Hatherly and McDougall dominate XCO Cup Final

The final round of the SA National MTB Cup Series XCO took place at the world class Cascades MTB Park on Saturday 17 June. Team Spur’s Alan Hatherly displayed his phenomenal speed and skill set on a bike to once again take the top honours in the Elite Men’s race and claim the overall Cup Series win. The Elite Women’s race was won by marathon rider Amy Beth McDougall, and Cameron Wright (AUS) and Tiffany Keep took home the Junior titles on the day.

Hatherly has had an outstanding season so far, and chatted about the hard work he’s put in behind the scenes. “I’ve been racing flat out since the age of eight it has always been a massive passion for me, so going out and having a big social life has never been a huge priority, but my move to Cape Town has been very good for me training-wise,” he said.

He mentioned and appreciated the encouragement and help received with training rides from housemate and mountain bike enthusiast Matt Beers. “Training in Durban by myself last year was great, but when racing against myself, I could never push myself, so it’s nice to have someone to ride with and test yourself against,” he said.

Hatherly has mixed up his training routine dramatically, and also stressed the importance of lots of sleep.

Hatherly thanked his team, and the dedication that they give to every detail of the cross-country bikes, making sure that at every race he and his bike are fully prepared to give it horns.

Pyga Eurosteel’s Philip Buys made a phenomenal come back to fight hard each lap after a mechanical early on in the race to grab the second spot from 15th position. After another impressive ride, the third place position on the day went to Jan Withaar.


The Elite Women’s title went to Valencia’s Amy Beth McDougall, with OMX Pro Team’s Mariske Strauss and Bianca Haw (Red Bull) crossing the line in second and third respectively. “I knew I was in quite good form but I haven’t races cross-country for a while. I did two races last year but before that, the last time was in 2013,”said McDougall.

McDougall had no idea what her form was like in this particular discipline, and sat with Cup Series leader Strauss until the fourth lap. “I felt strong and so I pushed harder and didn’t look back,” she added.

Off to Germany next week to take place in the World MTB Marathon Championships, McDougall will also be taking part in two cross-country cups while in Europe. “I’m glad I got to see where I was on a cross-country track, and today’s race just reminded me of why it will always be my first love,” she concluded.

In the Junior Women’s category, first year Junior Tiffany Keep (PAW) powered to first place after an incredible ride and managed to finish her four laps in under an hour. Keep loved her race at Cascades and said that it is always a challenge for her. Keep holds on to the elements of fun on the bike but acknowledged the focus needed when transitioning between Youth and Junior. She said: “This year has really been about scouting the age group and just seeing what its all about. The jump from Youth to Junior is quite a big one in the greater scheme of things overseas, as the girls take it very seriously and the racing is really tough. Its an important year, and the first year we’re able to qualify for World Champs and earn points in the Junior World Serious. So although you need to have fun out there, you still need to work hard to try and earn those points.”

In the Junior Men’s race, former KwaZulu-Natal local and Australian Junior National Champion, Cameron Wright beat Rossouw Bekker and Johann Trotzky in second and third to take the title. He said: “I wasn’t keen for the lengthy flight – it’s a long way and 24 hours of traveling, and getting flu on top of it all wasn’t ideal, but coming back to race on my old home track against some of my mates and definitely a few new faces out as well was awesome. The race went to plan for me today – just hold it from the beginning and make sure nobody follows me.” Wright heads back to Australia on Sunday evening.

Also taking place on Saturday morning was a Development Day held for keen young riders from various districts around the province. These riders raced against their peers on a track parallel to parts of the national track. Whilst improving their bike and competition skills, everyone who took part was able to also watch the some of the professional action taking place, providing much exposure to the sport of mountain biking.