This year, the invitational racing group consisted of both the top elite- and the top sub-vet riders in the country. Due to this addition the group was very competitive and well over 300 riders.
The race started fast and furiously out of the morning darkness. Nerves were sky high and crashes were imminent throughout the opening few kilometres. The first of many crashes came, true to form, down hospital bend. Brothers Sport’s top rider, Lance, was caught in the crash along with many Bonitas riders. The head wind on the Blue route kept the field together and allowed the crash victims to return. “TV time” attacks came relentlessly from both sides of the road up until Boyes Drive.
Due to the fact that we as amateurs were racing against the biggest fish in South Africa, the four of us decided to save ourselves and stay sheltered until Chappies. This did not work out too well for PD as he was caught up in a crash just before the climb and failed to re-join the accelerating bunch before the climb. The race normally stays together up Chappies for the pro team sprinters but this year was very different. A small move escaped before Chappies and created a springboard for the climbers to jump across on the climb.
The race split at a time we didn’t expect and due to our small team, wrong positioning and a lack of pro rider assistance we were unable to bridge the gaps and move into the race winning bunch. Lance did however managed to make it over Suikerbossie with the pro’s while the rest of us had to just be happy with finishing in the next bunch.
Overall it was a good experience and a day we, as small fish in a pro pond, learnt a lot from!