Robisch and Looser makes a dash

SWAKOPMUND Usual suspects dominate solo categories

10 December 2018 | Sports

Rebecca Robisch; German Cyclist; “This was the hardest race ever for me due to the strong headwind that prevailed in the beginning.”

Leandrea Louw - Swiss rider Konny Looser (29) once again crossed the finish line of the 14th edition of the Nedbank Desert Dash first for a fourth consecutive time.

Rebecca Robisch (30) from Germany clinched the women’s solo title of the gruelling 373 kilometer mountain bike race from Windhoek to Swakopmund for a third consecutive time.

Looser who finished in a time of 14 hours and 22 minutes said that the third stage of the race was the toughest for him.

“Winning is nice but being on the bike was no fun at all. During the first half we raced against a strong wind and I suffered from stomach cramps. I had to fight. A win is a win and I am happy that I could achieve my goal. I had to be very careful not to over pace and stayed with the Godwana team to save energy. I am lucky that it worked for me in the end.”

He added that the mood and vibe of the race serves as motivation for him.

“Riding past Kupferberg is quite spectacular with all the fans watching and cheering the riders on. The whole race is simply great.”

Responding to a question if he would do the Desrt Dash again Looser said he was not sure and said he will see if he returns for another Desert Dash next year.

Robisch who finished the race within 17 hours and 17 minutes said she wanted to give up at one stage but her mother insisted that she continue. A turning point for her was the fact that she caught up with Irene Steyn who was leading the race in the first half.

“This was the hardest race ever for me due to the strong headwind that prevailed in the beginning. I struggled a lot during the first half of the race and thought of giving up. My mom told me to keep going to the next stage. I started feeling better and drafted with the men to preserve some energy for the end.”

Robish complimented the organisers for presenting a spectacular and race with a familiar feel.

“I enjoy returning to Namibia and this particular Desert Dash taught me not to give up and never to stop. I however think that I won’t do another Desert Dash.”

Drikus Coetzee who set the pace from the start and was caught by Looser during the second stage finished as runner up in the men’s solo category in a time of 14 hours and 56 minutes. Jacques Tattersall was third.

Irene Steyn finished second in the women’s solo category with Ciska van der Byl following in third place.

The first four persons’ men team to cross the finish line was Gondwana Masters in a time of 14 hours and 22 minutes consisting of Piet Swiegers, Rob Sim, Nico Pfitzenmaier and Corrie Muller.

They surprised everybody by outpacing the predicated favourites Nedbank Private Wealth team consisting of Tjipe Murangi, Herbert Peters, Alex Miller and Vianney Links which finished fourth.

Holard finished in second position and Megatech Mannies Bike Mecca in third.

R&R Importers won the 4 persons mixed team category followed by Indongo Toyota in second and team Hollard third.

The two men’s team event was won by Team Hollard followed by NCCS and team Cycles4U.

The winning two women’s team was Swakopmund Guesthouse followed by Paratus.

Husband and wife Christiaan and Silke Bean of team Beauty and the Bean won the two persons mixed team event. Team FNB consisting of Marion Schonecke and Ananias Tamati finished second. Dalie Maritz and Willie Junius of team Pari Passu came in third.

Carmen Johannes, Jenny Phal, Nicola Fester and Heide Hobohm of team Speedy Sloths clinched the four person women’s category. Team Epieq Women consisting of Lelane van Wyk, Lindie Loock, Charmine Grobler and Mayvonne Swart finished as runners up. Swart (16) a learner at Pro Ed Academy is also the youngest rider to complete this year’s Desert Dash.

The Desert Dash had over 1,000 riders from 14 different countries cycling in solo, two-person and four-person slots participating in the world’s longest single-stage mountain bike race in the world.

Completing the Dash is an illustrious achievement all cyclists want to add behind their names or tick off, on their list, commented Gernot de Klerk the head of marketing and communications at Nedbank.

“The Desert Dash is not only a physical challenge but also a mental endurance challenge. There is no easy or quick way to conquer the Dash, and the time in the saddle before the race, as cyclists say, is what makes all the difference. After all the hard work, the rush of tackling the treacherous route is an experience that stays with you forever.”

As is the norm an electrifying atmosphere prevailed at the starting line on Friday, 7 December at 15h00 at the Grove Mall in Windhoek while family, friends and cycling enthusiasts welcomed home the weary, but supremely satisfied and proud cyclists on the finish line at the Platz am Meer Shopping Mall on Saturday, 8 December in Swakopmund.

Organiser Mannie Heymans expressed his satisfaction with the event and explained that the new finishing point at the mall was warranted due to space constraints at Tiger Reef.

Four solo riders, Uwe Diekmann, Gerhard Gulewitz, Patrick Muppertz and Christoph Meier participated in the Desert Dash to raise funds for the Pro Namibian Children’s home. The home caters for 120 orphans and vulnerable children, and is based near the Omomas Farm. The riders managed to raise N$750 000 for the home.

Solo cyclist Ettienne Soekoe, also took on the challenge to raise funds for the Insimbi Legacy Projects, a non profit company raising funds to protect the white rhino. The funds raised are to assist the anti poaching team in the Bosveld, Speranza and Messina areas in South Africa. The daily protection cost to protect Bosveld, Speranza and Messina is R261 per day. For 365 days the cost is R95,286.

The Old Dogs for Wild Dogs, a four person grandmaster cyclist’s men team took on the 373 kilometre challenge to raise funds for the Cheetah Conservation Fund. The team includes Len le Roux, one of the founders of the Desert Dash in 2005, Doctor Vincent Shaw, Andreas Brückner and Ecki Fyer. The fund initiative is looking at the prevalence of human wildlife conflict in the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions in Namibia.

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