01 June 2017

Hartebeespoort Local, Van Tonder, Claims Podium at Warrior Race 4 in Nelspruit

Submitted by Viv Quann
Hartebeespoort Local, Van Tonder, Claims Podium at Warrior Race 4 in Nelspruit

Sunday, 28 May 2017, saw South Africa’s top OCR athlete, Thomas van Tonder (Jeep Team) and Jay Jay Deysel (Jeep Team) take on Race #4 of the Toyota Warrior Series, powered by Reebok, at the hilly Kwanyoni Lodge in Mpumalanga. The event attracted just over 1500 competitors into Nelspruit. For Jay Jay Deysel (Jeep Team), the racing started on the Saturday with the Individual Reebok Sprint Race, a short, fast and highly-intensity race, covering 400m and featuring 10 obstacles.

Deysel finished the Individual Sprint final in 4th place. On the Sunday, Deysel and van Tonder partnered with Hanneke Dannhauser, to take on the Reebok Team Sprint race. With more than 10 years OCR experience between them, they were always going to be the team to beat and unsurprisingly, they took the win, but not without a fight in a very tight field of teams. Deysel, van Tonder and Dannhauser finish the race in first place.Jeep Team’s Thomas “BeastMode” van Tonder and Jay Jay Deysel, also both competed in the Black Ops Elite race, the toughest of them all, featuring some 30 obstacles over a 17km trail, designed to challenge endurance, strength and agility. 

Says van Tonder on his performance, “We had a massive climb in the first half of the race, which is good prep work for World Champs, but racing up a mountain is never easy. I had a steady start to the race, running in the front with Claude Eksteen and Louis Smit next to me. “The first obstacle to settle positions was the monster net climb, then to the top of Tower of Rage. This obstacle is easier without water coming down as you are climbing up, and I left this obstacle in first place, but the huge climb was yet to come. I enjoyed the lead for maybe 1 km before Claude came pacing by me.

The Concrete Carry and Log Buster had our legs work extra hard to get to the top. The load was not too heavy, but all of them had a very technical loop, so you had to watch your step.“There was not a lot of position changing going on at this stage. Behind me, Bradley Claase passed Louis Smit and kept a steady gap of 30 to 40 metres behind me all the way up the climb.

The good thing about having a course with such a huge climb, is that the second half of the course is downhill, although there is the occasional sharp climb, and I used these long legs of mine to put in some massive down-strides. Greg Avierinos is a very good downhill runner and I knew he would be coming down fast as well.“I actually made up a good amount of time on Claude with those downhills, with Louis Smit behind me also putting in a hard downhill and chasing me again.

This is something I noticed in prep for OCR World Championships last year. If you can run a strong uphill, it does not mean that you are a good downhill runner. I took most of my positions at OCR World Champs last year on a rig or on a downhill.”Van Tonder says he has learnt the importance of keeping up the intensity when reaching obstacles, as most people tend to slow down.He continues “I was not far from the race venue, and came upon Breaking Point obstacle, and about a minute or 2 behind Claude. I was too focused on where Claude was missed the bell on the Chain Reactor obstacle, relying on the fact that in previous Warrior races, this obstacle didn’t have bell finishes.  So, I missed the bell. A silly mistake that possible cost me a close finish with Claude. Doing this obstacle again, probably cost me about 30 seconds.

”Van Tonder got through the iron rig and tyre flip leaving something in the tank for Breaking Point.Eksteen completed Breaking Point as Thomas started it, settling first and second positions overall, and Van Tonder missing his 12th Warrior win. Van Tonder finished the Men’s Black Ops Elite race in a time of 01:29:59, 47 seconds behind race-winner Claude Eksteen. Third place went to Louis Smit in 01:32:11. Jay Jay Deysel crossed the line in 10th place in 01:38:50.The final race of the weekend was the Team Sprint. ‘JeepTeamBok’ comprised Van Tonder, Deysel and the unstoppable, Hanneké Dannhauser.  Concludes Van Tonder, “A weekend of hard and fast OCR racing with a 2nd in the Black Ops Elite and a Jeep Team sprint win. Thank you to Toyota Warrior for an epic weekend.” 

Results – Black Ops Elite Men

1. Claude Eksteen               01:29:12

2. Thomas van Tonder         01:29:59

3. Louis Smit                      01:32:11   


1. Trish Bahlmann               01:56:56

2. Hanneke Dannhauser       01:59:14

3. Samantha Gilchrist           02:11:44


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Photo Credit: Zoon Cronje for www.zcmc.co.za 

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Published in Sports Range