Cape Town - Philip Buys and
Matthys Beukes (PYGA Euro Steel) continue to dominate the 2017 joBerg2c.
On a short, punchy 82km Day 7 ride from Glencairn Farm in Himeville
to Mackenzie Club near Ixopo, PYGA Euro Steel were able to claim their fourth
stage win of the event in a time of of 3:00:39.
The chasing pair of
Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell (NAD Pro MTB) crossed the line battered and
bruised in 3:01:47.
In the Mixed Category, it was a familiar story with dormakaba team-mates Darren and
Candice Lill finishing first, shortly followed by Lanham-Love Valencia riders
Grant Usher and Amy Beth McDougall. Their times were 3:15:21 and 3:16:04, respectively.
At the start of the
day, riders asked for their eggs Sani side up in the picturesque Glencairn Farm
setting on Sani Pass Road, with many sorry to leave the exquisite race village
setting. But leave they did, and they were glad for it because Day 7 of the
joBerg2c is a mountain biker’s delight.
Among those thankful
for the shorter and more technical stage was Candice Lill, who enjoyed yet
another strong day at the office despite tapping off the pace in preparation
for tomorrow’s Day 8.
“It was a fun day
with a lot of single track which we rode at quite a pace. Everybody thought it
was going to be easy being shorter and flatter, which isn't necessarily the
case. So you still have to prepare yourself to go quite hard!” said Lill.
Valencia’s Grant Usher enjoyed yet another spectacular day on the bike, saying
he and partner Amy Beth McDougall pushed hard but also had fun.
“We had so much fun
on the single track. Amy rode well and we fought really hard, but Candice and
Darren have been doing a good job at putting pressure on us, especially at some
of the climbs, just cracking us slowly,” said Usher.
McDougall said she is
feeling the strain in her legs, but is excited for the final official day of
“Today we just tried
to keep up with Darren and Candice. They’re really strong, especially Candice,
she is just going so well. It’s really impressive to see how they’re riding,
but every day we just gotta keep fighting.”
In the men’s race,
NAD Pro MTB rider Gawie Combrinck crashed shortly after the 63km mark. He
finished with injuries to his upper-right thigh and forearm.
“Just before the
second water point on the big open road, I was behind Phil and my front wheel
just got caught in a rut and I came off my bike. It was nice of the PYGA guys
because they waited for me to get back on the bike,” said Combrinck.
As for tomorrow being the final day
to cut into PYGA Euro Steel’s massive lead, Combrinck said the task won’t be
easy. He said, “Ag tomorrow we will just see how
it goes and wing it.”
PYGA Euro Steel’s
Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes are clearly relaxed going into the final official
racing day with a 13-minute lead.
“I thought Gawie was
hurt quite badly but he looks like he is all fine now. We waited for them and
checked to see if they were okay but they said we should keep on going. It was
a good day with some nice racing for a bit. Between the four of us we threw
some punches in the racing today, which was fun. I think it was at about the
second last climb that I got a small gap and just rode on nicely to the end,”
Philip Buys, renowned
for his strong technical skills on the bike, said, “We made the most of the
technical sections. There was lot of sweeping smooth corners among the single
track. It was great fun, like riding on a roller coaster. We just stuck with
NAD Pro MTB, and when they went a little harder we just stuck with them and
they couldn’t really shake us. It’s nice to have that buffer going into the
final racing day tomorrow.”
With Saturday’s Day 9 a neutral
cruise to the coast, Day 8 is the last day to jockey for position at the joBerg2c.
Riders will tackle a 98km route that includes a joy-riding descent into the
Umkomaas Valley - but then they’ll also have to climb out of it before reaching
the penultimate race village at Jolivet in Highflats. A long, tough day