There is good reason why Oak Valley is some of the most sought after mountain bike trails in the Elgin Valley. Smooth, fast and full of flow, these custom-built trails are closed once a year for the Trail Series® Super League - and they never disappoint.
It’s been another fractured year for events as a whole, and with COVID-19 wave after wave there was no certainty in any date. Hence, it was every race for itself, with no chance of bedding down the overall Super League in 2021.
It was a classic blustery summer SE ripping through the valley over the weekend, keeping many from making the trip. But still, over 500 runners rocked up to tackle one of the three distances on offer.
Lovemo Nyaude rules the 22.5km XL roost
First to go at 7am was the 22.5km XL runners. Lovemo Nyaude set a blistering pace up front, with Simon Short not far behind. In the ladies race, super talented Leanda du Bruyn was in a league of her own, with Kate Mapham and Emily Djock her closest competitors in the early stages.
At the line it was Lovemo stopping the clock at 1:23:58 (3:44min/km), with Simon just 15 sec behind in second. Lovemo’s time sets a new record for this route, tearing 16 minutes off the old record, set in 2020. Third over the line was ever- present master runner Kevin Spratley, home in 1:43:26. Leanda took fourth overall and the ladies win in 1:44:55 (4:39min/km), with Kate Mapham in second place and Emily Djock in third. Leanda’s time also smashed the old course record by some 12 minutes!
Riaz Noordien and Bronwyn Davis took their respective veteran categories. Lauren Honeyman won her masters category, placing 8th overall in the ladies race over the line. Deemter Avenant and Anne Pool won their respective Grand Master categories.
Lambert Brink takes first in the middle distance
The 13.5km was taken by Lambert Brink in a time of 1:01:03, with ladies speedster Mila Geldenhuys taking second just two minutes behind in 1:03:07 - just a few seconds ahead of Daniel Jubert. Third in the mens was Charl Joost with Zulfah Samaai and Sherelee Jones coming in second and third respectively in the overall ladies race to the line.
Cullen Clarke and Abi Webster won their respective Junior categories. Daniel Jubert and Zulfah Samaai won their respective Veteran categories and Neil Hermann and Terry Deats coming up trumps in their Masters division. Grand Master Leslie Chivell was in fact the fastest age 50+ runner (covering Masters and Grand Masters), clocking in at 1:06:14 and taking 8th place OVERALL! Vanessa Wium took a comfortable win in the Grand Master ladies race.
Juniors thrash it out for the 5km crown
It was a pure flat-out race of attrition in the short but fiercely competitive 5km race. But it was the ever present Mikaeel Moolla who eked out a 28 second lead over fellow Junior Deon Bochnig, winning in a time of 21:41. Senior runner Quinton van Dyk was pushed hard all the way to the line by a powerful run by Minimee (11-14yrs) CG Volschenk. In the end, van Dyk proved just strong enough, and managed to hold onto third overall by just 2 sec.
In the ladies race it was Brigit van Niekerk over the line first, with a four minute margin on her nearest rival Tessa Preen. Brigit’s time of 24:34 placed her 7th overall.
In the Peewee category (6-10yrs) it was Luke Simpson and Amelia Fataar in for the win. The girls Peewee category was entirely dominated by the Fataar family, with Amelia, Salma and Qailah taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.
James Truter and over the line winner Brigit van Niekerk took their respective Veteran category wins, and likewise for Antony Smyth and Railette Heyneke in the Masters race. Charl Marais and Trudie Jooste topped the Grand Master category - Trudie JUST holding on by just two seconds from Shelley Marais.
Three race Super League
Despite there being no official Super League in 2021 due to COVID-19 event uncertainty, we still wanted to process the results for interest's sake! Of the 1279 entrants into one of the three races in 2021, only 2% managed to compete in all three races in the same distance, proving how tough it’s been to line up the stars...
In the XL League it was an outright win overall for Kevin Spratley, with a combined time of 5:36:19. 2nd was Munyaradzi Musvosvi and 3rd Ryan Brown.
In the Long League it was Lambert Brink winning overall with a combined time of 3:27:44. Neil Hermann placed second overall just 17 minutes adrift of Lambert, and Cliff Kuadkwashe piping Charl Jooste for third by just over 2 minutes.
Well done to everyone that took part in any or all three of the race this year! Hopefully 2022 will allow us to host the full Trail Series® Super League and see more challenges for the TSSL title.
Full results: https://www.trailseries.co.za/results
Next up?: Kirstenbosch Gardens, 21 January 2022