The 2022 edition of the demanding NTT Isuzu Gravel Grinder Mountain Bike (MTB) Race which was held on Saturday the 22nd of October, drew a large number of entries to the Jakkalsroep Venue, outside Gravelotte and Leydsdorp.
The Gravel Grinder provided for plenty excitement in the different race distances, though the main event, the 130km race, proved to be quite an exhilarating sprint to the finish. The eventual winner, Alan Gordon from the Insect Science MTB Team, finished a mere thousandth of a second ahead of team mate Herman Fourie.
This after Gordon just managed to outwit his younger team mate on the second last corner before the finish by taking the inside line which forced Fourie to go wide.
This move sealed the win for Gordon with Fourie in second. Gordon won in a time of 04:16.28 with Fourie a split second behind in a time of 04:16.29.
Sydney Swart, another Insect Science rider joined his teammates on the podium in third spot after he crossed the line in a time of 04:51.50. But Swart’s third place was far from secure as he had to contend with Billy Noël who was snapping at his heels right to the end which provided for yet another close finish. Noël’s time was 04:51.51.
The female riders provided another spectacularly close race with Dalene van Zyl taking the honours in a time of 05:23.15. Van Zyl however had to wrestle with Taryn-Maie Wille all the way to the finish line. Wille finished within a blink of an eye behind the winner in a time of 05:23.23 with Shirley Scriven finishing a further five minutes down the road for third place.
Willie Junior Willemse managed by the finest of margins, to claim the top step of the podium in the 60km race in a time of 02:05.23, ahead of Insect Science rider Gunther Katzke whose time was 02:05.24. The pair was a split second ahead of the younger Gordon Noël who came third in a time of 02:05.26.
The first female rider in the 60km race, Monique Fourie, crossed the line a few minutes behind the first three male competitors in a time of 02:15.09.
The Sub-Junior division rider, Henro van der Walt, was in a class of his own in the 35km race and took overall victory in a time of 01:08.26, almost seven minutes ahead of his nearest rival, Nicky Willemse in 01:15.16 and André van Ree in third in 01:17.09. The first female rider over the line and in seventh place overall with a time of 01:24.30 was Jenna Adlam.
The shortest race, the 15km Gravel Grinder, provided an opportunity for the young and upcoming talents to test their mettle. The top three spots were contested between Ken de Lange, Mario van der Walt and Aron van der Borre.
In the end de Lange, took the win in a time of 00:35:02 with van der Walt in second and v an den Borre in third place. The first female rider and fourth overall, a further second behind the top three, was Shirlene van den Borre, keeping a keen eye over son Aron.