Gawie Combrinck claimed second place at the recent National MTB Series hosted in Dullstroom, South Africa.
A week after the Trailseeker series, both Nico and Gawie aimed to continue their great form at the Ultra Marathon Distance.
A glimpse at Gawie’s race file on strava shows the intensity of the race. Interesting to note that nearly 50% of the time during the race was spent climbing.
Nico went into the race with the orange leaders jersey on his shoulders and every intention to defend the jersey, however, a stomach bug in the week leading up to the race hampered Nico’s efforts and he was forced to withdraw mid race.
A determined Gawie soldiered on. With a stacked field including 4 Scott LCB riders and the current SA National Champion, Max Knox made for a hard race out the blocks.
If a stacked field was not enough, riders had to overcome the high altitude and soaring temperatures.
A large number of riders formed the break of the day and played it safe for the first half of the race. It was the Scott LCB team who made the first move and fired the attacks one after the other. The field whittled down and only a few riders could keep the pace. In the end the attacks proved too much for the Scott team themselves and it was up to Max Knox and Gawie to battle it out for the lead. Max surged towards the end of the hardest climb of the day and Gawie just missed the wheel of the eventual race winner.
Gawie rode a wise race over the last 20km which included technical terrain and challenging single tracks to finish the race in 2nd place.
The team now takes a short break from the one day marathon races to focus on the Isuzu Three Towers stage race which takes place from the 30th of September till the 2nd of October.
The race, hosted by the Mankele MTB trails will make the men feel right at home. Nico won the race in 2015 with former partner Erik Kleinhans and Gawie finished in 2nd place with former partner Johan Rabie.
Photos by Zoon Cronje.
Gawie is coached by PCG Master Coach Hunter Allen