340 cyclists descend on Otjiwa for Gravel & Dirt mountainbike race
Irene Steyn won the 80km woman’s race in last weekend’s Gravel & Dirt event with a comfortable 6-minute lead but Drikus Coetzee barely scraped into first position in the men’s race, winning by a few milliseconds.
Nevertheless, Coetzee proved again why he is one of Namibia’s top MTB athletes when he crossed the finish line with a time of 2:37:19, with Fanie Steenkamp right behind him on 2:37:20, mere milliseconds separating the two. Ingram Cuff took third place in 2:37:29.
In the women’s race, Jeanne Heunis came in second in 3:02:43, followed closely by Anneke Steenkamp in third place with a time of 3:05:58.
The third leg of the 2017 Gravel & Dirt Marathon MTB Series started at Otjiwa Lodge in the Otjiwarongo district on Saturday, 14 May 2017. 340 cyclists and 45 runners entered this year’s Gravel & Dirt Otjiwa Eagle Ride, truly making it one of Namibia’s most popular cycling events. Many familiar faces were absent due to the African Continental MTB XCO Championships being held at the same time, leaving the field wide open for some new riders to make their presence known.
It was an incredible sight seeing so many local riders at the starting point, many seasoned veterans as well as new faces, staring down the first kilometer of dirt road with ambition and determination, aware of the uniqueness of the course itself and the challenges to come. Otjiwa in general has been known to be a fast race, with the occasional river and rocky areas, as well as the wildlife to watch out for.
The Otjiwa Eagle Ride was sponsored by main sponsor Hollard, joined by Namibia Breweries Ltd, E-Med Rescue, Food Lovers Market, Squirt Lube, Shanic Embroidery, Otjiwa Eagle Lodge, KIA Motors and Cymot.
The next event in the series is the Africa Safari Lodge MTB Festival that will test the stamina of Namibia’s best in the harsh winter conditions in the south.