WPDH#1.Race Report.

Starting the 2019 race season with a bang!

Welcome to all new downhill riders. It is great to have you in the WP DH family. A big welcome back to all the ‘old”, faithful supporters.

Congratulations to Theo Erlangsen (EM :44.334) on winning the first Western Province race of the year at Paarl on Sunday 24 February. His old-time rival and good friend, Adi van der Merwe (EM :47.645) kept Theo on his toes in second place, followed closely by Niko Velasco (EM 01:49.745) in third position. We certainly missed Johan Potgieter, who was at home in Port Elizabeth and Stefan Garlicki who is wisely nursing an injury to complete recovery.

Even though the temperatures soared to above 30 degrees on Saturday, the shuttle-day was a roaring success as the shuttles swiftly transported riders to the top, allowing many of them to get in as many as twenty practice runs! Pure heaven for downhill enthusiasts.

Race day was a peach with everything running according to a strict time-plan. Thank you Grev and Sharon. Riders briefing at 8:30am was very informative, especially as we had many new, younger riders. Practice gave everyone at least two runs to familiarise themselves with the track. Seeding runs began at 10am sharp and this was our first indication of the 2019 hot-shot riders in each age category.

The race belonged to the du Toit’s, with Jason du Toit (EM: 1:50), and Francois du Toit2 (EM: 1:52) coming in 4th and 5th place overall. The ‘other’ Francois du Toit1 (Sub Vet: 2:16 / ages 30 to 40 years), coming second to first time down-hiller, Antony Ashley (SV: 2:14)…AND then Frances du Toit, taking a first in Elite Women (EW:2:20). We missed Rika but it was great to see Frances on the podium and many new female participants.

The young and old rode side-by-side with Jasper Barret (Junior Men: 1:52 / 17-18 years) just beating Chris Nixon (Master Men:1:54 / 51-60 years). Special mention must be made of a time-long battle between two very good friends, Ike Klaasen (YM:1:58:149) who just beat Dawid Bekker (JB:1:58:561) in his race run.

Fortunately WP DH seems to have attracted many new youngsters to the sport. These ‘gangsters’ eat more ice creams than race runs and have the most fun on race day. The nippers and sprog classes are both hotly contested categories. A big congratulations to our nipper boy winner Christian Bekker (NB:2:47 / ages 8-10 years) and sprog boy winner Zak Jones (SB:2:24 / age 11-12 years). WP DH is assured of its future.

The committee are meeting this Sunday, 3 March, to finalise arrangements for the next race. We will keep you posted. However we are provisionally thinking that the next race will be a one day race at Zevenwacht on 24 March. However, so that you are at your best on the day, we hoping to arrange a training session the week before with the WP DH big boys as coaches. Everyone who would like tips and advice for riding this track is welcome. All proceeds will go to WP DH funding. More details will be posted on the WP DH Facebook page but provisionally book Saturday 16th March from 8:30 to 12:00.

Photos: Dejon Nell, The Tattooed Dude – dejonnell@gmail.com

Jason Du Toit
Theo Erlangsen
Chris Nixon