Bell Claims Crater Cruise & Overall MTN Marathon Series Win

Nico Bell (TeamRECM) at the Crater Cruise 2014
Nico Bell (TeamRECM) at the Crater Cruise 2014

Nico Bell (TeamRECM) at the Crater Cruise 2014

The final race of the 2014 MTN National Marathon Series came down to the wire in a star-studded finale at the MTN Ride Crater Cruise, on Saturday. Nico Bell (Team RECM) not only won the race, but also claimed his second consecutive MTN Marathon Series title.

Bell had a sizeable points lead coming into the last race, but even if misfortune should strike and he couldn’t finish the race, his RECM teammate Lourens Luus, Kevin Evans (The Bike Shop) or Darren Lill (Cannondale Blend) would have been able to take the series win.

Most of the bunch stayed together until the KOM, up Suikerbos, at 50km in. Bell got a puncture going down the rocky descent and was able to change a wheel at the second team technical zone. From there, Nico chased back to rejoin the lead group of Luus, Evans and Rabie (EAI Cycling).

Bell and Evans came into the last 15km together ahead of the rest, and then Nico was able to drop Evans in the last single track section going into the finish. Lourens Luus finished 3rd.

Nico Bell (Team RECM) and Kevin Evans (The Bike Shop)

Nico Bell (Team RECM) and Kevin Evans (The Bike Shop) took 1st and 2nd place respectively at the Crater Cruise.

Ariane Kleinhans was unable to attend the race as she is currently in Switzerland preparing for the 2014 Swiss Epic with World Marathon Champion, Annika Langvad. The Swiss Epic starts in Wallis this Monday, and runs until Saturday, 20 September.

Team owner, Malcolm Lange, commented,”It was fantastic to be invited by the media to share a day in the car and being so close to the action. Very tough race and brought lots of painful memories back when I was a pro! I am happy to have put together such a balanced team with Nico Bell and Lourens Luus for 2014 and win the races we battled to achieved in years gone by.”

MTN Crater Cruise Ultra Marathon, Men’s Overall Results
1st Nico Bell 04:03:43
2nd Kevin Evans 04:03:46
3rd Lourens Luus 04:06:00
4th Johann Rabie 04:06:19
5th Ben Melt Swanepoel 04:09:16
6th Gawie Combrinck 04:12:15
7th Hanco Kachelhoffer 04:15:31
8th Waylon Woolcock 04:20:06
9th Gordon Alan 04:21:27
10th Darren Lill 04:24:02

MTN Crater Cruise Ultra Marathon, Women’s Overall Results
1st Theresa Ralph 03:03:46
2nd Yolandi Du Toit 03:06:10
3rd Candice Neethling 03:08:25
4th Bell Vanessa 03:13:53
5th Lise Olivier 03:17:00

MTN Crater Cruise Marathon, Men’s Results
1st Julius Cobbett 02:55:46
2nd Pierre Smith 02:56:09
3rd Phillimon Sebona 02:56:10

MTN Crater Cruise Marathon, Men’s (u23) Results
1st Pierre Smith 02:56:09
2nd Phillimon Sebona 02:56:10
3rd Edwill O Neill 02:59:06
4th Marcel Marais 03:01:38
5th Charl-Pierre Esterhuyse 03:10:02

MTN National Marathon Series – Overall Men
1. Nico Bell (Team RECM)
2. Lourens Luus (Team RECM)
3. Kevin Evans (The Bike Shop)

MTN National Marathon Series – Overall Women
1. Ariane Kleinhans (Team RECM)
2. Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota)
3. Yolandi du Toit (Garmin)

Images: Zoon Cronje