This weekend will see a combination of both cross-country and downhill mountain biking disciplines take place as the second round of the Stihl 2016 SA XCO Cup Series takes place on Saturday, and the Western Cape DHI Provincial, doubling up as the first round of the SA National DHI Cup, on Sunday at Helderberg Farms in Somerset West.
For the cross-country race, the UCI Category 1 rating for Pro Elite Men and Women aims to attract not only local, but international cross-country heroes to the event, with all-important UCI points on offer for Olympic qualification.
There was a great international showing of riders at the Western Cape XCO Provincial at the weekend, and the hope is that they will test their talents against some of the nation’s top cross-country specialists on Saturday.
For 2016, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal will use two of their downhill provincials to double as SA Cup events; one of these events is this weekend’s provincial at Helderberg Farms. The results will be used for selection and towards a SA Cup Series.
Home grown international downhill hero, Andrew Neethling, chats about the hard work behind the trails and courses for XCO and DHI at Helderberg Farms: ‘These guys have been working tirelessly to build unbelievable tracks for everyone to enjoy. We’ve upgraded about 90% of the already-existing trails, and the course has an offer for any skill level.’
Although mentioning that this is not a new mountain to MTB specialists, Neethling added that the efforts put in and upgrades to the tracks will certainly be appreciated on the day of the DHI National. ‘This is on the same mountain that we have held provincials and local races before, but there has been a lot of work put into this. Looking at it, I’d say that it’s one of the most technical, world-cup standard courses in the country,’ he said.
‘We’ve got a great rock garden on the top. It’s a very steep but flowing course, and there is a massive mixture of terrain – which keeps it so exciting. There are some chicken runs for those not too keen to take the technical, so it’s really a track for everyone,’ he concluded.
Picture of Neethling courtesy of Chris Hitchcock