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SA XCO & DH Cup #3 @ Mankele

23 Sep 2015

After few weeks of good preparations for the Nationals we drove from Cape Town to Mankele for the 3rd round of the XCO & DH Nationals on the Thursday 23rd April with Pieter Du Toit, Theo Ngubani, Zola Ngxakeni, Bonga Nothoko and myself. It's always fun travelling with my team mates to nationals & everyone was in good spirit.

We left home around 4am on Thursday and Johan welcomed us on his house in Pretoria around 23h00, it was a long drive already. We slept in Johan's house on Thursday. Thanks to Johan and Mario Hattingh for the warm welcome.

We woke up at 04:30 on Friday and left Pretoria just before 6am to drive to Mankele and arrived around 10am. As soon as we got their I was off to check the course. The course was more flat with only one short climb and one rock garden, which that didn’t suit me that well but I was so exited just to be back racing again after missing 1 cup because of knee injury that I didn't mind too much. Out on course for practice I was making a few unnecessary stupid mistakes which I think was because I was tired from the drive.

 The DH boys made the most of their two days of practice which was of great benefit for Zola's confidence as he is the most recent member of the DH team and it was only his 2nd DH race.

I did not have the best start and found myself far back going to the 2nd lap. The second lap I settled down and focused on moving further forward in the field. I managed to work my way forward and found myself in 9th going through Burry's rock garden. Unfortunately I pushed too hard on the climbs and later on I started to feel the effects of my efforts. With a crash in the rock garden it took some time to get the confidence back and I lost some places. In the end I battled holding the high intensity & I ended up finishing in 17th overall. 

Sipho in action

On course at the #3 XCO in Mankele.

The DH boys did well in their race on the following day, Sunday. Theo finished 18th overall, Zola 21st and Bonga 27th. These were great results particularly for Zola & Bonga who are new to Downhill and will only improve with more race experience.

Zola in action

Zola holding his own at his second DH race.

A tired team on the way back home

The tired DH boys on the long journey home. 

Big thanks to Pieter Du Toit, Johan Hattingh @LCB team, Investec Asset Management, Specialized South Africa, Reeds, Biogen and to you all for the great support we continually get.