Illovo Eston MTB
Written By: Nick Tatham
Marais looking to double up at Eston MTB
Eston – Defending Illovo Eston MTB Challenge 60km marathon champion
Stuart Marais will have a fight on his hands when he sets off in an
attempt to make it two from two when the prestigious race gets underway
this Sunday at the Eston Farmers Club.
Expedient Africa/Moving Parts Tractor Spares’ Marais had a titanic
battle with young Julian Jessop for the title in 2017 with the former
benefitting off a Jessop mistake a few hundred metres short of the line
to take the win.
Owing to the nature of the Eston MTB course, Marais is expecting another
tight tussle at the front of the race this weekend.
“Ideally for me I wouldn’t want there to be another end sprint but there
is a very strong possibility that that will happen,” Marais said. “Eston
is a very strategic race because the climbs are early in the race when
everyone is fresh so there are no spots to get away from the rest of the
“With that said it is always an exciting race from a riding and
spectator perspective and I always enjoy the competition.”
Marais recently took part in the national cross country championships in
Bloemfontein but the event didn’t quite go as well as he would have
hoped where he finished fourth overall. Despite this he feels that he is
in the right place physically and mentally.
“I have been going quite well recently and the form is definitely there
so it is going to be another interesting race this weekend.
“Eston is always a tricky race and with a strong field expected again it
is exciting to be able to take part.
“With a strong field comes positive racing and that is how you want to
race all the time,” he commented.
The Marais/Jessop rivalry heads into another exciting chapter after the
pair fought it out earlier in the year for the Sappi Karkloof Classic
title. The race was won in the end by Jessop so Marais will hope that he
can get one over his younger rival.
The Eston route is known to suite the cross country specialists, however
Marais feels that it is can suit riders with varying talents.
“I think that the Eston course is a really solid, well rounded course
with some tough climbs early and then a hard slog to the finish.
“It’s always a catch-22 in terms of tactics because if you want to get
ahead early you are going to have to be prepared to spend a lot of time
on your own.
“It’s going to be important to have a tactically sound race this
weekend,” he explained.
More information can be found at
Click to download the hi-res
Illovo Eston MTB Challenge
Logo - JPEG
Defending Illovo Eston MTB
Challenge champion Stuart Marais will have his work cut out for him if
he wants to replicate his 2017 effort this coming Sunday at the Eston
Conditions of usage of photographs:
All photographs supplied and hyperlinked herewith may be used free of
charge, with full credit to the photographer and agency as provided. The
photographs may not be modified or retouched in any way, but may be
cropped to suit the layout requirements of the publications. The
photographs provided may be used exclusively for editorial purposes, and
may be reprinted in any newspaper, magazine, television programme or on
any website. These photographs may not be used for any commercial or
promotional purpose, including but not limited to posters, advertisements,
commercials, promotional email correspondence, point-of-sale material or
any retail promotion. Should such usage be desired, please contact us at
the details below.
For any further information, or if you
cannot access the images, please contact:
(031) 764 3017