With Cape Town’s famous South Eastern wind blowing away some of the rider’s bravery the previous day, everyone was happy to see that the early morning weather was perfect: no wind and not too hot. Spectators and riders alike were in for a treat with scenic views of Table Mountain and the surrounding vineyards. However, with blue skies all around everybody knew they were in for a hot day. When race runs started the temperature was at its highest.
The rain we had in the week did not help much as the riders ripped up some corners in the midday sun. The loose sandy soil made for some slipping and sliding during the practice runs before the riders had perfected their lines. Some sections of the track caused havoc as it was so dry and loose.
As the day got hotter the racing seemed to follow suit with riders gaining more confidence over the technical sections. Some riders came up with some creative lines through the rock garden.
The previous season’s race at this track saw quite a number of severe injuries and riders and spectators alike were relieved that there was only one patient for the day – a spectator being treated for a light case of heat stroke.
Times start to tumble as the faster riders came down. Rika Olivier set the pace for the ladies for the day taking the win in the Elite Women category. Gina Nixon came in second and Simone Futter took third place among the girls.
Stefan Garlicki came in first for Elite Men with Adriaan Smit and Adi van der Merwe just a few splits apart in second and third place. The turnout was great and the feedback from riders and spectators were overwhelmingly positive. WP Downhill has certainly kicked off the season on a high note. The next race takes place on the 31st March at the Paarl Taal Monument track – another very popular venue.
A few thank yous:
Thanks to Red Bull for supporting the sport and helping it grow for another year, Litronics for 2 way radio's - a crucial element to any successful race and Dial’d bikes online store for sponsoring vouchers as prizes. A big thanks also goes out to Qunut Salaam, Vince Muir and everyone else who picked up a shovel to get this legendary track race ready as well as to the WPDH committee with Hanco Binneman as chairman who organised this very successful race.
1. Stefan Garlicki 1:54.51
2. Adriaan Smit 1:58.41
3. Adi Van der Merwe 1:58.87
4. Duran Van Eeden 2:00.87
5. Dane Olsen 2:01.87
Photos by ESP - esphotography.
Words by Hanco Binneman & Arne Greyling.