Himeville – An expanded and revitalised Team NAD MTB is setting its sights on podium domination at the KAP sani2c mountain bike stage race than ends in Scottburgh on 12 May fronted by the pairing of Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell eager to atone for a disappointing challenge in last year’s race.
2017’s race saw Combrinck and Bell race to fourth overall, however 2018 will see the addition of two more riders to their team with Matt Beers and Wessel Botha joining their ranks.
Beers, who finished second in 2017’s sani2c with Tim Hammond, has joined the Team NAD for the three day journey from the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg to the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
The other newcomer to the set-up is Wessel Botha. The 19 year old is starting to make waves in the mountain biking community and won the 2017 947 MTB Challenge and will be lining up his first competitive sani2c challenge.
It was Beers and Bell who represented the Team NAD at the Absa Cape Epic and finished 15th overall and third in the African Men Category.
Combinck, who didn’t take part in the Cape Epic this year, is looking to the upcoming Old Mutual joBerg2c to get his stage racing season underway and combinations are still in question.
“We haven’t quite decided who is going to be riding together for the sani2c this year,” Combrinck said.
“Having a bigger team this year does relieve the pressure on each other a bit and means that we can ride in more races but it is important that we still get the results.
“We try and put the freshest two guys together for the race so we will have to see how we go at joBerg2c which is coming up soon.”
The Old Mutual joBerg2c is a nine day race from Heidelberg to Scottburgh and provides the riders with a good opportunity to test out the sani2c route as the final three days of the joBerg2c follow the sani2c route to the ocean.
2017 was a disappointing year for the Team NAD MTB as the race didn’t go according to their plan at all with a number of mishaps along the way curtailing their shot at an overall title win.
“I had a bad fall on day one and injured my ribs quite badly last year at sani and that put us back quite a lot.
“Then with the neutral stage on day two we couldn’t make up any time and then the mud got the better of us on day three and everything that could go wrong went wrong for us.
“So with that now behind us we are hoping to do much better as a team this year.
“We’ve got a good bunch of guys that get along well so we are all looking forward to the challenge this year,” an eager Combrinck added.