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Overall winner of MTN National MTB Series likely to be crowned

Come October 12, Nico Bell (Westvaal Bell Cycles) will in all likelihood be crowned the new overall winner of the MTN National MTB Series sponsored by Nissan.

After seven events the points difference between Max Knox (Specialized) and Nico Bell was a mere 47 points. Bell is the current leader with 19 054 points, followed by Knox on 19 007 points and Lourens Luus (RE:CM) on 18 314.
The season finale at the MTN Ride Crater Cruise ( October 12) was expected to be a battle royal. Unfortunately Knox, the defending champion, will not be able to compete in the Ride Crater Cruise because of prior commitments. “It is a pity.

Of course I would have loved to defend my title, but it is not to be. I accept that it is simply a case of you win some, you lose some. But I am happy with my performance in the 2013 MTN National MTB Series. I won three out of the five races in which I competed, finished third in one and sixth in another race.
“Last year I won three races in the MTN National MTB Series and finished second twice. Pretty happy with my consistency.”
Bell made no attempt to hide his disappointment that he will not be able to have a final showdown with Knox. “I was looking forward to it. I think it would have been an interesting duel. “I guess the only challenge that remains for me now is to win the MTN Ride Crater Cruise, just to confirm to myself that I am really the best rider in the MTN National MTB Series.
“So far I have only won the MTN Rooiberg.” According to Bell the MTN Ride Crater Cruise is one of his favourite races. “Unfortunately I have not done as well in it as I would have liked to. My performances in Parys varied between good and really bad.
“Last year was a bad year because I had bilharzia but, hopefully, I will have a good race this time round. “What will definitely counts in my favour will be to have Gawie Combrinck as a teammate. We have gelled well as a team during our past two races. We will sit down to work out a race strategy for the MTN Ride Crater Cruise.”
Luus is the only other rider who still has an outside chance of pulling an overall victory out of the proverbial jaws of defeat. If Bell should have mechanical problems on race day or, for whatever reason, should not be able to finish, and Luus should win the MTN Ride Crater Cruise, he might end up being the overall winner as well.

“I am not at all thinking along those lines. My only goal is to get a good result. Whatever else happens will be a bonus,” Luus said.
The 21-year-old Luus has definitely been one of this season’s major revelations. He was 2nd at MTN Tulbagh as well as at MTN Wellington, 4th at MTN Barberton, 5th at MTN Hillton and 6th at MTN Sabie.
When asked what he would have answered if anybody should have asked
him at the beginning of the season whether he thought he would be one of South Africa’s top riders at the end of the season, Luus said he had only hoped that it would be so.

“I owe a lot to my teammate, Waylon Woolcock. He guided me through the season like a mentor. He also encouraged me and made sure that I did
not allow my success to go to my head.”

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