Matthys Beukes (PYGA Euro Steel) narrowly held off Brendon Davids (RoadCover) to win the fifth round of the National MTB Series, which took place at Van Gaalens in Skeerpoort on Saturday.
It was a day of close racing as one second separated the top two in both the men’s category. Davids, who won the previous event in Champagne Valley, was unable to pass Beukes as the pair approached the line at the end of the marathon event. Gert Heyns followed four minutes later to complete the top three.
Matthys Beukes wins the Val Gaalens edition of the Ashburton National MTB series. Images ZCMC
A game of cat and mouse ensued between Matthys Beukes and Brendon Davids after Beukes’ teammate, Philip Buys, dropped out with a puncture 40km in.
In the end PYGA Euro Steel’s Beukes was able to hold off Davids as he pipped the RoadCover rider to the post, winning the event by one second. Davids caught back up to Beukes as they entered the final signature single track of Van Gaalens, but there is very little passing room in the technical trail.
Davids lead Beukes across the floating bridge.
Despite feeling confident, Beukes said it had been a close call as he said he’d emptied his tank fighting to keep up during the 68km route, entering with final 3km utterly spent.
A technical route for the riders at Van Gaalens
“He (Davids) was super strong on the flat and I just had to hold onto his wheel but on the final climb, with about 15km to go, I got a small gap on him,” said Beukes.
“I then bonked a bit on the final 3km but thankfully the gap was just enough. It was quite a tight finish.”
Gert Heyns (Ascendis Health) finished in third, crossing the line four minutes behind Beukes and Davids.
“I gave it a good go, as this event follows on from the Champagne Valley race.” says Davids, “We decided to do this event, even though it is just a one day race, as a bit of preparation and sharpening before the coming Clover Tour this weekend on the road.”
“There are not many events that can push you to the limits, and with almost 3 hours of intense racing, I am happy with how I felt, just unable to get past Matthys in the final stretch, so well done to him for the win!” said Davids.
Davids explains his tactics at the start.
1. Matthys Beukes (PYGA Euro Steel) 2:55:34
2. Brendon Davids (RoadCover) 2:55:35
3. Gert Heyns (Ascendis Health) 2:59:00
4. Philip Buys (PYGA Euro Steel) 3:00:38
5. Nico Bell (NAD Pro MTB) 3:02:00
6. Waylon Woolcock (Team BCX) 3:04:47
7. Gawie Combrinck (NAD Pro Cycling) 3:05:31
8. Wessel Botha 3:12:35
9. Declan Sidey (Bells Cycling) 3:13:41
10. Ben Melt Swanepeol (Garmin) 3:15:45