Top-five finish for Combrinck, Bell

Gawie Combrinck. Photo: Daniel Coetzee for

After finishing third on stage one on Saturday, Buys (Pyga Eurosteel) started Sunday’s leg 22 seconds back and in aggressive mood, setting the pace from the start with his Pyga Eurosteel teammate, Matthys Beukes and putting Heyns under constant pressure.

But Buys and Beukes were simply too strong and they completed the perfect double with Beukes claiming the stage win and Buys grabbing second place and the overall title. It was the appropriate reprieve for Beukes who suffered a broken wheel while battling upfront during stage one and was forced to withdraw from the stage.

Nico Bell. Photo: Marike Cronje for

On Saturday, Heyns outsmarted his rivals to grab the stage win in the 70,5 kilometre leg and secure the overnight lead. He was followed by Nico Bell (Team NAD Pro) and Buys respectively. But the Pyga Eurosteel pair was just too strong on Sunday’s 62,4 kilometre route, claiming the top two spots.

Bell finished third on Sunday to secure second overall for the two-day event, with Heyns in fourth and Gawie Combrinck (Team NAD Pro) rounding out the top five respectively on the second day. In the overall though, Heyns finished third, Combrinck fourth and Dylan Rebello (Imbuko Momsen) fifth.

The Ashburton Investments National MTB Series rules for its two-day event permit a rider to compete on day two even if they don’t finish day one. Series points are allocated for each day’s performance as well as for the combined result for the two-days.

“The racing was great. I’ve never really had a good result at Dullstroom, so it was good to finish second overall. The Pyga guys made the pace really hard. Matthys was quite fresh after not being able to finish yesterday’s stage. With this wind, it made the race even harder, so it was definitely a difficult race,” said Bell.

“Gawie is getting back to full strength. He helped me quite a lot at the beginning of today’s stage. It’s great to have us both finish in the top five. Very good for our sponsors and our team,” added Bell.

Photo: Daniel Coetzee for

The seventh and final round of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series 2017 will take place on October 14 and 15 in Kaapsehoop.

Men combined final positions (top five)
1. Philip Buys (RSA) Pyga Eurosteel – 04:47:47
2. Nico Bell (RSA) Team NAD Pro – 04:48:38
3. Gert Heyns (RSA) Ascendis Health – 04:49:59
4. Gawie Combrinck (RSA) Team NAD Pro – 04:54:19
5. Dylan Rebello (RSA) Imbuko Momsen – 04:56:49.

Carli Koch
Sports Editor

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