Pietermaritzburg – As riders converge from all corners of the country for the third edition BSi Steel dusi2c mountain bike stage race from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban through the Valley of a Thousand Hills, the popular event is rapidly assuming a character as a premium mixed racing team competition.
With three strong mixed teams entered into the 2015 edition of the race the pressure will be on with 2014 winner Eugene Botha back to take on the race in TIB Insurance colours with Samantha Saunders – who will be taking part in her first dusi2c .
Saunders has been in good form recently as the Mpumalanga based rider rode to a fifth place finish at the National MTB Marathon Championships in Van Gaalen in the North West Province but a slightly worrying factor for Sanders is that one of her rivals at dusi2c this weekend Bianca Haw finished just ahead of her in fourth.
The duel will come amongst the men though with Haw pairing up with boyfriend and adventure sport all-rounder Andrew Houston who is a competent mountain biker but has come to be seen as more at home in a canoe with a top ten finish at the 2015 Dusi Canoe Marathon and some local knowledge about the valley.
Haw and Houston have also been fully involved in the preparation of the trails as another big field of riders prepare to gather in Pietermaritzburg later this week and that might hand the Red Bull Seed’co pair a slight advantage going into the race but the experience of Botha will be something that could possibly counter their local knowledge.
The final pair that will be contesting for a spot on the top step of the podium are the RMB Change a Life husband and wife duo of Martin and Jeannie Dreyer. The pair produced some quality riding at the recent Nedbank sani2c which saw them finish in second place overall in the mixed category behind the more fancied Sasol Racing pair of Johan Labuschagne and Yolandi du Toit.
This result has meant that the pair are going to be a tough combination to beat however the ‘Dusi Duke’ has played down their chances and he has insisted that they are going to go out there and enjoy themselves mentioning that if his wife wants to win she should have chosen a stronger partner.
It is the first time that the pair will tackle the race both as a pair and individually but as Martin spends a lot of his time training with his RMB Change a Life Academy in the Valley of a Thousand Hills the seven-time Dusi Canoe Marathon champion understands the trails that are laid out which should stand the pair in good stead heading into the race.
The 2015 BSi Steel dusi2c takes place from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Durban’s Blue Lagoon on 20 & 21 June. More information can be found at www.dusi2c.co.za