With the fifth and final round of the STIHL 2016 SA XCO Cup Series rapidly approaching, the Series Title is wide open as the riders prepare for the season finale in the Free State at Happy Valley Conservancy in Bloemfontein on Saturday 18 June. What is important to note, is that all five rounds this year will be considered in the overall National points system, determining the overall win, as well as carrying a UCI Category 2 rating.
The Elite Men’s Log currently shows Team Spur’s James Reid in the top seat with 725 points, with Alan Hatherly (Kargo Pro MTB team) in second place on 645 points followed by Philip Buys (Scott Factory Racing powered by LCB) with 600 points. Stuart Marais lies fourth (450) and Jan Withaar, fifth (424). Reid’s overall lead is a result of three wins from four races – one victory went to New Zealand’s Samuel Gaze. Hatherly has finished in second place on three occasions, while Buys has consistently finished third in all four races this season.
Cherie Redecker (Novus OMX Pro MTB Team) is the current leader in the Elite Women’s Series Log with 665 points, while second, third and fourth place belong to Kargo Pro MTB Team’s Frances du Toit (575), Novus OMX Pro MTB Team’s Mariske Strauss (520), and Absolute Cycling’s Genevieve van Coller (505) respectively. Redecker has finished in fifth place, second on two occasions and first in one race. Du Toit has finished in fourth place in three of her races and second place in her first race of the season; while Strauss has finished in first, second and third places in three races this season, having missed the Helderberg leg.
The largely unpredictable and fast-changing Junior Men’s Log is extremely close with more than six riders in contention to take the overall win. Riders in the mix include Jarrod van den Heever (581), Pieter du Toit (570), Henry Liebenberg (550), Matthew Keyser (510), Andrew Sparks (490), and Reinhard Zellhuber (470) to name a few.
The Junior Women’s points Log sees a tussle between Kristen Louw (690) and Danielle Strydom (600), with only 90-points separating the two riders. Chriestie-Leigh Hearder holds third place with 490 points, while Nicolene Marais (410) and Saffron Vosloo (395) are in fourth and fifth places respectively.
The younger categories, such as the Sprogs (11-12) Boys will see an epic battle unfold between Alec Coleske (715) and Jooste Coetzee (710), while Sarah van der Walt (445), Chante Olivier (400) and Chloe Bateson (400) all sit tightly together in the Sub Junior (13-14) Girls’ competition. Travis Stedman (665) holds a 65-point lead over Luke Moir (600) in the Sub Junior (13-14) Boys’ race; with the Youth Men race close in the top few positions between Wicus Breytenbach (540), Ryan Conradie (525), Daniel van der Walt (480) and Brendan van Eeden (455).
The Masters’ age groups see much larger winning margins at the top of the Series Log, with riders like Liesl Lourens (540) leading the Sub vet Women’s (30-39) race, Diana Carolin (800) leading the Veteran Women’s (40-49) charge, and Ewan Cochran heads up the Veteran Men (40-49) class with 605 points.
STIHL 2016 SA XCO Cup Series Results Co-ordinator, Grevile Ruddock, says: “Many categories will only be decided at the final race in Bloemfontein this month. All five races in this year’s National Cup Series count towards the final points, which mean that there is no throwaway result.”
The 4.9km length course has a vertical ascent of 160 metres. Included in this course is hand-built single track, two challenging climbs of 660 metres and 350 metres respectively, natural rock gardens, gap jumps, drop offs, and two rather technical downhill sections. This course guarantees to close the series and send riders off with a bang.
The fifth round of the STIHL 2016 SA XCO Cup Series will take place in the Free State on Saturday 18 June 2016. Entries are open and close at midnight on Tuesday 14 June 2016. To enter, click here: https://entries.cyclingsa.com/events/6841-sa-cup-series-xco-5