Two members of the Pietermaritzburg BMX Club have had a tough but stimulating experience at the World Championships in France.
Shai Duke-Norris had a semi-final finish in the 24-inch cruiser section, achieving a world ranking of 11 in this class, and he reached the quarter-finals in the 20-inch championship class in the event in Nantes, north-west France.
Junior rider Chad Carroll, in his first world championship event, made it through to the semi-finals, giving him a world ranking of 15 in his class.
Next year, the world championships will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, and both Duke-Norris and Carroll will be aiming for places in the finals, according to the local club.
Meanwhile, the inaugural Underberg Gran Fondo gravel bike race saw a Gauteng trio of Alwyn Steenkamp, Brandon Downes and Tristan Cuthbert cross the line at Sani Spoors to claim line honours on a cold day of racing in the Southern Drakensberg on Sunday.
The TEG team mastered the gravel roads and progressively cooler conditions to cover the distance in a well-managed team effort to become the new race’s first champions.
An exhausted and cold Courtney Webb claimed the women’s honours in the 140 km ride.
The event decided the titles for the first ever KZN Gravel Championships, and as a closed event saw the titles going to the top finishers from the host province.
Seasoned ultra-distance rider Kevin Benkenstein took the overall men’s title, with seasoned pro Team EdgeUp Life rider S’annara Grové claiming the women’s title.
The 90 km race was won by Andrew Neal, with Saskia van der Merwe riding away to top the 90 km women’s podium, ahead of Julia Lee in second, a remarkable recovery after starting 15 minutes behind the rest of the field after sorting out technical problems with her bike at the start.
SELECTED UNDERBERG GRAN FONDO RESULTS
1. Alwyn Steenkamp 4:59
2. Brandon Downes 4:59
3. Tristan Cuthbert 4:59
1. Courtney Webb 5:46,15
2. S’annara Grové 6:17,15
3. Sarah van Heerden 6:34
1. Andrew Neal 4:03,37
2. Bryan Berkeljon 4:23,56
3. Green Groenewald 4:53,04
1. Saskia van der Merwe 4:54
2. Julie Lee 4:59
3. Cora-Gene Spires 5:08
- Additional reporting by GamePlan Media