Porteous back out to defend Sappi Scottburgh MTB title

Photo credit: Nick Porteous © Gameplan Media

Scottburgh – Despite having spent fewer hours on the bike than he would have hoped last year’s winner of the Sappi Scottburgh MTB race Nick Porteous (Specialized/Songo) was one of the first to get his entry in and is looking for another strong performance at this year’s race on Saturday 16 June.

The former Port Shepstone resident is relishing the rare opportunity to return to the South Coast course and is looking forward to giving it his all to retain the title he claimed in perfect conditions a year ago.

“I absolutely love this race,” said Porteous. “The course is great and it’s such a nice area to ride through. A lot of the races on the calendar take place inland so it really is lekker to be able to come race on the coast every once in a while.”

“The track is great too and there’s a bit of everything in it. There are some pretty tough climbs, things start off with a sprint down a bit of district road before you hook it straight up a serious hill which really separates the field out nicely.”

“There’s also quite a bit of really nice single track through the Sappi forest. There are a couple slightly more technical sections and then there are some really fast district roads and tracks through the sugarcane so it’s a great mix of everything,” he added.

The Specialized/Songo rider will have to dig if he is to hang onto his crown though as preparations haven’t been what many would call ideal.

“Things have been as good as can be I guess,” said Porteous. “It’s been a bit difficult trying to training properly recently with work being so busy and me being based up in Jo’burg quite a bit these days.”

“I’m actually about to race off to the airport now to head to Jo’burg and then I’ll fly back again on Friday ahead on Saturday’s race.”

“I spend a fair amount of time travelling and it is freezing up there in Johannesburg, which makes training quite tough at times.”

“I try to get at least an hour or so in on the bike every day though and the odd day that I don’t manage to go for a ride then I’m in the gym so I’m still feeling pretty good,” he added.

On the back of a disappointing weekend not far from the Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race’s route Porteous will be looking to make up for his mishap at this past weekend’s Sardine Classic which forced him out of the contest and having to limp across the line instead.

“I did the Sardine Classic this past weekend but unfortunately things didn’t go quite so well for me and I had a couple of mechanical issues,” said Porteous.

“A stick went through my back wheel which damaged a couple of the spokes and bent the back derailleur so it wasn’t exactly the best day on the bike for me.”

“The bikes in for repairs though and I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s race so we’ll just have to see how things go.”

“Based on Sunday’s race it would be great just to finish this weekend but I won it last year and it’s a race I really enjoy so hopefully things can go well for this year too,” he added.

The Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race takes place on Saturday 16 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.c4m.co.za or www.roag.co.za