Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival Media Release

 No: kc2311

10 June 2023

Embargo : None

Written by : Tim Whitfield

Duncan completely at home at Karkloof Classic enduro

Karkloof Chief trail manager at Karkloof Country Club, Keira Duncan, made full use of his home-course advantage to take a convincing lead after Saturday's opening day of the Stihl Enduro MTB event that forms part of the Sappi Karkloof Classic.

The 23-year-old former national champion set the fastest times of the day at each of the five stages, and will go into Day 2 of the event with a comfortable 46-second lead over Maritzburg College schoolboy Omar Wilson.

In the women's race, Arielle Behr is locked into a tight battle with pre-race favourite Sabine Thies and holds a tenuous 15-second lead in the race for the women's provincial title.

Thies opened the day by claiming a narrow three-second win on the opening stage, but was a significant 17-seconds off the pace set by Behr on Stage 2. The 21-year-old favourite looked to be back on track as she reduced the deficit on the next section, but the 16-year-old Behr held her nerve and finished off the day with two more wins, albeit by narrow margins.

With this event doubling as the provincial enduro champs, the fight for the women's win looks to likely to be the most intriguing battle of the final day on Sunday.

While Duncan looks like he will be tough to beat over the remaining five stages in the men's event, the struggle for second is a bit tighter with Wilson knowing he cannot afford any slip ups on Sunday. Chasing the talented youngster will be sub-veteran Brandon Waugh, currently in third place and just 13 seconds behind his schoolboy rival. Further back, Jason Davies and Shaun Carlton complete the top five, 26 and 37 seconds further behind respectively.

Duncan set down a marker on the opening stage when he negotiated the Maker Miracle / Rene's Rumble section eight seconds quicker than Wilson, but really stamped his authority on the opening day by blitzing the second section, Mylly's Hoola, a massive 18 seconds faster than his nearest rival. At each of the remaining three timed portions of the day, Duncan edged away a little more, and Wilson will probably have to take some big risks tomorrow if he wants to get back into contention.

1 Keira Duncan 13:23
2 Omar Wilson 14:09
3 Brandon Waugh 14:22
4 Jason Davies 14:48
5 Shaun Charlton 14:59
1 Arielle Behr 16:40
2 Sabine Thies 16:55
3 Amber Cole 18:09
4 Melody French 18:09
5 Jade Davies 18:46

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Young PYGA Bikes/Leatt Clothing rider Sabine Thies has some work to do to claim the KZN Enduro title as she lies second after Day 1 of 2023 Sappi Karkloof Enduro, part of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival.

Chris Taylor Media

Decorated South African enduro star Keira Duncan holds a healthy lead after Day 1 of the 2023 Stihl Enduro, part of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival.

Chris Taylor Media

Karen Fortune negotiates the karkloof trails on the opening day of the 2023 Sappi Karkloof Enduro, part of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival.

Chris Taylor Media

Barry Crouse is the leading E-Bike rider after the opening day of the 2023 Stihl Enduro, part of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival.

Chris Taylor Media

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