Warm, windless conditions brought the inaugural Bestmed National Mountain Bike Series to a perfect close when hundreds of riders descended on Rhebokskloof Wine Estate for the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic, presented by the City of Drakenstein and ASG, on Sunday.
Few riders enjoyed the final event of the series more than winner Rikus Visser, who climbed to an uncontested victory in the 60km feature race in a time of 2:48:58.
Petrus Malherbe finished a distant second in 2:53:39, with Corbin Mann rounding out the podium in 2:54:51.
“It was just a great day out on the bike,” said Visser. “I guess I was lucky that none of the higher ranked riders were here, but I guess each field has its own winner,” laughed the 43-year-old.
“I rode last year and loved it. This race has some of the best single-track I have ever seen and the scenery is breathtaking. I will definitely come back next year.”
With overnight rain having settled the dust on the trails, the three eventual podium finishers broke away from the main bunch soon after the start.
Visser attacked again on the first climb and quickly opened up a gap on Malherbe and Mann.
“I was behind the other two, but when we hit the first climb I was able to power through and pass them. Then we hit some single-track and the guys started closing the gap, but with the second climb I increased my lead again.”
Showing his power once more on that ascent, he rode away from his chasers, increasing his lead to more than four minutes and cementing the victory.
“I never planned on attacking on the climbs, the conditions were just so ideal that I was able to win it today,” he said. “We could not have asked for better; there was no wind to speak of and it wasn’t too hot either. Really just an awesome day for mountain biking.”
The Durbanville resident’s victory comes only a day after he competed in the Coronation Double Century, making this a truly remarkable win.
In the women’s race, Anja van Zyl, 24, was the first to cross the line in 3:39:24.
She finished more than a minute ahead of Sarah Davies in 3:40:47, with Hendre de Villiers taking third in 3:48:39.
The shorter 30km race that preceded the main event also delivered some great results.
Rossouw Bekker led the men’s field from early in the race and won in a time of 1:32:47.
He was followed home by runner-up Rudi Koen in 1:34:03 and third-placed Konrad Blumers in 1:35:07.
Mia de Villiers was the unchallenged women’s race winner in 2:00:55. Rone Lourens claimed second in 2:07:36 and Teri-Joe Leyland completed the top three in 2:15:45.