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Stellenbosch athletes set their sights on Grabouw victory

Reigning Xterra South Africa Champion and Stellenbosch based Bradley Weiss is hoping to get his 2019 racing season off to a good start with a victory, and successful title defence, at the Xterra South Africa Championship at the Elgin Grabouw Country Club this coming Sunday, 24 February.

“My 2018 Xterra highlights include winning the SA championship, the Asia Pacific Championship as well as the European championship,” he admits. “No one has ever held all three titles in the same calendar year. I am very proud of this achievement.

“I have not yet finalised my 2019 racing schedule, but I will start the season with the SA Championship, and then head to Europe for a mix of Ironman 70.3 and Xterra races finishing up with the European championship in the Czech Republic and hopefully, if I qualify, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France. Of course, the World Championship in October in Maui will always be my main goal to finish the season off on a high.

“The Grabouw course is one of my favourites,” continues Weiss. “With the venue being so close to home (Stellenbosch) I am able to gain maximum advantage by training on the course weeks prior to the event. I feel as if I know the area so well, and each year I feel more comfortable and confident.

“For me it is the home of Xterra and the place which holds my most precious memories when reflecting on my career to date. My goal is always to win, especially on home soil!

“I would absolutely recommend the Grabouw event to all athletes. “If you consider yourself a true multi-sport athlete Grabouw has to be at the top of your ‘to do’ list. From a breathtaking swimming location you summit one of the most picturesque mountain bike routes on the circuit followed by adrenaline filled descents through treacherous rock gardens and finishing with a brutal yet stunning 10km trail run. It impresses me each year and makes me proud of my Xterra roots!”

The Xterra South Africa Championship has also attracted the attention of Vicky van der Merwe (Stellenbosch), Michael Ferreira (Johannesburg), Cameron MacNair (Johannesburg) and Ruan van Zyl (Pretoria).

“This event has such an awesome vibe, I just love it,” says Van der Merwe, owner of the Stellenbosch Triathlon Squad (STS). “My goal is to podium in the women’s elite race. In 2018 we entered close to 70 athletes from STS. We are training hard and cannot wait to be back.”

“I started competing in Xterra as a junior in 2014, racing the Lite to qualify for the ITU Junior World Championship,” says Ferreira. “Although I have participated in many road events, my true passion lies off-road and Xterranever disappoints.”

According to MacNair, it was Ferreira who recommended Xterra. “I haven’t looked back,” he says. “I really enjoy the family vibe. When the gun goes off it’s full-on racing, but once you cross the finish line everyone is back to being friends, and the family vibe continues. My goal is to have as much fun as I can when I race and try get into the Top 5 overall.”

Junior adventure seekers can experience the largest Xterra in the world by signing up for the Xterra Kids Race on Saturday 23 February.

“This race is always a source of much excitement,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports. “It is heartwarming to see moms, dads, grandparents and siblings supporting the junior event warriors from start to finish.”

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