Oudtshoorn – Dutch endurance mountain bike racing specialist, Jean Biermans (Sunweb Napoleon Games), has won the third annual 36ONE Mountain Bike Challenge in Oudtshoorn, shattering the previous record in the process.
Biermans clocked 14 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds for the gruelling 361km race to claim the title and the course record at the weekend.
The event is South Africa’s longest full-support mountain bike race, taking the competitors over a distance of 361km with an accumulated elevation gain of 5200 metres.
Competitors have a maximum of 36.1 hours to complete the course, the first 10 hours being completed through the night.
Biermans started the race conservatively, moving through the first checkpoint at 81km just over six minutes behind early leader Dana Schutte.
By the second checkpoint, at 183km, the Dutchman was in second place, literally on the wheel of then leader Jacques van Zyl.
But by the third checkpoint, at 280km, Biermans had a 30-minute lead over Van Zyl, which he extended to just over 46 minutes by the finish, with Schutte a distant third to round out the podium. Biermans sliced a large chunk off the 2013 record of 17:07:23, set by Charles Nienaber.
Hannele Steyn claimed her third successive title in the women’s category, improving on her 2013 winning time and the course record by almost an hour with a time of 17:28:57. Kirsty Thompson and Thea-Mari van der Sandt were second and third respectively.
Darren Lill and Charles Keey claimed the two-rider relay title in a course record of 12:28:18, almost two hours faster than the 2013 mark of 14:20:58.