Joubert and Dannhauser take Black Ops Elite Men’s and Women’s titles
Johannesburg – Over 6 500 Jeep Warrior participants faced extreme challenges at Race#3 of the 2016 Jeep Warrior Series, which took place on the 23rd and 24th April 2016 at Hobby Park in Krugersdorp.
Athletes who raced in Black Ops Elite (30 obstacles over 16km distance) on Sunday, were in agreement that the course was exceptionally tough, mentally and physically, as only 26 elites of 70 starters finished the race.
The toughest obstacle, ‘Breaking Point’, lived up to its name, and proved to be the game changer in the Elite Men’s race.
Breaking Point demands an extreme test of upper body strength that requires athletes to get through a 15m sequence of ropes, rings, chains and monkey bars without falling. Right at the end of Breaking Point, athletes need to move themselves over a few metres using only their fingertips, in a stretch known as the Cliff Hanger. It’s at this point that many fall.
New obstacles in the elite events included Extreme Monkey (a series of pivoting ladders) and a heavy barrel-carrying obstacle.
In the men’s Black Ops Elite, Race#1 winner Thomas van Tonder (Jeep Team) and Race#2 winner Claude Eksteen (Adventure Obstacle Training) started off convincingly, managing to get in front at the first bottleneck onto the first single track.
Two kilometres into the race, well-known runner, Eksteen, surged ahead through the flat running section, leaving Van Tonder in second, with Bradley Claase (Battlerush) and Michael Joubert (Nevarest Team) chasing a few seconds behind.
These Black Ops Elite leaders stayed in this order for three quarters of the race until Breaking Point.
Eksteen reached Breaking Point first, but was unable to get through on his first attempt. Van Tonder was next to attempt the obstacle, but he too fell prey to this extreme test of upper body strength, falling from the final cliff hanger section.
This gave Michael Joubert the opportunity he needed to surge ahead, getting through Breaking Point on first attempt and through to the finish line to claim the men’s title in 1h37m30, with Claase 2nd in 1h40m22 and Greg Avierinos (Nevarest Team) 3rd in 1h42m58. Jeep Team’s Jay Jay Deysel placed 4th in 1h45m59, with Van Tonder finishing 5th in 2h00m10.
Said Joubert, “It was a great race. I started a bit slow, trying to keep my pace and my energy. Bradley [Claase] and I raced alongside each other for most of the race and that was great. Breaking Point was really tough this time around after so much up and downhill running on the course. I kept an easy pace from the start, and this luckily gave me the edge, giving me enough energy to get through Breaking Point first time round.”
The Black Ops Elite women compete on exactly the same course as the men elite. In fact, throughout all the Jeep Warrior events men and women compete on all the same courses. It stands to reason why the Jeep vehicle brand loves the Warrior brand so much – it’s all about equality and strength.
Race#2 winner, Hanneke Dannhauser (USN), dominated the women’s elite race, securing the lead at the start and going on to conquer Breaking Point on her first attempt. No small feat. She claimed the women’s crown in 2h00m12, followed by Jeep Team’s Carina Marx in 2nd (2h08m35) and Dominique D’Oliveira 3rd in 2h12m02.
Testament to the strength of these warrior women – the top 3 women elites were placed in the Top 10 overall male and female. Dannhauser placed 6th overall, Marx placed 9th and D’Oliveira placed 10th.
Said Dannhauser, “It was a close race. Carina and Dominique were chasing me the whole time. I kept looking over my shoulder and they were right behind me. Awesome that all three of us got through Breaking Point on first attempt and made the top 10 overall! The course was a great challenge, but I definitely didn’t enjoy all the uphills. I loved the Hobby Park venue because of the beautiful setting with lots of trees. It was also really spectator-friendly, which made for a great festive atmosphere.”
Said Van Tonder, “It was a superb day for racing – clear skies and game faces all round. The route had a lot of steep hills with spots of very technical running. At the start the course went straight into single track. Luckily I was one of the first to get through to the front of the pack. Only about 2kms into the race did the course flatten out. As expected, it was here that Claude [Eksteen] cranked up the pace, securing the lead.
I think my biggest mistake of the day was not using my legs enough on the rope climb obstacle just before Breaking Point. The ropes took the extra bit of grip-strength that I needed for Breaking Point. I made it all the way to the cliff hanger part at the end, and then my old nemesis got some pay-back and I fell. The results tell the story of how that ended.”
The next Jeep Warrior Race is taking place from 16 – 17 July 2016 in KwaZulu-Natal at the Sugar Rush Estate in Ballito. To find out more and to enter online, go to http://www.warrior.co.za/events/2016-jeep-warrior4/.
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