Oudtshoorn local Etienne Plaatjies broke up the dominant group of Stellenbosch locals when he crossed the finish line of Stage 1 of the Tankwa Trail, and he did so in style claiming the stage victory in an astonishing 2 hours 6 minutes and 19 seconds. Leading lady, Landie Greyling, made it 5 of out 6 Stellenboschers in the top 6 as she crossed the finish line in a time of 2 hours 35 minutes and 18.
The other runners from the Winelands were the first two men’s teams across the line, first in the men’s team category AJ Calitz and Christiaan Greyling (2 hours 19 minutes 52 seconds) followed by Mauritz Janse Van Rensburg and Niel Swanepoel (2 hours 26 minutes 57 seconds). Calitz and Greyling had decided to run together as a team at breakfast, which caught a few people off guards and opened up the mixed category since it Landie and Christiaan had originally entered as a mixed team.
Following Landie Greyling home in a time of 2 hours 39 minutes and 24 seconds, just over four minutes down on Greyling – which sets up Stage 2 nicely, was the strong climbing Katya Soggot.
The stage started with a 300 meter neutral zone where after the pace stayed relatively steady, with AJ Calitz setting the pace and chatting away. When the leaders hit the first singletrack at the 4km mark Plaatjies decided to push on at his own pace and that was the last anyone saw of him as he extended his lead to over the chasing pack to 13 minutes by the end of the stage. In the ladies race Landie Greyling and Katja Soggot run together to waterpoint 2 at the 19km mark before Greyling started to pull away. But with Stage 2 crossing the Witzenberg Mountains and climbing 900 meters in total it should play to Soggot’s strengths a little more.
Stage 1’s route circled through the virgin fynbos and among the apple, pear and stone fruit orchards of the Koue Bokkeveld along some of Kaleo Manor’s newly built singletrack. The 32km route with 580 meters of altitude gain was made up primarily of singletrack, with rugged jeep tracks linking singletrack sections in the more remote regions and dusty farm roads providing the remaining distance. The route kindly followed contours for much of the Stage 1 rather than providing steep climbs, which made for fast racing.
Saturday’s Stage 2 sees the trail runners being ferried into the scenic Witzenberg Valley, where they’ll explore a few of the famous Hanekom Brother’s Trails before climbing out of the Valley and back into the Bokkeveld over an old wagon trail. The stage will start at 07:00 and you can follow it live on Twitter by following @TankwaTrail.
Tankwa Trail Stage 1 Results:
- Etienne Plaatjies (Time: 02:06:19 | Pace: 03:56 per km)
- Jakob Volmoer (Time: 02:38:47 | Pace: 04:57 per km)
- Willie Roux (Time: 02:39:01 | Pace: 04:58 per km)
- Landie Greyling (Time: 02:35:18 | Pace: 04:51 per km)
- Katya Soggot (Time: 02:39:24 | Pace: 04:58 per km)
- Marlize du Toit (Time: 03:18:27 | Pace: 06:12 per km)
- Christiaan Greyling & AJ Calitz (Time: 02:19:52 | Pace: 04:22)
- Niel Swanepoel & Mauritz Janse Van Rensburg (Time: 02:26:57 | Pace 04:35)
- Jan Ham & Cole Stanton (Time: 02:55:35 | Pace: 05:29)
- Tracy Forbes & Jana Trojan (Time: 03:07:00 | Pace: 05:50)
- Leslee Salzmann & Tarryn de Beer (Time: 03:13:02 | Pace: 06:01)
- Veresa Domingo & Sandra Leyck (Time: 03:16:13 | Pace: 06:07)
- Greg Hyson & Nikki-Leigh Piper (Time: 03:31:16 | Pace: 06:36)
- Chauvet Eline & Piat Quentin (Time: 03:44:49 | Pace: 07:01)
- Douglas Davey & Jessie Davey (Time: 04:07:45 | Pace: 07:44)
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