It was a spectacular day for Xterra racing out in Elgin Grabouw on Sunday 24 February 2019 with Bradley Weiss (Stellenbosch) and Haley Preen (Hout Bay) throwing down the gauntlet in the Elite Men’s and Women’s Race respectively in their pursuit of the coveted title of Xterra South Africa Champion.
Taking place at the Elgin Grabouw Country Club, an area that has affectionately become known asXterra Country, the 2019 Xterra South Africa Championship put off-road triathletes through a 1.5 km swim in the Eikenhof Dam, a +- 27 km mountain bike course followed by a 12.4 km trail run.
“It was perfect weather to race today,” said a very happy Weiss. “This is my 10th or 11th year racing in Grabouw and I think this is the best weather that we’ve ever had. There was no wind, the water was flat and it was cool, a little bit overcast which is great racing weather. Coming into the race having won the 70.3 South African Championship meant that my form was pretty good. It’s always tricky switching between road and mountain bike, so I had to do a bit of mountain biking leading into the event. I still didn’t feel like I’d spent enough time on the mountain bike, but I loved the new course. It had a lot of climbing and I really enjoyed the new single track sections that were added. The run was flat and fast, completely different to what I am used to racing here in Grabouw. I am very happy to take the win and another South African title.
Weiss successfully defended his Xterra SA Champion title in a deserving time of 2 hours 29 minutes 8 seconds. Cameron Macnair came in second, while Michael Ferreira finished third.
In the women’s elite race Haley Preen claimed her first Xterra South Africa championship title in an impressive time of 2 hours 51 minutes 40 seconds.
“The swim is always my weakest discipline, but I feel that I had a fairly good swim. I think I came out the water in fourth place (in the women’s race),” said Preen. “I caught Vicky and the leading woman on the first climb on the mountain bike route.”
Preen entered the transition area in first place and maintained her lead on the trail run. “I had a good run as well,” continues Preen. “I love Xterra. I just love the whole off-road triathlon vibe. My goal was to make the podium today. Crossing the finish line in first place was amazing. XTERRA is the best family event and the mountain bike course is amazing.”
Vicky van der Merwe came in second, while Johandri Leicester finished third
The Xterra South African championship started the 2019 Xterra World Tour. Entrants stood a chance to qualify for the Xterra world championship race, the last in a series of more than 100 off-road triathlon races held in 30 countries and 38 US States.
The Xterra Grabouw (full race) also served as a selection race for the 2019 ITU Cross Tri World Championships in Pontevedra, Spain.
In order to be considered for the SA team athletes must be fully licenced with TSA before race day.
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