SA XCO Cup #3, 26 March
James: 1st place
The race for Olympic qualification is hotting up and the Stihl SA XCO Cup Series events are a battleground for the country’s top cross-country racers. Having won the first outing in Mankele and then finishing a disappointing fifth in his hometown race at Helderberg, Team Spur’s James Reid had a point to prove. The new Wolwespruit course, just outside Pretoria, was the scene of the fierce tussle for the podium.
Reid broke away fairly early in the race, and worked hard to build a comfortable lead over second placed Brendon Davids (Trek Racing Team). Philip Buys (Scott Factory Racing powered by LCB) trailed in third and Alan Hatherly (Kargo Pro MTB Team) was a long way back in fourth. James emerged victorious, despite a nasty crash in the final lap of the race.
“The race was a confirmation that I’m back in the cross country scene. I went out hard from the start, had a good mid section and unfortunately a bit of a crash at the end! It was good to put my cards on the table after the ups and downs of the past few weeks” James admitted. “It’s really cool to see the growth of the national cross country series especially the number of riders coming through from the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League.”
James now looks to the high mountain trails of Afriski Resort in Lesotho, which play host to the African Continental Championships this weekend. “It’s super important for my Olympic hopes and this back-to-back racing is similar to what we experience in Europe racing UCI World Cups. It should be interesting to see what happens this weekend,” James said.