Sifiso Nhlapo (MTN Qubheka) made it two from two as he raced to victory in the drama filled SA National BMX Championships second leg which, when combined with his win in Saturday’s first leg, saw him crowned the elite men’s national champ at Alexandra Park BMX track on Sunday.
The battle between Nhlapo and fast emerging youngster Kyle Dodd had been of epic proportions throughout the tough two days of racing and, after Dodd claimed a moral boosting victory over Nhlapo in the final Moto, the excitement ahead of the main had spectators on the edge of their seats.
Both riders flew out of the blocks and despite Nhlapo taking the early lead the pair found themselves side by side going into the second berm and it was anyone’s race.
Nhlapo however narrowly got his nose in front going into the corner and as Dodd attempted a brave yet somewhat questionable passing maneuver on the exit contact between the two was inevitable.
The resultant collision sent Dodd crashing to the ground leaving his title hopes in tatters whilst the stronger Nhlapo who managed to stay on his bike headed for glory.
ÔÇ£It’s been a really good weekend of racing. Fortunately I managed to have a really good, clean race my side and its great to be able to get my first national title in a few years,ÔÇØ said Nhlapo.
ÔÇ£Usually I can’t make these champs because I’m overseas but this year the timing was perfect and I thought I’d come out here and give them a go and Kyle’s (Dodd) a great competitor and has come a long way recently so it was good to have a couple of tight races with him.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Hats off to Maritzburg for putting on a really good show this weekend. The organizers really put in a lot of effort into things, the track was great and things went really well,ÔÇØ he added.
Nhlapo, who only touched down in South Africa from the States on Wednesday, now has a couple of weeks at home before heading back overseas to Europe to start his final preparations for the BMX World Champs in Birmingham and then, hopefully, the London Olympics.
For Dodd it was a disappointing overall result as his second leg crash saw him finish third overall however the young talent did well to hide his frustrations and instead lapped up the overwhelming support he received from the Maritzburg crowd.
ÔÇ£You don’t hear much whilst you’re racing but you most certainly hear everything when you’re at the top of the hill and when the crowd made such a noise before the final it really gave me so much motivation to give it my all out there,ÔÇØ said Dodd.
ÔÇ£I had a good start and I saw the line into the first turn so I went for it and got it and then I tried to get Skizo (Nhlapo) and the bottom of the second turn but I had a line that wasn’t quite there and unfortunately we came together but it’s all part of racing and well done to Skizo.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£It’s been a really good weekend for me though and Skizo’s a really tough guy to beat so to have even just taken one win off him is really great,ÔÇØ he added.
Dodd’s crash saw him limp home in sixth position however this exciting young talent is far better than his number four national number board would suggest.
His mishap however opened the door for Miguel Carvalho to claim second place in Sunday’s race with Christopher finishing third and Godfrey Buziba fourth.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS ÔÇô CSA KZN ALL AFRICA CHALLENGE
SA National BMX Championships ÔÇô Leg Two
SA National BMX Championships – Overall