Coached by Hunter Allen.
Ashburton Investments National Mountain Bike Series Dullstroom race report by Gawie Combrinck:
This weekend was the last leg of the Ashburton Investments National Mountain Bike Series that was held at Dunkeld Country Estate in Dullstroom. With a series win up for grabs this was shaping up to be an epic battle in the thin air of Dullstroom on the tough 116km course with 2500m of vertical ascent.
With Konny Looser (Wheeles iXS), series leader missing this leg of the race, Max Knox( Biogen Volcan) and myself (EAI South Africa) needed to win the race to win the series. We set off at a bit more sedate pace than usual as we headed out on the misty hills of Dullstroom.
The first 30km the bunch stayed together. Heading out of the first tech zone we went down a fast flat section next to the railway line that headed down into the valley. Max Knox and Rourke Croeser turned up the pace and split the field up on this fast section.
We were six riders in the front group as we headed for the major climb of the day just after 50km. I saw Max was taking a bit of strain after the effort he had just put in and I put in a big effort to ride him of from the bottom of the climb.
Darren Lill, Rourke and Max were the only riders that could go with. Soon it was just Max and myself left as we headed up the climb. Max recovered a bit and managed to distance me in the last kilometer of the climb. Rourke also caught me after fixing a flat wheel. At the top Max took the KOM prime and was soon joined by Rourke. I was a few second back, but couldn’t make the junction across.
On the fast flowing roads that followed, Max and Rourke opened up the gap on me. I managed to real them in a bit toward the third tech zone and caught Rourke after he stopped to change his front wheel. Max was clearly on a mission and the gap between us stayed the same. Rourke started fading the last few kilometers and I rode away from him with 10km to go.
Max kept the gap and won the race and series. I finished second just over 2min down and Rourke came in third.
1. Max Knox
2. Gawie Combrinck
3. Rourke Croeser
4. Nico Bell
5. Mathuis Beukes
Thank you for all the support guys. Next race will be the Isuzu 3 Towers where Johann and I will go for a win again.