International Competition Adding Some Spice to SA XCO Cup #3 In Limpopo

The 3rd round of the 2022 SA XCO Cup is set for Saturday the 30th of April presented by Insect Science. Summerplace Game Reserve hosted the series opening round last year and are once again hosting a race in 2022. With some positive adjustments having been made to the already phenomenal course we’re expecting some brilliant racing, particularly this year with the addition of an acclaimed international competitor.

Former Junior World Champion and current Australian and Oceania Champion, Cameron Wright, will add some international flavour to Round 3 of the Cycling South Africa XCO Series, presented by Insect Science at Summerplace Game Reserve, Limpopo on Saturday, 30 April.

Aussie national champ Cam Wright is set to elevate the competition at SA XCO Cup #3 at Summerplace Game Reserve PC: Wes Lonergan

The 22-year-old South African-born Wright, who moved to Australia a decade ago, will start as one of the favourites in a strong Elite men’s field. Wright, the 2017 Junior XCO World Champion, who races for the Giant Factory Racing Team, is in his final year as an Under-23 but will be racing in the Elite division in an effort to collect UCI points and prepare for the upcoming World Cup races in Europe.

The Summerplace Game Reserve course has undergone some alterations since last year that have looked to make the spectating easier, the riding tougher, and also allow for more overtaking. Both of these factors should have the excitement turned up to 11 for Saturday’s racing!

Arno Du Toit is currently leading the SA XCO Cup series having won the 1st round and the unfortunate event of the 2nd round being cancelled. PC: Sinead Nicola

Another of the favourites in the Elite men’s race is London Olympian, Philip Buys. The Pyga EuroSteel rider showed that he’s in good form after claiming the silver medal at the African Championships in Namibia last Saturday. Other top riders on the start list are Arno du Toit (Insect Science Mountain Biking) and Luke Moir (Trek South Africa).

Phil Buys is skilled in the technical terrain and a powerhouse. He placed 2nd behind Alan Hatherly at Summerplace Game Reserve last year (even with a puncture!) and so will be one to watch this weekend.

“I do feel quite good. My numbers are looking really solid and I would say my form is good enough for where I want to be for this race,” said Buys. “I like rocky technical climbing so I do think the course at Summerplace suits me. Being a bit bigger than the other guys, I have that bit of extra torque to power through that kind of terrain.”

Wright has done one race during his South African campaign, finishing third at a Namibian UCI Category 1 race in Windhoek. He was entered for Round 2 of the SA XCO Cup at Stellenbosch, but the race was cancelled due to dangerous conditions. The Australian says he’s looking forward to the Limpopo event.

Johan van Zyl forms part of the 3 man Computer Mania MTB Team set to race in Limpopo. PC: Sinead Nicola

“I struggled a bit with the altitude and dryness in Windhoek, but I’ve been in South Africa for a few weeks now and have got more accustomed to the conditions. I also like technical courses with short, punchy climbs which I believe is what the Summerplace course is like,” said Wright.

Wessel Botha will be repping Imbuko TypeDev Giant in Limpopo, adding to the depth of talent in the men’s field. PC: Sinead Nicola

Du Toit won the first Round of the SA Cup Series in Parys in early March and will be keen to shine at the event of which his team sponsor, Insect Science, is also the event sponsor. His teammates, Keagan Bontekoning and Gunther Katze will also be on the Elite men’s start line at the event, which carries a UCI Category 1 status.

Wessel Botha and Stuart Marais of Imbuko Type Dev have also entered as have the Computer Mania trio of Daniel van der Walt, Johan van Zyl and Luca Ruwiel. Seasoned Gauteng racer, Jan Withaar, will also be in action.

SA XCO Champ Candice Lill took the win at Summerplace Game Reserve in 2021 but it seems that Mariske Strauss will be challenging her for those honours on Saturday. PC: Sinead Nicola

In the Elite women’s race, the crowd will be treated to the ongoing duel between Mariske Strauss (Rola/Liv) and Candice Lill (Faces/Seattle). After teaming up to finish second overall at last month’s Absa Cape Epic, Strauss claimed the African Championships title in Namibia last weekend, beating Lill into second place by 39 seconds. Both are heading to Europe to race soon and will be eager to depart on a high note.

“I enjoyed racing the course at Summerplace last year and I’m almost back to full strength after being ill for a while. I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s race,” said Lill, who competed at the London and Tokyo Olympic Games.

Mariske Strauss is on a new ride in 2022 with Liv Cycling SA and seems to be going strong! After racing alongside Lill at Cape Epic, they are back to racing against one another between the XCO tape! PC: Sinead Nicola

The Summerplace XCO course is one of the more technical in the country. At 4.3km in distance with 185m ascent it’s a course with one longish climb and flowy descent with the remainder a series of short, steep climbs and descents on rocky terrain. The Nippers and Sprogs will race on a separate course.

There is a full schedule of age group racing starting from 08h00. WILD AIR Sports will have live coverage of the racing on our Instagram stories feed! Tune in for the action and watch the race highlights video on Sunday evening (Youtube or wildairsports.com)!

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