The Pietermaritzburg property developer Andrew Barnes took 1st honours in the Race Across South Africa by a narrow margin from SAA pilot and former RASA winner Tim James.
Barnes arrived at Allendale support station (end of “Stage” 1) at 13h15 to become the fastest rider over this stage as well as the 1st holder of the 2015 RASA Yellow Jersey Barnes was also the 1st to leave Allendale at 13h50, implying a 35 minute break at the station. James arrived only 10 minutes behind Barnes at 13h25, also had 35 minute break and headed out at 14h00. Both riders are now headed for Centocow and presumably Ntsikeni later tonight.
Lead riders just off record pace at Allendale Andrew Barnes’ arrival at Allendale support station was half an hour shy of RASA record pace. The RASA record of 10 days 16 hours and 40 minutes was set by Martin Dreyer back in 2014. In that race he arrived at Allendale at 12h45 on the 1st day, 30 minutes ahead of Barnes.
The current RASA title holder is Graham Bird, who is not defending it this year. Pierre Oosthuizen becomes the carrier of the Lantern Rouge after the 1st stage At the other end of the spectrum, with almost everyone through Allendale at time of writing, Pierre Oosthuizen becomes the 1st holder of RASA’s Lantern Rouge as at Allendale support station. The Lantern Rouge (or “Red Lantern”) emanates from the Tour de France, and is awarded to the slowest rider in the field, with the red lantern being deemed appropriate for that rider to hang on his/her bike so as to be visible to passing motorists in the black of night. In the RASA it is more likely to be passing horses and donkey carts.
Oosthuizen went through quite a bit of discomfort in order to earn the Lantern Rouge, having lost his way in the bush of the Umkomaas Valley as night fell, ultimately being forced to sleep the night out in the cold valley. He picked himself up the next morning to reach Allendale support station 1 day 7 hours and 15 minutes after the start.
Woolnough, Stewart lead the Race 2 Rhodes at Allendale
In the Race 2 Rhodes, Mike Woolnough and Janine Stewart, riding together at the moment, are the joint fastest Stage 1 riders and also Race 2 Rhodes leaders and Yellow Jersey holders as at Allendale support station. They arrived at 13h50 to clock 7 hours and 50 minutes over the stage, 1 hour ahead of Arno Crous and Eddie Stafford who came through in 8 hours and 50 minutes. Stewart and Woolnough departed at 14h28 in the direction of Centocow, but we would presume them to be heading for Ntsikeni before any sleep tonight.
The Pietermaritzburg to Rhodes record is also held by Martin Dreyer, set at 2 days 7 hours and 45 minutes in 2012 although it was as part of the RASA, with there not being a Race 2 Rhodes at that stage. The 2 are thus one hour and 5 minutes off record pace as at Allendale arrival. The current Race 2 Rhodes title holder is Graham Bird, who is not defending it this year.
Many hands make light work, as the 1st stage Race 2 Rhodes Lantern Rouge is carried by a foursome. They are John Foord, Chris Harburn, Russell Hanger and Jeremy Nel, who rode into Allendale support station together, not long after dark on the 1st day, in 13 hours and 20 minutes after starting in Maritzburg.