Clean sweep of South Africa wins for Whitby cyclist

Catherine Williamson and Ischen Stopforth in the South Africa road race
Catherine Williamson and Ischen Stopforth in the South Africa road race

WHITBY’S Catherine Williamson and South Africa’s Ischen Stopforth, racing for Bizhub FCF, dominated this year’s Old Mutual Joberg2C from start to finish with a clean sweep of stage wins.

With Ischen having missed out on the ABSA Cape Epic this year due to a broken arm, the team went into the event with some mixed feelings as defending champions in the ladies’ race.

“Catherine and I were aiming for nothing less than another win” continued Ishen. 

“The joBerg2C, now in its third year, is to me one of the greatest stage races. I knew it would not be easy racing a nine-day stage race like this.

“Catherine had completed the Epic and would clearly be stronger than me, so I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to match the expectations.”

The joBerg2C is a special race as cyclists see so much of South Africa as they travel from Heidelberg, through the Free State and then through Natal. Being autumn, the landscape and trees in their full autumn colors make it even more scenic.

It is a long race, and by no means a walk in the park, with not only the 100km days to cope with but also the camping and cold early starts for all nine days.

The Bizhub pair raced hard and used each other’s strengths to get a good overall lead so that the last few days they could take fewer risks and enjoy every last bit of groomed single track.

The JoBerg2C is one of the highlights of the year for team bizhub-FCF.  

The race is well organised, yet small with all the local communities getting involved.

There is a huge emphasis on giving back to the communities from donating wheelchairs and printers every night, to providing employment in keeping the trails in perfect condition.

The routes are amazing and a lot of effort has gone into preparing single track and eliminating district roads where possible.

It is both a journey and a truly great race and is strongly recommended for any mountain bikers who fancy both a challenge and a way to see such beautiful parts of South Africa.