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Reid and Vale pedal to the top of the SA MTB podium
- Updated: July 19, 2015
It was a tale of two races at the 2015 Stihl SA MTB Championships presented by Subaru Cape Town/Novus Holdings with James Reid snatching victory in an end sprint whilst Cherie Vale put in a commanding performance to win the women’s cross-country title on Saturday.
In a race that ebbed and flowed Reid did not have the most favourable of starts and found himself languishing in the bottom half of the top 10 which was not the start that he wanted.
‘I had nothing at the beginning of the race to be honest,’ Reid said following his win. ‘I just wanted to stay in touching distance of the guys at the front because I could see that they were having a real scrap up front!’
The 22-year-old Team RECM rider knew that if he kept his pace up and remained calm that he would have an opportunity to get in the mix and once he did he kept on increasing the pressure on his fellow riders. ‘It wasn’t actually a case of me speeding up I think the guys at the front slowed down which helped me get amongst them.
‘On the fifth and sixth laps of the race I started to try and open it up a bit and Alan (Hatherly) and Travis (Walker) were the guys that were with me – although Travis was a bit behind us.
‘I knew that if I managed to get onto the grass first at the end then I would have a really good chance and that is how it happened! I’m a bit jaded but really happy!’ the elated Reid mentioned.
With the win and the 110 UCI points that were on offer Reid’s UCI ranking should increase with the win from his current position of 28th.
It was also a remarkable performance from Hatherly who is an Under 19 rider who finished in a respectable second place just one second behind Reid.
The elite women’s race was dominated by 2014 runner-up Cherie Vale, pictured above, who coasted to the national cross-country title on Saturday and the Western Cape local was delighted by having the national crown wrapped up in her own back yard.
‘It really hasn’t quite settled in yet to be honest. Winning in Stellenbosch was great and having so many people out there supporting definitely added to the win.’
Despite the absence of the defending champion Mariske Strauss it was still a race that Vale was not quite sure about heading into it however with the support of her Novus/OMX Pro Team she managed to get herself in front and stay there.
‘The victory is a little bitter-sweet because Mariske wasn’t riding but I knew that I had to go out hard and really push on the climbs and keep myself as focused as possible with the mud around the course.
‘The area drains really well but there were some areas that were a bit muddy.
‘Once I got started I knew what I had to do and it has been a really good build up for me with the help of my sponsors.
‘I have never won an award like this so it is really special to have won!’ an elated Vale added.
With a block of international racing this year under her belt Vale feels that competing against the best in the world was a great way to prepare for the national championship.
‘Riding overseas has been a great experience for me this year,’ she mentioned. ‘There are a lot more riders in the race and the standard is high.
‘You can’t be off your game and so that experience has made me a better rider for sure.’
Vale is currently ranked 40th on the UCI rankings and following her win she should move up the rankings.
The national cross country title became the fifth national title won by Frankie du Toit in 2015, a member of Team South Africa at the African Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana last year. The young rider dominated the Junior Women’s race as she cruised to a three minute win over Genevieve van Coller and Kirsten Louw in second and third respectively.
Picture of Vale courtesy of Craig Dutton
Summary of results
1 James Reid 1:28.41
2 Alan Hatherly 1:28.41
3 Travis Walker 1:29.05
1 Cherie Vale 2:18.45
2 Candice Neethling 2:25.55
3 Hanli Cilliers 2:38.29
1 Gert Heyns 1:16.51
2 Arno du Toit 1:17.52
3 Dylan Rebello 1:20.30
1 Hayley Smith 1:20.58
2 Sarah Hill 1:31.26
3 Rozalia Kubyana 1:33.20
1 Julian Jessop 1:02.24
2 Johan Hartzenberg 1:03.56
3 Henry Liebenberg 1:04.19
1 Frankie du Toit 57.44
2 Genevieve van Coller 1:00.41
3 Kristen Louw 1:06.03
Sub Veteran Men
1 Dan Fowler 1:27.02
2 Matthys Koekemoer 1:29.57
3 Michael Posthumus 1:30.01
Sub Veteran Women
1 Leorine de Wet 1:29.55
2 Nadine Nunes 1:41.51
3 Katja Steenkamp 1:45.02
1 Diana Carolin 1:31.40
2 Caroline Dann 1:36.48
3 Alexandra Hill 1:40.14
Veteran Men A
1 Neil Bradford 1:08.50
2 Warren Price 1:11.23
3 Jeroen Swart 1:14.54
Veteran Men B
1 lan van Coller 1:14.59
2 Rex Benson 1:21.20
3 Tim Keep 1:22.09
1 Corrie Muller 1:17.09
2 Jimmy Redman 1:21.46
3 Guy Lanfear 1:30.09
1 Helen Gibbings 1:20.06
2 Elizabeth Delport 1:26.34
3 Christelle le Roux 1:37.53
1 Pieter du Toit 1:07.25
2 Johann Trotzky 1:10.11
3 Chris du Plessis 1:10.41
1 Tiffany Keep 59.49
2 Rimari Sutton 1:06.07
3 Danielle Strydom 1:06.32
Sub Junior Girls
1 Megan Bircher 43:58.96
2 Sabine Thies 46:49.08
3 Kelsey Van Schoor 50:13.53
1 Luke Moir 53.42
2 Cwynton Collett 56.06
3 Daniel van der Walt 56.39