Successful 2023 so far for Summerplace MTB Team
The Summerplace Mountain Bike Team has enjoyed a successful few months on the South African racing scene, with our riders excelling at regional, provincial and national level. Find out more about what our team members have achieved and what’s coming up for them in the next few weeks.
It was always going to be a big year for Lilian Baber (pictured below). Her final year as a Junior came with some pressure and she’s handled that with poise. Lilian has focused on XCO racing and has won every race she’s entered, including the South African championships! It’s not her first national XCO title, but it’s her most prestigious because the Junior category has International Cycling Union recognition.
Lilian also contested the South African Marathon Championships in Paarl where she finished a close second to secure the silver medal in an event that took the riders on a very challenging course. Her primary focus over the next few weeks is the African XCO Champs in early June, followed by a month of racing in Europe.
Inus du Preez (pictured above) is enjoying a good season. In his second year in the Under-23 men’s division, he’s up against immense depth, especially in events were the Under-23 and Elite men are combined. It’s Inus’s first year of racing under the guidance of a coach and he’s improved considerably over last year.
He’s secured a couple of top five finishes at provincial XCO races in the Western Cape and Gauteng and he was seventh at the South African XCO Champs, just three minutes off the second and third-placed riders. At the South African Marathon Champs in Paarl, Inus finished 22nd in a race that combined the Under-23 and Elite men.
Liz Pretorius (pictured above) has been focusing on marathon racing this year. She finished 6th overall at Round 1 of the King Price Trailseeker Series event at Banhoek, but had a mechanical problem at Round 2 at Buffelsdrift. She won the overall title at the Liqui Moly MTB Challenge at Sondela, Limpopo in late May as a race-sharpener ahead of the Trailseeker race at Van Gaalen in June.
Respect Ramahasia (pictured above) is also focusing on marathon distance events. At Round 2 of the King Price Trailseeker Series at Buffelsdrift, he finished 53rd overall and 18th in the Senior Men’s division. He was then fifth overall the Liqui Moly MTB Challenge at Sondela in late May and will be in action at Round 3 of the Trailseeker Series at Van Gaalen in June.
While Respect and Liz will continue to race in local marathons over the coming weeks, Lilian and Inus prepare to head to Europe for a month where they will contest four international races in Switzerland and France. This is part of Lilian’s preparation for the 2023 UCI World Championships in Scotland, while for Inus, it’s a chance to experience the intensity of European racing.