Epic Showdown at the SA MTB Marathon Championship: Tristan Nortje Scores a 2nd Place Finish

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Team Honeycomb | 0 comments

Epic Showdown at the SA MTB Marathon Championship: Tristan Nortje Scores a 2nd Place Finish

On Sunday, 25 May, Team Honeycomb riders braved the challenging 85km course of the Sappi Karkloof Classic, the prestigious SA MTB Marathon Championship. Representing the team were Jaco van Dyk and Kyle Mitchell in the Sub-Vet category, and Marc Pritzen, Tristan Nortje, Bradley Scott, and Johann Trotzky in the Elite Men’s category.

 

The event took place at Karkloof Country Club, nestled in the heart of the Karkloof Valley in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands, just 12 km from Howick. This ultra-tough Marathon Champs race, designed for elite riders, winds through Karkloof forests, demanding peak fitness to conquer its mountainous terrain and technical prowess to navigate some of the best flowing single tracks in the country.

 

Early Breaks and Strategic Moves

The race kicked off with a burst of energy as a large group formed early, with all of Team Honeycomb’s elite riders prominently positioned. The course, known for its tough climbs and technical descents, tested every rider’s endurance and skill.

 

15 km’s into the race, the pack began to splinter. Tristan Nortje found himself in the leading group, battling alongside top competitors – Jaedon Terlouw, Wessel Botha, and Michael Foster. A minute behind them was Johann Trotzky, followed by Jaco van Dyk, three minutes off the pace. Bradley Scott was trailing by five minutes in another group, showing resilience despite the gap.

 

As the race progressed to the 50 km mark, a lead group of four emerged, featuring Wessel Botha, Jaedon Terlouw, Tristan Nortje, and Michael Foster. Tristan and Michael made a decisive move, breaking away and gaining a 20-second lead. Demonstrating his remarkable strength and strategy, Tristan further attacked, pulling away solo with a 20-second advantage.

 

Challenges and Determination

The race’s grueling nature took its toll. At the 56 km water point, Bradley Scott withdrew from the race, and Marc Pritzen, after suffering an unfortunate puncture, was also out of contention. Marco Joubert, another race favourite, faced a similar fate, leaving the competition prematurely.

 

Despite these setbacks, the spirit of Team Honeycomb remained unbroken. Tristan Nortje delivered an exceptional performance, maintaining his lead group position. Ultimately, Wessel Botha clinched the victory, but Tristan’s outstanding ride secured him a well-deserved 2nd place, finishing just two minutes behind the winner.

 

Team Results and Finishing Times

ELITE MEN’S CATEGORY

  • Tristan Nortje 2nd place (4:06:19)
  • Johann Trotzky 27th place (4:46:05)

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