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Dirtopia Enduro Race Stellenbosch – South Africa

Myles Kelsey, Stage 1

Myles Kelsey, Stage 1: “Trails were amazing”.

It was off to Delheim, just outside Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, for the 4th running of the Dirtopia Enduro this past weekend. 140 very enthusiastic riders took part in this one-day, 5 stage event, racing roughly 16km overall. It was a very hot day with the mercury reaching 30, and no wind whatsoever, making the climbs that extra bit more challenging.

Signing up and getting prepped.

Signing up and getting prepped.

Early morning and the sun's already blazing.

Early morning and the sun’s already blazing.

Pre-race briefing.

Pre-race briefing.

Talking strategy. This picture shows that "enduro racing" is something you can even do on a hardtail. Maybe not as fast, but: Yes you can!

Talking strategy. This picture shows that “enduro racing” is something you can even do on a hardtail. Maybe not as fast, but: Yes you can!

Darryn Stow (winner) ~ "Everything flowed really well"

Darryn Stow (winner) ~ “Everything flowed really well”

The 5 stages ran across a mixture of surfaces including some super soft and unpredictable off-camber stuff. With the exception of a couple of riders getting it wrong on the 4th stage, the course markings were great overall. Stage 1 was the most tricky with plenty of rocky, technical sections. Thereafter, the stages were fast and flowy with a few good climbs thrown in for good measure. The stages provided an overall fair contest for both XC and DH riders.

Gary Perkin imparting some wisdom on a fellow Santa Cruz rider.

Gary Perkin imparting some wisdom on a fellow Santa Cruz rider. “It was just a great fun morning on the bike”.

Enroute stage 1

Enroute stage 1.

Liaison 1, already claiming some riders. JP going strong.

Liaison 1, already claiming some riders. JP going strong.

Stage 1

Stage 1.

Super dry and dusty.

Super dry and dusty.

This was a blind Enduro with zero practice before the event, the only knowledge riders had of the course was that provided by the race brief’s. Timing was done using the trailtag system, allowing riders to start and stop their own stage timing by electronically ‘tagging’ at the beginning and end of each stage. This allowed the whole event to flow without any bottle necks as the front runners could pin it through the liaison sections and onto the next stages and the slower riders could complete in the event at their own pace.

Lining up for stage 2.

Lining up for stage 2.

Jonty Neethling, Stage 2. Second place overall for him.

Jonty Neethling, Stage 2. Second place overall for him.

Midway through stage 2 things opened up a bit with riders pinning it throughout the vineyards.

Midway through stage 2 things opened up a bit with riders pinning it throughout the vineyards.

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Stage 2.

Stage 2.

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Thanks to Delheim for hosting the event, and to Meurant Botha and the rest of the Dirtopia team for putting in all the effort.

Liaison between stage 2 and 3. It was as hot and dry as it looks.

Liaison between stage 2 and 3. It was as hot and dry as it looks.

This is Africa.

This is Africa.

Hanri Dalton (Womens no.2), Stage 5.

Hanri Dalton (Womens no.2), Stage 5.

Gary Perkin, warp speed between the trees. Stage 5.

Gary Perkin, warp speed between the trees. Stage 5.

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Philip Viljoen, Stage 5.

Philip Viljoen, Stage 5.

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Rika Olivier (Womens no.1), Stage 5.

Rika Olivier (Womens no.1), Stage 5.

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Mens podium, Darryn Stow (1), Jonty Neethling (2), Andrew Neethling (3)

Mens podium, Darryn Stow (1), Jonty Neethling (2), Andrew Neethling (3).

Womens podium. Rika Olivier (1), Hanri Dalton (2), Nadia Malan (3).

Womens podium. Rika Olivier (1), Hanri Dalton (2), Nadia Malan (3).

Bildschirmfoto 2013-11-25 um 15.09.59

Words & Photos: Ewald Sadie – www.esphotography.co.za

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