NAD’s Bell claims title after a thrilling four-man sprint

Bell claimed the men’s title in a thrilling four-man sprint.

In the men’s race, the pace was fierce from the start on a 67-kilometre course that was considered relatively flat and fast. By30 kilometres, there was still a lead group of more than 20.

But the distance began to take its toll at that high intensity and riders began to slip off the back in the second half.

By the final 10 kilometres the lead group was down to five, comprising Bell (Team NAD Pro), Philip Buys (Pyga EuroSteel), Max Knox (New Holland/This Way Out), Arno du Toit (LCB Racing) and Wessel Botha.

As the finish drew closer, Botha dropped off, leaving four riders up front.

With only two kilometres remaining, both Bell and Knox took an unexpected tumble when they hit a deep mud patch.

They got up quickly and began to chase down Buys and Du Toit who had built up a small lead.

With one kilometre remaining, Knox and Bell caught Buys and Du Toit and a sprint finish was inevitable.

Also read: Bell wins Mpumalanga road title

Bell managed to get into the final corner first, ahead of Knox.

The Team NAD Pro rider then kept his lead to the finish line, with Buys coming past Knox to take second place.

Knox rolled over the line in third with Du Toit taking fourth place. Bell’s winning time was 02 hours 25 minutes 21 seconds.

“It’s always hard from the start at these Nissan TrailSeeker races. Everyone is watching each other and it’s a high intensity pace virtually throughout.

All our form is quite good ahead of the Epic, so it was quite a close battle right to the end,” said Bell.

“I had a good look at the finish section before the start today and knew I had to get into the final corner first to be in with a shot at the win. It worked out well in the end,” smiled Bell.

“It was game on when Max and Nico caught us after the mud crash they had,” explained Buys.

“Nico has a strong, long sprint and we knew he would drag it out from way back. It was very exciting. They made some nice improvements to the course this year with bits of new single track added on. It kept you on your toes,” said last year’s winner, Knox.

“I knew it would be a tactical race and just like last year, it was sprint finish between four guys. A sprint finish is always a bit of a gamble. Last year it paid off for me and I won, just pipping Nico. This year Nico won. Some you win, some you lose.”

Also read: Knox a rider to reckon with

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