By Bardy the Action Scribe

A puncture near the end of the final stage of the Subaru Sani-2-c mountain bike race briefly threatened the victory hopes of Melt Swanepoel and Mannie Heymans. But the MTN Energade pair remained calm, repaired the tyre and managed to finish fourth on the stage with enough time to secure a dominant overall win in the prestigious event.

“It was a bit of a worry when we first noticed the puncture, but Melt and I are both experienced so we just stayed calm put in a new tube and limited our time loss to about two-and-half- minutes,” explained Heymans.

But following an emphatic victory on the second stage (they also won Stage 1), on Friday, the pair held an overall lead of more than seven minutes going into Saturday’s final leg, a 71km haul from Roseveres Farm to Scottburgh Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.

The winners of the final stage were the William Simpson Adidas team of Oliver Munnik and Renay Gousta, who finished runners-up in the overall race.

“Although it’s good to win Sani-2-c, this is all really preparation for the Absa Cape Epic at the end of the month,” said Heymans. “Even the puncture repair today was kind of a dress rehearsal for the unexpected at The Epic.”

This was the second victory in the Sani-2-C for Heymans, who won the 2006 edition with Kevin Evans. Last year, Swanepoel and Heymans were runners-up and confirmed with their win this year that they’ve ‘bonded’ well as a pairing.

“Melt and I have been racing as partners for a year now and we’re really gelling nicely,” explained Heymans. “The important thing is that we understand each other, we never panic and we are both a very similar strength, which gives us an advantage over teams where one rider is stronger than the other.”

Swanepoel and Heymans will race the MTN Giro del Capo road stage race this week as part of their final preparation for the upcoming Absa Cape Epic.

2008 Subaru Sani-2-c
Leading results
Stage 3: 71km Roseveres Farm – Scottburgh Beach
1 Oliver Munnik / Renay Goustra (William Simpson Adidas) 02hr20min16sec
2 Marc Bassingthwaighte / Arno Viljoen (Garmin Trek) @ 27sec
3 David Lehman / Roan Exelby (Fullimput) @ 2:10
4 Mannie Heymans / Melt Swanepoel (MTN Energade) @ 2:42

Final General Classification
1 Mannie Heymans / Melt Swanepoel (MTN Energade) 08hr52min04sec
2 Oliver Munnik / Renay Goustra (William Simpson Adidas) @ 7:55
3 Marc Bassingthwaighte / Arno Viljoen (Garmin Trek) @ 10:06
4 David Lehman / Roan Exelby (Fullimput)  @ 16:15
5 Burry Stander / Rourke Croeser (Mr Price GT/Mongoose) @ 16:18