Smith Eager for Scottburgh MTB Race

Bell/Specialized South Africa young rider Hayley Smith will be hoping to build on the second place she claimed in 2011, when she tackles Saturday's Magma Security Scottburgh MTB Race. Photo: Kyle Gilham / Gameplan MediaTalented female Under 23 South Coast mountain biker Hayley Smith is licking her lips ahead of the opportunity to tackle the 2013 edition of the Magma Security Scottburgh MTB Race, presented by Sappi, as the races gives her one of only a handful of chances annually to compete in a top class event close to home.

Having claimed the Under 18 Girls title at the 2012 UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg at Cascades MTB Park, Bell/Specialized South Africa athlete Hayley Smith will look to put in a solid performance at this Saturday's Magma Security Scottburgh MTB Race, presented by Sappi, as she gears up for the 2013 UCI MTB & Trials World Championships at the same venue in August. Photo: Darren Goddard/Gameplan MediaHaving fought her way back from a frustrating, illness-enforced long term layoff from the sport last year, the young Margate resident and South City Christian College matric pupil is relishing being back in training, doing what she loves and is looking forward to a solid outing in this year’s local clash.

“It’s great to be back on the bike again,” explained the young Bell/Specialised South Africa athlete. “I’ve been working really hard recently and I’m really happy with how the form is coming along at the moment.”

“I’ve been working on trying to improve my power in the gym quite a bit and on the bike I’ve been working hard on both my cross country skills as well as getting some longer distance into the legs again.

“Last year I struggled during the Scottburgh MTB race. The virus I had been struggling with came back a bit and I was really struggling with asthma which obviously effected my breathing quite a bit.

“I’ve prepared really hard for this year’s race though and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully I can have a good race this time around!”

With local races few and far between, Smith wasn’t going to miss this rare opportunity to race close to home and hopes her cross country skills and local knowledge will help her put in a solid performance as she looks to go one better than the second place she claimed in 2011.

“It’s great to be able to take part in a race here on the South Coast, especially because then we don’t have to travel long distances to take part,” chuckled Smith.

“We don’t really have too many flat sections here on the South Coast – you’re pretty much going uphill or downhill all the time here – so hopefully my cross country background will help me with this!”

Like many of her fellow local top competitors, Smith has her eye firmly on giving it her all throughout 2013 to enhance her chances of being amongst the group of Under 23 ladies selected for the South African team to take part in the most prestigious cycling event to hit local shores ever – the UCI MTB & Trials World Championships – which takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg in August.

Despite having matric trials and final exams to prepare for, Smith is working as hard as she can to prepare for the global mountain biking spectacle and feels local weekly events such as the Magma Security Scottburgh MTB Race, presented by Sappi, go a long way to helping with her build up.

“My whole focus this year is on the World Champs in Pietermaritzburg in August. I’m really working hard towards that. I’ve even chatted to my teachers and we’re trying to see if there is a way I can move some of my trials exams around because they clash with World Champs,” said the 19-year-old Smith.

“I’m in my first year of Under 23’s so it’s pretty tough competing against some of the girls who have already been there a year or two like Candice (Neethling), Mariske (Strauss), Ashleigh Moffatt and Kendall Ryan.

“I’m working hard to be competitive against them though and these weekly races can really help with training towards that and, if you can get a couple of good results in them, they can give you a good confidence boost as well.

The Magma Security Scottburgh MTB Race presented by Sappi takes place on Saturday 15 June. The event starts and finishes at Scottburgh main beach and riders can take part in either the 45km Classic, 28km Intermediate or the 10km Fun Ride. More info can be found at www.roag.co.za and at www.c4m.co.za

 

 

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