A new route for the Okahandja leg of the MTB Dirt Attack Ride&Run has taken this event to the next level in the Gravel & Dirt MTB Marathon series. The new track, meticulously mapped by offroad expert, Tony Bassingthwaighte, demanded that the 170 competing riders stayed focus on the very challenging rocky climbs, relieved only intermittently by flat sandy stretches.
The race took place this past Saturday, 18 August.
Eventually, Namibia's leading MTB athletes conquered the unfamiliar trail, showing why they are the nation's best in MTB. Drikus Coetzee, followed closely by Denzel de Koe and Xavier Papo, took the laurels in the 70km Men's Elite, while Michelle Doman, the only Women's Elite rider for the day, still convincingly finished ahead of the female riders in all other categories.
Hill climbs and narrow single-track sections were not the only obstacles the riders faced as they navigated their way through this amazing route which included a number of dry river crossings and sandy sections. Not only are these sections difficult to navigate, they also place enormous physical strain on riders as they later hit the longer stretches.
Not surprisingly, more experienced riders performed better on the first-time track. For instance, Sub-veteran, Ingram Cuff dominated the 70km ride, setting the best time of the day overall with 2:55:13, only one second faster than Coetzee.
Doman finished the 70 km ride in 3:35:36, with Sub-veteran Courtney Liebenberg about a minute later. Both Marion Schönecke and Rosi Hennes finished a whisker shy of 3:48.
The MTB Gravel & Dirt series is sponsored by Hollard, Food Lovers Market, E-Med Rescue 24, Crank'd, NBL, Cymot and Ernst Lerch & Co. The next event is the Gobabis MTB Challenge.
Caption: Michelle Doman and Drikus Coetzee again dominated the senior categories in last weekend's MTB Dirt Attack Ride&Run near Okahandja.