The KIA Mountainbike Series 2013 kicked off with the third edition of the Klein Aus Vista MTB Challenge last week Thursday and Friday. Exactly 100 riders participated in the various categories. The popular two-stage event took place on a challenging and scenic track in the Aus Mountains, which are located between Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz in the South West of Namibia.
In the full marathon event (2x 66 km) three junior riders reached the podium, as Tristan de Lange completed the total distance in a combined time of six hours, twelve minutes and 33 seconds to finish on top of the overall ranking ahead of Martin Freyer (6:18:08 hours) and Herbert Peters (6:45:55). De Lange dominated the two stages while KIA rider Freyer, who lost valuable time on the second day due to technical problems, had to settle for second position on both occasions.
Defending champion Mannie Heymans (7:38:57) came fourth amongst the Elite men and eighth overall. In his age group the three-time Olympian was beaten by Heinrich Köhne (7:13:53), Ian Grassow (7:16:52) and Hans du Toit (7:31:32). The top Master rider Pieter Swiegers (7:09:08) showed consistency to claim fourth spot overall. His strongest age group competitors Aiden de Lange (8:14:32) in eleventh and Steve Prinsloo (8:45:14) in 17th position overall could not keep up with the pace.
Jan Dams, tipped as favourite to win the opening event of the series, was sidelined by a flu. The doctors denied him the green light to participate, so the experienced Belgian had to withdraw before the start of the first stage. The women’s title was secured by Susanne Borg (9:14:18), who outclassed Elenor Grassow (9:22:59) and last year’s winner, Bertha Theron (9:59:48). Victrix Ludorum, Susanne Borg, won N$7,500 and Victor Ludorum, Tristan de Lange, won N$10,000, sponsored by Gondwana Collection.
In the half marathon (2x 33 km) Bruce Hugh of team Fx Fitness (3:58:17) was in a class of his own, as he was the only participant to cover the distance in less than four hours. Eckhard Strämke (4:14:41) and Greygord Mukuve (4:15:19) completed the podium. The fastest Elite ladies were Team Fx’s Elke Bockmühl (5:09:34) and Andra van Staden (5:10:59), who produced outstanding results in the overall ranking, as they finished in fifth and sixth spot respectively.
The KIA Mountainbike Series 2013 will be continued with an event in Swakopmund on 26 May followed by the Otjiwa MTB Marathon a week later on 2 June. KIA stages a total of four races and has put aside prize money amounting to N$ 25 000, which will be handed out to the top riders of the women’s and men’s and junior competitions at the end of the series. The last competition of the series will be the Uris Mountainbike Classic in Tsumeb on Saturday, 29 June.
Kia MTB Series ranking after race 1:
1. Pieter Swiegers
2. Heinrich Köhne
3. Ian Grassow
1. Susanne Borg
2. Elenor Grassow
3. Bertha Theron
1. Tristan de Lange
2. Martin Freyer
3. Herbert Peters
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