Alan Gordon and Gordon Gilbert leave the competition in the dust
The 10th edition of the tough Gem Diamonds Kalahari Challenge Mountain bike race wrapped up with a costly detour and a lot of drama.
After a tough, but entertaining two days, the third and final stage of 67 km was short and fast. Going into the final stage, Alan Gordon and Gordon Gilbert (SATIB Africa Botswana) led the Gem Diamonds Masters team of Greg Anderson and Deon Kruger by 9 minutes, a lead that can easily be lost in the Kalahari bushveld with a wrong turn or a mechanical.
First across the finish line were Team Gem Masters. The Vets quickly realized that they had taken a wrong turn, but undeterred they raced back out to continue on the correct route and were still able to defend their position at the top of the Veterans category as well as second place overall.
It was a solo rider who was first official rider across the line. Francistown’s talented Timothy Hammond made the most of his chances and finished in a time of 02:40:17 taking the overall Solo Men's title, and claiming prize money of P 3,000.
Next across the line were Alan Gordon & Gordon Gilbert. Gordon Gilbert, who has played for football teams such as Kaiser Chiefs and Moroka Swallows was well matched with Alan Gordon who has had an impressive year placing 3rd at the MTN Panorama Tour and 2nd overall at the Sabie Xperience. This power duo finished the stage in a time of 02:40:56, successfully claiming the General Classification and the Open Men's category and claiming prize money of P 9,000.
The Gem Diamonds Kalahari Challenge is one of the few stage races to offer a Solo category for men, women as well as Single Speed categories. Tim Hammond and local Gaborone Lady rider, Reza Armstrong were never really challenged for their titles in the solo categories.
In the Single Speed category, two men battled it out for the win over the three days. Stage Three began with only two minutes between Graham Rogoff and Gaborone’s Richard Coughlan with the overall title eventually going to Richard Coughlan who claimed the prize money of P 3,000.
The total prize money for the event for 2015 was P 100,000
|After the final stage, the General Classification was as follows:|
|1st Alan Gordon & Gordon Gilbert||Satib Africa Botswana||09:31:35|
|2nd Greg Anderson & Deon Kruger||Gem Masters||10:00:59|
|3rd Victor Potgieter & Shawn Bruwer||Bike Shop Racing||10:02:43|
|Alan Gordon & Gordon Gilbert||SATIB Africa Botswana||09:31:35|
|Gemma Shales & Melissa Kretzinger||Team ADA Girls||13:32:58|
|Driekie Heyns & Craig Murchie||Team Kusile||13:07:28|
|Victor Potgieter & Shawn Bruwer||Bike Shop Racing||10:02:43|
|Greg Anderson & Deon Kruger||Gem Masters||10:00:59|
|Chris Brand & Paul Furbank||USN Masters||10:25:23|