Fairview Dryland Traverse Stage 1 and 2

Stage 1:

Robert Rorich surprised the field of experienced Fairview Dryland Traverse runners to cross the line first on Stage 1 of the four day adventure trail run, on Friday 4 November. The first men’s team across the line were the Team 1 duo of John April and Francois Maquassa, while South African trail running superstars Landie and Christiaan Greyling claimed victory in the mixed category and Chantel Neinaber and Katja Sogot were the first of the women’s teams to finish.

The Fairview Dryland Traverse story started on Thursday evening when the assembled trail runners were treated to a 1km loop through the magnificent Cango Caves in the 8km Prologue. The inclusion of the Cango Caves in the route truly sets the Fairview Dryland Traverse apart as a trail running experience, but the caves are by no means the only highlight of the route.

The Prologue was won by seasoned Fairview Dryland Traverse campaigner, Gershwill Jacobs, but disaster was to strike for him on Stage 1 when he twisted his ankle and was forced to withdraw in the heart of the Swartberg Mountains.

Rorich, a 21 year old sculptor and engineering student, ran his own race on Stage 1. The stage started 4km from the summit of the Swartberg Pass, and the leading men’s teams blazed a frantic pace up the pass lead by April and Maquassa of Team 1 along with eventual second placed men’s team finishers Mvuyisi Gcogco and Obey Mtetwa. Rorich made up time on the speedy road running specialists ahead of him on the technical Swartberg hiking trail, and after running with them on the rocky 4x4 track between water points one and two he out descended the rest of the leading group on the breakneck singletrack drop towards the race village at De Hoek. Rorich crossed the line in a remarkable 2 hours, 15 minutes and 51 seconds for the 27km course.

In the mixed category the Greylings are up against Su and Iain Don-Wauchope in a battle of the stars; though it is fair to say that both couples entered the Fairview Dryland Traverse more for the legendary vibe than as a hard-core end of season race. Christiaan Greyling in particular was keen to take it a little easier than usual and even stopped for a slice of ostrich fillet, off the braai, at water point two. Despite the Don-Wauchopes and the Greylings running within themselves both teams managed stellar times with the Greylings finishing eight minutes ahead in a time of 2 hours 41 minutes and 08 seconds.

The leading solo lady, Danette Smith, crossed the finish line of Stage 1 in a time of 2 hours 45 minutes and 10 seconds to take the general classification lead from Prologue winner Yolandi de Villiers who finished in second. The women’s category stage winners Neinaber and Sogot, running as the fittingly named Fairview Fairies for title sponsors Fairview Wine and Cheese, dominated both the Prologue and Stage 1. The pair happily chatted their way through the stage, with not even the tough climb up the Swartberg Pass able to take the wind out of their sails.

On Saturday 5 November Stage 2 of the Fairview Dryland Traverse sees the trail runners take on a 23km route from the Rust en Vrede waterfall, past the Raubenheimer Dam and along the foothills of the Swartberg Mountain, in a stage of constant ascents and descents, back to the race village at De Hoek. Following Stage 2, on Saturday evening the much anticipated Beach Party will get into full swing as the Fairview Dryland Traverse lives up to its reputation for providing fun and games both on and off the trails.

You can follow the action live on Twitter by following @FairviewDryland, or view more of the stunning photos by liking the Fairview Dryland Traverse Facebook page. To find out more about the race visit www.drylandtraverse.co.za.

Leading Results:

Fairview Dryland Traverse General Classification after Stage 1

Solo Men:

  1. Robert Rorich 02:52:15
  2. Andrea Biffi + 17:42
  3. Daryl North + 26:52

Solo Women:

  1. Danette Smitt 03:28:40
  2. Yolandi de Villiers +10:09
  3. Gail Willimott +17:03

Men’s Teams:

  1. Francois Maquassa & John April (Team 1) 02:56:13
  2. Obey Mtetwa & Mvuyisi Gcogco (Raidlight/Free Spirit) + 10:15
  3. Warren Dickson & Jade Muller (Wolf Pack 1) + 15:45

Mixed Teams:

  1. Landie Greyling & Christiaan Greyling (Salomon) 03:20:53
  2. Su Don-Wauchope & Iain Don-Wauchope (Over the Hill[billies]) +11:22
  3. Rudolf van Rensburg Janie van Rensburg (Tortoise and the Hare) + 01:11:19

Women’s Teams:

  1. Chantel Nienaber & Katja Sogot (Fairview Fairies) 04:02:43
  2. Rezani Scholtz & Zonia Scheffer (Grys Sweetpakbroeke) + 28:42
  3. Katherine van der Walt & Claire van der Nest (The Thunderbolts) + 35:58

Stage 2:

On the hilly Stage 2 of the 2016 Fairview Dryland Traverse, on Saturday 5 November, the Team 1 combination of John April and Francois Maquassa ran to victory to extend their general classification lead. Behind them Robert Rorich was the first solo runner home, followed by leading solo lady Danette Smith, mixed category leaders Landie and Christiaan Greyling, and the women’s category leaders Chantel Nienaber and Katja Sogot.

