South African marathon champions Max Knox and Robyn de Groot did their national titles  justice at the weekend when they beat off strong challenges to win the men and women’s titles respectively at Round 3 of the Nissan TrailSeeker Gauteng Mountain Bike Series near Pretoria.

Both riders were forced to sprint for their victories at the end of the 63km race, which took place at Legends MX, a new mountain biking venue to the east of Pretoria.

In the men’s race, Knox (New Holland Agriculture) came out on top when a five-rider sprint was needed to decide the podium positions after a close race on a course that wasn’t particularly long, hilly or technical.

Knox clocked a fast winning time of 02 hours 08 minutes in what was his fifth consecutive marathon victory. He narrowly beat Nico Bell (Team NAD) to the line with SCOTT LCB Factory Racing’s Arno du Toit taking third place. Team NAD’s Gawie Combrinck and Jan Withaar were fourth and fifth respectively in one of the closest finishes ever seen at a South African marathon race.

“I recced the last bit of the course before the race and I knew that the rider in front coming into the final turn would win the race. The front rider gets the straightest, fastest line at the end and the others are limited by barriers and then have to go wide to get around the front guy. I managed to be the front guy at the last corner and then just kept on the gas to the finish line,” explained Knox.

Close to 2500 mountain bikers competed in the four different distances on offer, with the biggest number in the half-marathon where Wessel Botha and Bonny Swanepoel were the male and female winners respectively.

“It’s always exciting to find new race venues close to home for Gauteng riders. It’s quite flat and fast but there are is some really nice singletrack here too,” said Fritz Pienaar of Advendurance, organisers of the Nissan TrailSeeker Series.

“We had a lot of riders here participating today and it’s encouraging how many youngster and women there were, which is the great thing about the Nissan TrailSeeker events, which are aimed at giving everyone a chance to enjoy a Saturday morning mountain bike race,” added Pienaar.

Round 4 of the Nissan TrailSeeker Gauteng Series takes place on 1 October 2016 at Buffelsdrift, Pretoria North. To enter, or for more information, visit

2016 Nissan TrailSeeker Series, Gauteng

Round 3, Legend MX, Pretoria EAST, 27 August 2016

Leading results

Overall men – 63km marathon:

1 Max Knox (New Holland Agriculture) 2hrs08min33sec

2 Nico Bell (Team NAD) 2:08:34

3 Arno du Toit (SCOTT LCB Factory Racing) 2:08:35

4 Gawie Combrinck (Team NAD) 2:08:36

5 Jan Withaar 2:08:36

6 Heine Engelbrecht 2:08:40

7 Guylin van den Berg 2:10:31

8 Wessel Redelinghuys 2:11:46

9 Alan Gordon 2:11:48

10 Grant Usher (Kargo Pro) 2:11:52

Overall women – 63km marathon:

1 Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health) 2:22:55

2 Samantha Sanders (Valencia) 2:22:56

3 Theresa Ralph (Galileo Risk) 2:24:28

4 Amy-Beth McDougall (Valencia) 2:24:40

5 Vanessa Bell (Bells Cycling) 2:24:41

6 Adrienne Moolman 2:31:15

7 Maricel Bekker 2:33:26

8 Kim le Court (Time Freight) 2:35:08

9 Mia van Rooyen 2:38:05

10 Nadine Visage 2:40:20

Overall male – 40km half-marathon

1 Wessel Botha 1:25:57

2 Henry Liebenberg 1:26:48

3 Jean-Pierre Lloyd 1:27:01

Overall female – 40km half-marathon

1 Bonny Swanepoel 1:46:37

2 Monique du Toit 1:48:36

3 Odette Guy 1:48:37

For full results and Nissan TrailSeeker Series standings, visit


2016TrailSeekerGP3-post (1)

Max Knox and Nico Bell crossing the finish line centimeters apart, with Arno du Toit rounding off the podium
Photo Credit: Andrew Dry for ZC Marketing Consulting

 2016TrailSeekerGP3-post (2)

The elite ladies lead by Samantha Sanders, Robyn de Groot, Amy-Beth McDougall and Theresa Ralph
Photo Credit: Daniel Coetzee for ZC Marketing Consulting


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