Experience proved key on day two of the Pro-Nutro AfricanX trail run in Grabouw on Friday as defending champion Michael Bailey and new partner Ben Brimble took the stage two victory, writes Mark Etheridge.
They powered their way over the historic Gantouw Pass above Sir Lowry’s Pass near Somerset West and through the Grabouw forests to end the 34-kilometre stage in a time of 2hr 25min 22sec.
That saw them making up the deficit on day one when newcomer Kane Reilly and Nicholas Rupanga took the first day honours over 31km.
They now have a handy lead over the first day winners going into the third and final day.
“We had a good day,” said Team Pro-Nutro Asics’ Bailey. “We started conservatively and then made our move on the steep up sections and put the hammer down around halfway.
“Now we just hang in there the final day but history has proved that the second day does prove decisive when it comes to winning it.”
First day winners Ronel Nattrass and Kathleen Shuttleworth of Team Mizuno, pictured right, consolidated their day one victory with another comfortable win.
They covered the route in 2:56:29. “I found the going a bit easier today,” said Shuttleworth. “And what a stunning route, certainly the best stage of AfricanX that I’ve ever run.”
Runners-up were Theresa Fourie and Belinda Noades of Team Columbia took second again.
Sunday’s final stage is the shortest of the three at 24km and starts from Paul Cluver Wine Estate in Elgin up to the foot of the Groenland Mountains and back along to the finish at Houw Hoek.