Sifiso “Skizo” Nhlapo (MTN Qhubeka) made it two from two as he raced to victory in the drama filled SA National BMX Championships second leg which, when combined with his win in Saturday’s first leg, saw him crowned the elite men’s national champ at Alexandra Park BMX track on Sunday.
The battle between Nhlapo and fast emerging youngster Kyle Dodd had been of epic proportions throughout the tough two days of racing and after Dodd claimed a moral boosting victory over Nhlapo in the final moto, the excitement ahead of the main event had spectators on the edge of their seats.
Both riders flew out of the blocks and despite Nhlapo taking the early lead the pair found themselves side by side going into the second berm and it was anyone’s race.
Nhlapo, however, narrowly got his nose in front going into the corner and as Dodd attempted a brave yet somewhat questionable passing manoeuvre on the exit, contact between the two was inevitable.
The resultant collision sent Dodd crashing to the ground leaving his title hopes in tatters while the stronger Nhlapo, who managed to stay on his bike, headed for glory.
“It’s been a really good weekend of racing. Fortunately I managed to have a really good, clean race and it’s great to be able to get my first national title in a few years,” said Nhlapo.
“Usually I can’t make it to compete in these championships because I’m overseas but this year the timing was perfect and I thought I’d come out here and give them a go. Kyle’s (Dodd) a great competitor and has come a long way recently so it was good to have a couple of tight races with him.”
Nhlapo, who only touched down in South Africa from the United States on Wednesday, now has a couple of weeks at home before heading abroad again to Europe to start his final preparations for the BMX World Championships in Birmingham and then hopefully, the London Olympics.
For Dodd it was a disappointing overall result as his crash in the second leg saw him finish fourth overall. However, the young talent did well to hide his frustrations and instead lapped up the overwhelming support he received from the local crowd.
Dodd’s crash saw him limp home in sixth position, but this exciting young talent is far better than his number four national number board would suggest.
His mishap opened the door for Miguel Carvalho to claim second place in Sunday’s race with Christopher Austin finishing third and Godfrey Buziba fourth. — Sapa