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    ROAG Series winners recognised in virtual prizegiving

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    The glittering annual prizegiving for South Africa’s richest mountain biking series, the Quattro ROAG Series powered by Momentum, was held in a virtual format at the weekend with prizewinners “meeting” on a Zoom call to be honoured.

    The 2020 mountain bike champion Stuart Marais and Christie Hearder and  trail runners Carel Le Roux and Sarah Gray, along with all other prizewinners, receive their prizes by courier and the ceremony was held as a virtual format with the festivities and formalities being broadcast via Zoom.

    The 2020 edition of the popular mountain biking and trail running series, which is based on nine events held throughout KwaZulu-Natal, was massively disrupted by Covid-19, but series organisers ROAG (Race Organisers Admin Group) managed to cobble together events with some creative use of virtual and semi-virtual races.

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    Marais was the top male rider with a haul of 486 points from his best five results. That was enough to narrowly edge out Brendan van Eeden by just 26 points with defending champion Tyronne White ending third. Marais won at Wartburg, Kamberg, Husqvarna and Giba Gorge, while Van Eeden took the honours in a late-season rush of the final three events at Eston (where he beat Marais in a photo-finish sprint), Karkloof and Drakensberg Gardens.

    There was some irony to the fact Marais was on screen to receive his prize for the Covid-ravaged ROAG series.

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    “I currently have Covid but luckily only have mild symptoms,” said the recently-married champion by phone on Sunday. “So it was somewhat ironic that I was able to “attend” the prizegiving because I am currently quarantine. Had the function been held live I would have been forced to miss the festivities.”

    Hearder was an easy winner in the overall women’s category with her best five results being wins at Wartburg, the Husqvarna and Drakensberg Gardens events while two second-place finishes ensured she ended on 472 points, just less than 100 ahead of second-placed Sanchia Malan.

    “A big shout out to ROAG for sending the prizes to every single prizewinner, along with one or two other goodies,” said the Pietermaritzburg-based Hearder. “2020 was a difficult year for athletes. I think we all went into the year with set goals and structures and then Covid happened and we had to adjust.

    “It was difficult to not have those races to work towards. I kept motivated because for me it is more about keeping fit and healthy and having fun on the bike … so what got me through 2020 was to just enjoy the process.

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    The trail running series was virtually a walk in the trail parks for Sarah Gray who collected a perfect haul of 500 points with five victories in the women’s category, while men’s overall winner Carel le Roux earned his title with consistent finishes throughout the year to add to wins in the events at Holla Trails and Husqvarna.

    While there were a few other perfect 500-point champions in the age groups, the tightest race was in the sub-junior girls MTB class where Errin Mackridge and Jodi Mackinnon both ended on 486 points. With three wins and three second-place finishes each, the count-back system needed to take into account their seventh-best results before Mackridge was declared the narrowest possible winner.

    Full list of ROAG Series prizewinners

    LONG MTB

    Overall Male: 1. Stuart Marais 486; 2. Brendan Van Eeden 460; 3. Tyronne White 408; 4. Andrew Hill 406; 5. Michael Foster 304

    Overall Female: 1. Christie-Leigh Hearder 472; 2. Sanchia Malan 378; 3. Nadine Nunes 326; 4. 4th Belinda Mason 306; 5. Bronwyn Evans 247

    Youth Male: 1. Justin Swanepoel 486; 2. Nicholas Burczak 460; 3. Connor Steytler 394

    Youth Female: 1. Riley Smith 486

    Junior Male: 1. Michael Foster 500; 2. Matthew Scott 418; 3. Brent Yelland 363

    Junior Female: 1. Sarah Ryan 472

    Senior Male: 1. Brendan Van Eeden 500; 2. Dean Van Dyk 432; 3. Brad Thompson 406

    Senior Female: 1. Christie-Leigh Hearder 500

    Sub Vet Male: 1. Stuart Marais 500; 2. Tyronne White 432; 3. Andrew Hill 418

    Sub Vet Female: 1. Sanchia Malan 472; 2. Shireen Swart 382; 3. Alison Wasserfall 304

    Vet Male: 1. Deon Verwey 436; 2. Grant Lavers 390; 3. Russell Knight 341

    Vet Female: 1. Belinda Mason 472; 2. Nadine Nunes 460

    Master Male: 1. Deon Le Roux 486; 2. Casper Badenhorst 444; 3. Marc Adam 396

    Master Female: 1. Bronwyn Evans 460

    INTERMEDIATE MTB

    Nipper Boys: 1. Max Johnson 500; 2. Christopher Mason 430; 3. Blake Wright 382

    Nipper Girls: 1. Leah Sophie Mitchell 486

    Sprog Boys: 1. Joshua Johnson 500; 2. Seth Aszalos 444; 3. Cade Smith 363

    Sprog Girls: 1. Madison Bateson 500; 2. Chloe Allison 446; 3. Tyla-May Smale 430

    Sub Junior Boys: 1. Omar Wilson 500; 2. Chadd Smith 410; 3. Joshua Metcalf 384

    Sub Junior Girls: 1.* Errin Mackridge 486; 2.* Jodi Mackinnon 486; 3. Amber Cole 406 (*the tie was broken by the 7th best race result)

    TRAIL RUN

    Long Course:

    Overall Male: 1. Carel Le Roux 401

    Overall Female: 1. Sarah Gray 500; 2. Hayley Mackinnon 394; 3. Alison Wasserfall 258; 4. Karen Maiden 257

    Short Course

    Overall Male: 1. Charli Mlotshwa 500; 2. Luke Newlands 259

    Overall Female: 1. Hana Newlands 460

    Issued by Gameplan Media, written by Tim Whitfield

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