April and Maquassa set the pace from the off, establishing a comfortable buffer over the chasing teams – Obey Mtetwa and Mvuyisi Gcogco, of Raidlight/Free Spirit, and Niel Swanepoel and Morné van Greunen, running for Team EnduroHub – by the time they past the Raubenheimer Dam near the 7km mark. The close battle of the day would be for second position in the men’s team category as the EnduroHub guys clung desperately to the coattails of the Raidlight/Free Spirit team.

At water point two, with 7km remaining Swanepoel looked to capitalise on his stage racing experience and flew through the water point only grabbing a cup of water as he raced by. EnduroHub’s stronger member, van Greunen, took his time refuelling alongside Mtetwa and Gcogco in the hope of bridging across to Swanepoel on the tough climb ahead. But the tactic did not pay off as Mtetwa and Gcogco were simply too strong, catching Swanepoel with van Greunen and then dropping them both on the singletrack descent towards the De Hoek race village.

Up the road meanwhile April and Maquassa crossed the finish line in an impressive time of one hour, forty one minutes and twenty five seconds. The leading solo man, Rorich, was not far behind finishing the 23km stage in one hour, forty two minutes and forty seven seconds. The leading woman, Smith, broke the two hour barrier too, stopping the clock two minutes and one second shy of the 120 minute mark. Behing Smith, Gail Willimot beat a tiring Yolandi de Villiers to the finish to claim second on the stage and in the general classification from the Oudtshoorn local.

After a relaxed morning on the trails the Greylings trotted home to extend their mixed category lead over Su and Iain Don-Wauchope, but neither of the star teams were perturbed about the results. The Greylings stopped to take photos, while the Don-Wauchopes stopped for hugs with their kids who were supporting them from the water points and even ran the last 500m to the finish line, through the Fairview Dryland Traverse race village, hand-in-hand with their young son and daughter.

In the women’s team category Chantel Neinaber and Katja Sogot made it three from three by adding Stage 2 to their victories on the Fairview Dryland Traverse Prologue and Stage 1. They too enjoyed their time out on the trails especially as the cool and overcast conditions made for perfect trail running weather.

With the two longest stages of the 2016 Fairview Dryland Traverse now completed the attention shifts to the famous Saturday night party. The Beach Party theme is sure to bring out the masks and snorkels, beach balls, board-shorts and bikinis as the trail runners get into the festive spirit. Fortunately Sunday’s final stage is a short 11km out and back route from the De Hoek race village, with a few obstacle course style features thrown in for good measure – just to test the resolve of those who had a little too much fun on Saturday night.

You can follow the action live on Twitter by following @FairviewDryland, or view more of the stunning photos by liking the Fairview Dryland Traverse Facebook page. To find out more about the race visit www.drylandtraverse.co.za.

Leading Results:

Fairview Dryland Traverse General Classification after Stage 2

Solo Men:

  1. Robert Rorich 04:35:02
  2. Andrea Biffi + 28:25
  3. Daryl North + 44:47

Solo Women:

  1. Danette Smitt 05:25:39
  2. Gail Willimott + 23:13
  3. Yolandi de Villiers + 28:32

Men’s Teams:

  1. Francois Maquassa & John April (Team 1) 04:37:38
  2. Obey Mtetwa & Mvuyisi Gcogco (Raidlight/Free Spirit) + 16:15
  3. Warren Dickson & Jade Muller (Wolf Pack 1) + 26:58

Mixed Teams:

  1. Landie Greyling & Christiaan Greyling (Salomon) 05:22:16
  2. Su Don-Wauchope & Iain Don-Wauchope (Over the Hill[billies]) + 21:19
  3. Rudolf van Rensburg Janie van Rensburg (Tortoise and the Hare) + 01:42:01

Women’s Teams:

  1. Chantel Nienaber & Katja Sogot (Fairview Fairies) 06:21:30
  2. Rezani Scholtz & Zonia Scheffer (Grys Sweetpakbroeke) + 29:31
  3. Katherine van der Walt & Claire van der Nest (The Thunderbolts) + 42:49