Challenging conditions at Namaqua Quest MTB Stage Race
The Namaqua Quest 3 Day MTB Stage Race, organized by TriSport SA in partnership with WildTrail SA, took place between 31 August and 2 September. Namaqualand is world-renowned for its colourful flower season, however, due to the devastating drought, not many flowers were visible this year.
As with the Namaqua Quest 3 Day Trail Run, the race village for this event was located at the Jakkalswater Guest Farm that’s located between Springbok and Nababeep. For this event, entrants had the opportunity to choose between a FULL and a LITE option.
285 riders started on day 1 which traversed the Schaap River Canyon with the FULL covering a distance of 65 km and the LITE, 39 km.
Day 2 took riders through the famous Goegap Nature Reserve. This 7 000 hectare reserve, supports 600 different indigenous plant species, 45 mammal species and 94 bird species. The characteristic granite domes and peaks of the region contrast with the sandy plains, where springbuck, gemsbok and Hantam’s Zebra forage. Unfortunately, the riders did not have much time for wildlife spotting as they had to keep their wits about them, battling extreme winds.
Day 3, known as the Old Copper Trail, covered distances of 50 km in the FULL and 20 km in the LITE option.
Although the days were demanding, evenings were well spent in the chill zone relaxing with family and friends. Massage therapists were available and riders were able to enjoy treatments - this helped to increase recovery between the different stages.
As with any good mountain bike trail, the route had a combination of everything; tough climbs, fast downhills, a few technical sections, sand as well as enough free-flowing sections.
The wind did have an impact on the riders’ times but after 3 stages and a total of 170 km, Fourie Kotze finished first overall with a time of 07:50:56. In overall second position was Schalk van der Merwe in a time of 07:52:46, with Dewald Goosen in third place (08:11:30). Kotze and Van der Merwe are no strangers to this race and finished in exactly the same positions during last year’s event.
The first overall female was Hanelle Steyn. Hannele, a former World Triathlon Champion and Winner of the Absa Cape Epic MTB race, also took part in last year’s event where she finished first. This year she repeated her victory with an overall time of 08:07:35. Second overall female was Monica Glover (08:24:24), with Hildegarde Cronje in third with her time of 09:52:01.
In the LITE option, the first overall male was Derek Hardy (05:03:36), and Iselle Combrink-Groome the first female with a time of 06:28:41. The complete list of results for the FULL and LITE can be viewed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2K0sY1_SRXHbE9zU1d1NWYtZmM/view
Event organizers TriSport SA and WildTrail SA would like to thank their sponsors First Ascent, SPAR, Time Freight Express, Namaqua Wines, Springbok Nashua and Springbok Toyota for their support during this event. TriSport’s next MTB event will be the Trans Outeniqua 5 Day MTB Tour that will take place between 26 and 30 October. Visit trisport.co.za for more information about this event.
TriSport specializes in event management, coaching, training clinics, sport travel, sport tourism and sport retail gear. For further information, call +27 83 662 2022; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.trisport.co.za. You can also follow them on Facebook @trisportsa