Heerden 4.54.24
3.Theuns van der Bank 4.54.31
4.Jean Spies 5.00.12
5.James Louter 5.06.45
6.Pieter Seyffert 5.07.77
7.Heinrich Stroebel 5.15.14
8.Martin Scheppel 5.17.30
3000m Individual Pursuit Qualifiers
SA National BMX Championships ÔÇô Leg 1
CSA MTB All Africa MTB Challenge
1.Alan Hatherly 22.30
2.Hilton Frost 23.19
3.Travis Browning 23.33
4.Channing Smith 23.57
5.Francois Ferreira 24.09
1.Natalie Bergstrom 30.32
2.Allegra Wykerd 30.41
3.Tamryn Taylor 30.55