Thrilling first day of Oakley X-Over

Competitors in the Mountain Bike event © Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar

Competitors in the Mountain Bike event © Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar

An excited group of athletes and celebrities gathered at Fountains Mall for the start of the inaugural Oakley X-Over Challenge Oakly X-Over,  a multi-sporting event event forming part of the JBay Winterfest.

The first event of the three-discipline cross-over challenge was a 21km mountain bike race through the seldom-explored Jeffreys Bay hinterland. The route took the athletes from sporting codes as varied as golf, triathlon and trail-running over fast farm roads, cattle tracks and purpose-built singletrack through pockets of indigenous forest along the Seekoei River.

As expected it was the two mountain biking athletes, three-time World Downhill champion Greg Minnaar and South African marathon specialist Kevin Evans who made the early break. They were followed closely by triathlete Raynard Tissink and ultra trail-running phenom Ryan Sandes.

It was a sprint finish for the win, with Minnaar again getting the edge. “Yeah you know I think I was a bit lucky,” he commented after the race. “Every time we got to a hill I started chatting to Kevin, trying to hold him back. He’s such a nice guy that I didn’t really want to be rude. My golfing is terrible and my surfing is very terrible, so hopefully I can hang in there with this result.”

MTB results:

1. Greg Minnaar

2. Kevin Evans

3. Raynard Tissink

4. Ryan Sandes

Celebrities at the Links for the Oakley X-Over Challenge

Celebrities at the Links for the Oakley X-Over Challenge.  Photo: Craig Kolesky

 With Oakley surfer Jordy Smith added to the mix, the crew headed out for the golf tournament at the Links Golf Course in St Francis. One athlete who was looking forward to the golf event was professional golfer Ruan de Smidt. De Smidt had a very tough time on the mountain bike event where he finished last. 

“I was no good in the mountain bike event,” he commented before the golf. “My legs and bum are a bit sore from not being used to a bike, but it’s all in the arms. So I’m keen, I need all the points I can get,” De Smidt said. 

Lying in fourth after the mountain bike event, Ryan Sandes was also looking forward to the golf and had been preparing well. He even went for a professional lesson last week just to get his eye in. “It was at the SA Golf Institute in Westlake and it was good. Well, interesting, I woke up the next morning and was more stiff than after a 100-mile trail race,” he said. 

Ruan de Smidt winner of the golfing event, part of the Oakley X-Over Challenge, at St Francis Links today.

Ruan de Smidt winner of the golfing event – part of the Oakley X-Over Challenge, at St Francis Links today.

The Links provided entertainment with the Absent Irish band followed by dinner for the participants.

The Oakley X-Over Challenge is set to continue tomorrow with the surfing contest taking place at The Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay. The first heat is set to paddle out at 9 am

There will be an awards function at the Jolly Dolphin tomorrow night. 

Follow St Francis Chronicle on Twitter: @stfranchronicle

Advertisements