Robertson shines at first X-DIRT Triathlon Challenge race
The new X-DIRT Triathlon Challenge kicked off at Buffelspoort Dam in the Northwest Province on Sunday morning, December 1 with Riana Robertson showing devastating form to cross the line first overall in 1:09:15.0.
The Moreleta Park athlete showed her class early on in the 600m swim leg of the race to take the lead and never looked back as she dominated the 20km on road cycle leg and the 5km run discipline, even outclassing the men in the field, to claim yet another victory for the year.
With her closest rival being men’s 36 and over category competitor, Roger Skews of Kempton Park, who finished second overall in the on road race in 1:16:18.9 – nearly seven minutes behind her – it looks like Robertson will be tough to beat in the remaining three races in the X-DIRT Triathlon Challenge.
Considering she also won the Gauteng North Triathlon Championship (Olympic distance) last weekend, the 2013 Sasol Cross Triathlon Series and the 2013 Momentum Health Meg-3 National Duathlon Series the Hoërskool Die Wilgers teacher currently looks unstoppable.
Third overall, but first in the men’s 20-35 category, was Eben van Niekerk of Witbank in 1:17:08.3 followed by Tobie Schalkwyk of Randburg in 1:21:02.3.
The pick among the juniors in the on road event was up-and-coming youngster, Charné Prinsloo of Witbank who not only won the girls (16 to 19) section in 1:17:22.0 but also finished fourth overall.
Having, in 2012 won the Junior Cross Triathlon SA champs, finished third in the Junior Cross Triathlon World champs in Alabama and this year claimed a second place in the Junior African Triathlon Championships in Morocco and a fifth place at the Junior European Cup race in Turkey, Robertson will do well to keep an eye on Prinsloo in the remaining X-DIRT Challenge events.
What makes this triathlon competition unique is that competitors can also choose to go the off road cycle route (a 16 mountain bike stage) for more of a challenge while still doing the 600m swim and 5km run legs with the on road participants.
Taking top honours in this (off road) division in the men’s 20 to 35 category was Nikolai De Figueiredo of Skeerpoort in 1:46:55.4 followed by Mark Cosijn of Pretoria East in 1:47:21.5
However, completing this course in faster times were the top three men’s 36 and over athletes lead by Ryan Mitchell of Lonehill (1:18:34.8), Gordon Phillips of Bryanston in 1:21:58.6 and Shaun Long of Fourways in 1:38:16.9.
The top off road woman competitor was a junior (16-19), Marlette Smit of Witbank who finished in 1:22:02.1 with Denine van Heerden (1:27:37.3) of Sunninghill winning the women’s 20 to 35 section.
Another interesting facet of the X-DIRT Triathlon Challenge is that participants can enter as a two-member team, with both team members required to complete all three disciplines and finish within two minutes of each other to be eligible for a placing.
Exhibiting great teamwork to win this category on Sunday was “Team Young” consisting of Johnny Young and Hermé Visser of Rustenburg who crossed the line in 1:16:01.3 and 1:16:01.2 respectively. Second was the “LA Sport” duo of Marlize Moolman (1:36:11.9) and Johan Bornman (1:36:12.1) of Arcadia with first time triathletes, Tenika Ryan (2:05:45.8) of Hartebeespoort Dam and Johann Lamprecht (2:05:45.8) of Witbank collecting the bronze medals.
A special medal was given to one of the oldest competitors on the triathlon circuit, Neville Muir of Pretoria East who celebrated his 75th birthday the day before the race and still finished the event in 2:24:05.2.
Contributing to making the X-DIRT Triathlon Challenge a family affair a kiddies race was also held prior to the main race with Rodney Robinson (14) of Roodepoort crossing the line first after doing a 150 swim, 7km off road cycle and 2.5km run.
For multi-sport enthusiasts who would like to compete in this unique new competition entries are open for the next race which takes place at Roodeplaat Dam, just outside Pretoria on Sunday December 15. X-DIRT action will then resume in 2014 with the third event in the Challenge taking place on February 16 in Vanderbijlpark followed by the final race, once again at Buffelspoort on March 2.
Apart from the nearly R100 000 up for grabs over the four events – with prize money presented for each race – all races will be televised by SuperSport and Discovery Health members can earn up to 4250 Discovery Vitality Points by participating
Online entries can be done by visiting www.xdirt.co.za