The third edition of the JBay MTB Open presented by Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm took place at the Kabeljous Hub on Saturday 11 July.
The new venue and presenting sponsor added a fresh flavour to the race, but the trails were still the same spectacular singletrack, open farm roads and jeep tracks. This year’s event was blessed with good weather (it had to be shortened last year due to torrential rain) which made for exciting racing and meant that the trails of Impala Ranch could be utilised for the longer routes (60 and 80kms).
Anriëtte Schoeman, known affectionately as the ‘Pocket Rocket’ added yet another title to her long list of credentials by winning the women’s event in the 80-kilometre event. Not only did Anriëtte convincingly win the women’s, but she also finished third overall, in a time of 04:14. “It was very tough,” she said afterward of the event that forms part of the JBay Winterfest. “My goodness…It was a very technical route, I definitely earned this one.”
Schoeman even joked that she was going to frame the medal and give it pride of place in her trophy cabinet.
Ahead of Schoeman in the 80km was Andre Nelson and Conrad Viljoen. Viljoen overcame an early crash to break away from Nelson and stay away till the end. “It was a good day’s racing,” he commented afterward. “I came out here with the intention of taking the win and having a good hard session. It was a very challenging course and a lot of guys probably underestimated it a bit, but I gave it a good go from the beginning before it split up,” he said.
Both the 60km and 80km route required good technical proficiency and some serious training in the legs. The pace was fierce from the start with cool, overcast conditions ideal for racing, but the undulating nature of the course and the ever-strengthening northwester made things interesting.
The 40km route is designed for the adventurous fun rider looking to ride a significant distance and will be fairly flat and non-technical.
“It’s been a great day, said Mark Pickering, General Manager of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, who finished the less-technical 40-kilometre route on ‘very little training’. The JBay MTB Open carries the distinction of being the only mountain bike race on the continent that traverses a wind farm. “We were very pleased with how the race was organised,” he said, explaining how important it was for the wind farm to build a relationship with the local community through events such as this.