Anticipation and excitement was at an all time high for the third and final stop of the 2018 Dustin Rudman Invitational Downhill MTB race. The event took place at a new venue, on a brand new track, with a new format, and to top it off – a record 153 riders entered.
The 26 Degrees South Hotel in Muldersdrift was the perfect setting and the welcomed new venue for the event that took place on Saturday and Sunday, 1 and 2 December. As always with the DRI events, riders have two race runs (usually in one day) with the best of the two counting as their overall. The new format saw rider’s first race runs take place on the Saturday and their second runs on the Sunday. This enabled riders to get more practice time on the track as well as alleviated the lengthly time it took to run the event over one day.
The track, built within the three weeks before the event, was awesome to say the least. Nestled on the hillside of 26 Degrees South’s game lodge, the course started off with a small decent moving into a slightly rocky forest section. From there it was off-camber with sniper rocks lurking along the trail as the course made its way across the hillside – this section caught out a lot of riders but for those that minimised mistakes time was made up. Next was a small rock drop followed by another drop before heading into a right berm with a double at exit.
Racing through the next section saw a some pedaling, a rock garden, and then it was time for flat-out fun. Now past the halfway mark, riders were faced with a massive 10m step-down jump (with the B-Line to the left of the take-off) that sent riders into a long landing down the hill and into the three doubles. The doubles were technical with the first being a right hip, the second straight and the third a left hip – each jump had to be spot on to get through the line perfectly. Finally was a set of seven flowing berms that lead riders into the finish line. Definitely a course that tested the riders but was extremely fun to ride – and over a minute longer than the previous DRI course.
With race times clocked in on the first day, riders knew what had to be done on the second day to either retain positions or make up time on competitors. The top three men were just over 2 seconds of each other with Struan Mcmaster being 3rd fastest with a time of 2:29,610 and Keira Duncan 2nd fastest with a time of 2:28,432. It was Tim Bentley who owned the course and finished quickest in a time of 2:27,243.
It was good to see a stack of ladies enter to race the DRI and this time it was Beani Thies who was fastest with her time of 3:02,424. Steffanie Grossman finished 2nd quickest with 3:10,621 and Julia Kotze rounding off the top 3 in 3:16,680.
As always, a big shout-out to Dustin Rudman and team for making this event happen, as well as the parters that make it possible; Red Bull, International Trade (Spank and WTB), Baruch Adventure Projects, Panda Sportswear, Rapid Studio, Digital View, Ride with Zeal, Ballistic Bike Armour, Netnikes Beard Oil, Send-It Bike Boxes, GreaseTec, Dewbro Cycles, Dirt Nurse, Nomadic Digital, Sprocket and Jack, Trailtech Cycles and Quick Response Services.
2018 Dustin Rudman Invitational Stop 3 – Top 5 Results
1st Tim Bentley – 2:27,243
2nd Keira Duncan – 2:28,432
3rd Struan Mcmaster – 2:29,610
4th Kelvin Purchase – 2:31,114
5th Luke Dinkel – 2:33,043
1st Beani Thies – 3:02,424
2nd Steffanie Grossman – 3:10,621
3rd Julia Kotze – 3:16,680
4th Robin Stewart – 3:33,202
5th Somien Botha – 3:35,154
Photos by @CaptainAmericaMTB.