Durban - With a circumspect four minute lead overnight at Mfula Store, Team TIB’s Andrew Hill and Chris Wolhuter put in a masterful stage two performance as they built another seven minutes onto that advantage to take the overall 2015 BSi Steel dusi2c title.
Overnight leaders Bianca Haw and Andrew Houston held their nerve to clinch the mixed race title at Blue Lagoon on Sunday.
For Hill it would be an unprecedented hat-trick of titles and he is the only rider who can claim wins in all three editions of the race. He was, however, quick to point out that he and Wolhuter had a lot of work to do going into the final stage of the race.
Bridge the gap
“There was quite a bit we still had to do today (on Sunday),” the most decorated dusi2c rider said.
“There were a few changes to the route, although minor, and a few navigation errors on my behalf cost us a couple of seconds here and there as well as my handle bars coming loose made it a bit more difficult.
“We always knew that we could ride back on and if something did happen we knew that we could always pick up the pace and bridge the gap.”
The pair had a set plan in mind of how they were going to remain ahead through the final stage with the expected pressure coming from the impressive RMB BSi Change a Life crews as well as the resurgent Team Safire duo of Trevor Rowe and Warren Price, but Hill knew that they had a good enough advantage to play the more conservative game.
Said Hill: "We weren’t really put under pressure today but we knew that we had to play it safe and get to the finish in one piece while avoiding any mechanicals.”
With a four minute buffer at the end of the first day Chris Wolhuter believed that they would be able to hang onto their advantage and ultimately the pair did more than hang on.
Gave us advantage
“We felt confident in our ability. We were strong yesterday (on Saturday) and Andrew knows the route well so could push harder and put pressure on the other guys and see how they responded.
“We put the others under pressure a few times and it gave us that advantage that you plan for and if something does go wrong then you have that cushion that you can use,” the Western Cape rider mentioned.
The Team TIB pair have now taken part in a number of races together and for Wolhuter being able to work off your partner as well as understand their abilities is an advantage and something that played out in their favour over the two days of racing.
“This is now our third race together so we are getting to know each other well and I think that our strengths complement each other well and work off that,” he responded.
For the RMB Change a Life Academy the 2015 dusi2c was unprecedented in terms of results with the Valley of a Thousand Hills residents recording four teams in top ten with Mzwi Smimango and Bongumusa Zikhali finishing in the silver medal position.
“We are really happy with the results we got this weekend,” Smimango said afterwards. “We had a great race and nothing went wrong for us!
“I want to thank my partner for the race as well as all the people that are involved with the Academy and hopefully we can get stronger!” he smiled.
The Red Bull Seed’co combination of Houston and Haw was always going to be a tough one to beat and it proved to be more difficult than that as they rode to another stage win and the overall win despite issues early in the stage.
“We had a bit of an issue after I cracked the rim which caused a slow puncture but luckily it wasn’t too bad as I did the bombing and he did the plugging and we were back,” explained Haw.
Houston was the man on the front on the first day and remained there through stage two as setting the pace of the group meant that they were able to push for that extra time over the others, especially after the cracked rim.
“I was on the front only when the cameras were around,” Houston mentioned tongue in cheek. “We needed to have that advantage especially after we lost some seconds with the rim problem.
“The others got away from us on the tar road and we worked hard to catch them as we got them within the last two kilometres and stayed ahead.”
The ladies race was won in convincing style by the Michelle Squared team of Michelle Schlebusch and Michelle Powell who dominated the race to win by 35 minutes over The Windsor’s team of Jane Little and Fiona Butler.
STAGE TWO OVERALL
1.Team TIB (Andrew Hill/Chris Wolhuter) 02:13.13 04:39.44
2.RMB Change a Life 3 (Mazwi Smimango/Bongumusa Zikhali) 02:20.02 04:50.12
3.RMBeel Change a Life 2 (Sipho Kupiso/Ndumiso Dontso) 02:18.46 04:50.42
4.Team Safire (Warren Price/Trevor Rowe) 02:15.03 04:53.26
5.RMB BSi Steel Change a Life 1 (Sthembiso Masango/Mboneni Ngcobo) 02:23.51 04:58.18
6.Red Bull Seed’co (Bianca Haw/Andrew Houston) 02:26.54 05:08.29 – 1st Mixed
7.RMB Change a Life 4 (Scelo Mhlongo/Siyanda Masango) 02:27.08 05:10.42
8.Thule (Jeremy Thomson/David Leiman) 02:27.52 05:11.46
9.TIB Insurance Brokers (Eugene Botha/Samantha Sanders) 02:27.50 05:14.03 – 2nd Mixed
10.RMB BSi Change a Life (Martin Dreyer/Jeannie Dreyer) 02:36.03 05:22.07 – 3rd Mixed
1.Red Bull Seed’co (Bianca Haw/Andrew Houston) 02:26.54 05:08.29
2.TIB Insurance Brokers (Eugene Botha/Samantha Sanders) 02:27.50 05:14.03
3.RMB BSi Change a Life (Martin Dreyer/Jeannie Dreyer) 02:36.03 05:22.07
4.Time Freight FRIB (Stu Rawlinson/Janine Rawlinson) 02:42.55 05:29.51
5.Dusi2c1 (Tamika Haw/Owen Gandar) 02:45.25 06:01.31
1.Michelle Squared (Michelle Schlebusch/Michelle Powell) 03:30.50 07:28.36.