Round 1 of the Junior Eliminator for KZN kicked off on Sunday 24 May. The first event was hosted by Northwood High School in Durban North. The junior riders representing 18 schools from around the province were tested by a well balanced course containing a small climb to test the legs, plenty of sprint and over taking opportunities and a few interesting obstacles to test their skills. In true Durban style, the weather was hot, only to be out done by the racing action on course. The interesting thing about eliminator is that there really is no “favourite to win” everybody stands the chance, anything can happen on course and there is no coming back from a dropped chain, puncture or crash and being youthful they can all sprint flat out for duration of the short course.
There were a lot of new faces that weren’t at last year’s series, at first there were a few questions of “why is the course so short and why only one lap?” It didn’t take long for the riders to realise it was pretty much a flat out sprint for around two minutes. Parents, team mates and other spectators were kept highly entertained by the high paced racing from the various age groups with a number of heats coming down to a sprint finish. It was great to have a full heat of under 14 girls to battle it out against each other, but it was Beanie Thies(Wartburg Kirchdorf School) who proved just too strong for the rest winning her three heats comfortably. There were only two under 16 girls who elected to race with the boys and held their own with Courtney Smith(Thomas More College) making it through to round 3 and Tiffany Keep(Thomas More College) keeping the boys on their toes advancing right up to the semi -finals before narrowly losing out on the line!
Despite their size, the speed and power from the under 14 boys was incredible, the boys attacked every obstacle at full pace including flying down the double set of stairs. The under 16 boys was the most hotly contested age group with a number of close finishes as the boys stomped on their pedals to advance through the rounds and into the final. The final was elbow to elbow racing getting the crowd on their feet screaming as the four boys chased each other around the course. The under 19 boys showed some smarts with a few team tactics as well as pacing themselves through the earlier rounds in order to conserve energy for when it really mattered.
The sponsors of the Junior Eliminator Series have gone all out in backing the young riders and during prize giving the competitors were showered in prizes both for the finalists as well as a raffle draw from Trek Bikes, Fox Racing, Enjoy Fitness, Skullcandy, OGIO and Rayne Cams. Round two will take place on Sunday 31 May at Giba Gorge Bike Park in Pinetown. It is Comrades day, so the registration will only start at 12pm, racing from 1pm and prize giving at 3pm.
We would like to see some more schools being represented, entries are still available and riders can enter online: www.onemovement.co.za
The Video of the event can be viewed at:
Results from Round 1:
under 14 girls
- Beanie Thies (Wartburg Kirchdorf School)
- Emma Clipstone (St Marys DSG)
- Kiara Muldoon (Northlands Girls High School)
under 16 Girls
- Tiffany Keep (Thomas More College)
- Courtney Smith (Thomas More College)
under 14 boys
- Mitchel Potgieter (Kloof Primary)
- Robbie Jessop (Virginia Primary)
- Myles Crookes (Hillcrest High School)
under 16 boys
- Jett Bradshaw (Two Bridges)
- Dylan Howard (Crawford North Coast)
- Joshua Clipstone (Thomas More College)
Under 19 Boys
- Dean Wartmann (Wartburg Kirchdorf School)
- Felix Manke (Maritzburg College)
- Mitchell Meugens (Maritzburg College)
KZN Overall Series (after first event)
1st Northwood 4228 Points
2nd Thomas More 3133 Points
3rd Maritzburg College 2950 Points