Stage win for White as Team TIB earn overall Sani Dragon Crown
The iconic Sani Pass provided a majestic backdrop for MTB enthusiasts on the second and final stage of the Sani Dragon as Tyronne White solo’d to the stage win at Premier Resort Sani Pass on Sunday.
With the race’s focus being on the team event, Team TIB held all the cards going into the final stage and the pair of Andrew Hill and Reinhard Zellhuber finished strongly to take a commanding victory.
Stage winner White, who won the Sani Dragon with Andrew Hill in 2015, packed no punches as to how difficult it was summiting Sani Pass.
“The track conditions were really good after the rain over the past few days,” White commented.
“We had some good traction on the corners, but we had a block head wind going up the pass.
“I would love to say it was amazing but I was definitely suffering!”
White then turned and took the chance to test himself coming down the pass and his descending skills proved to be too good for the rest as he took the stage win.
“I wanted to try and get down as quickly as possible – safely as well!
“But my hands got so sore from holding on so tightly.
“I was glad when I got to the bottom first and chuffed to have taken the stage win here,” White added.
Team TIB’s Hill missed the 2016 edition of the race and he felt that this year’s edition was a great personal experience.
“This event is about passionate mountain bikers who want to showcase their area and show people the places where they ride,” the two-time Winner said.
“From day one you know that the organisers are looking after you and there are a lot of personal touches that you wouldn’t find at a big event.
“The trails cannot be faulted and, as I said on Saturday, for someone who has been coming here basically all my life you can’t fault Spurg (Flemington) and his team for their effort.
“Going up Sani Pass without having to stamp your passport is another advantage.
“So there are drawcards to every race and you have to look at those when deciding which races to do,” Hill emphasized.
Hill’s racing partner Zellhuber, who has two Sani Dragon wins in two years, he has appreciated his two days riding with Hill.
“Even though it is quite a short race I have learnt a lot from Andrew.
“He’s so experienced and has been doing this for so long, it’s been an amazing two days.
“Hopefully I can ride with him in the future, if he wants me too!” Zellhuber said with a smile.
Having taken a second consecutive Sani Dragon title, Zellhuber feels that he can now look forward following a slightly disappointing year.
“It feels amazing winning the title again and I feel that my form is starting to return which I’m really happy about.
“It’s been quite a tough year for me and I’m glad that I have started to feel better towards the end of the year as I look towards 2018,” a positive Zellhuber mentioned.
Taking second in the team race was Team Hatton’s Grant Lavers and Grant Underwood and behind them in third was the Thermi duo of Ivica Piktija and Johan can Aswagen.
In the mixed category it was the 2 Crank Addicts pair of Corrie and Girt Steenkamp who took home the spoils.
In the solo race finishing behind White in second was the young Marc Fourie with Shaun Scott taking the bronze.
A late entry into the event was from Bianca Haw and the young cross country star powered to an overall win in the women’s solo ahead of Jeanette Scoular.
In the Sani Dragon Lite the overall winners title went to Andrew Pringle, while Kelly Bedell-Sivright finished in second and took home the title for the First Lady home.
Coming home first in the Lite team event was the 60 Plus pair of Elize Cilliers and Boysie van Staden.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
1 Team TIB (Andrew Hill/Reinhard Zellhuber) 4:28
2 Team Hattons (Grant Lavers/Grant Underwood) 5:03
3 Thermi (Ivica Piktija/Johan van Aswagen) 6:00
4 BergTrapBrandewyners (Drikus van der Walt/Rynier Shields) 6:18
5 MC Coffee (Bryan Calitz/Gareth Cook) 6:20
1 Tyronne White 4:12
2 Marc Fourie 4:25
3 Shaun Scott 4:48
1 Bianca Haw 6:05
2 Jeanette Scoular 6:22
1 Andrew Pringle 4:36
1 Kelly Bedell-Sivright 4:36
1 60 Plus (Elize Celliers/Boysie van Staden) 5:08