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Gwin goes fastest in Downhill qualifying



Photos by: Darren Goddard/Gameplan Media

Pietermaritzburg – Specialized Racing Downhill team star Aaron Gwin produced the quickest time in the men’s downhill qualifying at the 2014 UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, as he finished two and a half seconds ahead of Santa Cruz Syndicate duo of Josh Bryceland and Pietermaritzburg’s own world champion Greg Minnaar after the final round of downhill qualifying at the Cascades MTB Park.

The American national champion has a successful history at this venue and is in the right space heading into the final with the two Santa Cruz riders breathing down his neck.

“It feels good to be top but that run didn’t feel good,” Gwin mentioned. “There is always a burn but it was a smooth run with a couple of bobbles that I know I can clean up so I’m just trying to keep the train rolling here.”

Having just come out of a long winter in the northern hemisphere Gwin is having to budget his time and energy in the opening event of the 2014 World Cup and giving himself a chance in the final on Saturday is the most important element on such a physically demanding course.

“I’m feeling good and the bike is awesome this week so I am very happy.

“I think that it’s all about trying to save your legs for this one and throw it down when it counts. We have been putting in the work and so if I can put in the run that I know I can I think I will be really happy,” the 26 year old explained.

Defending men’s downhill World Champion Greg Minnaar came through the timed runs on Thursday as the fastest but was outgunned by the American and his teammate Bryceland but the South African is feeling strong and is happy with how he went.

“My plan was to come here and be as competitive as possible and that’s the way I came into it and it’s been a good start to the season but Saturday is going to be a different race but so far I am pretty happy with how it has started.”

Minnaar, who is on the mend from a serious knee surgery, is still in the mix on his home track with the third fastest time and with the hometown support it is never a safe bet to write Minnaar off even without a full offseason.

“I’m just racing, I’m not really worrying about the injury. I have taken all the precautions that I can and now I’m just struggling with time on the bike, I haven’t had as much time on the bike as everyone else and up top I am a bit slow but I have got fitness and determination so that will get me down!

“You say you not going to put pressure on yourself coming into the event but you want to race and win so you have to forget about everything and just focus on that race,” a focused but tired Minnaar added after qualifying.
Hutchinson UR hero Mick Hannah ended well off the pace after he suffered a mechanical at the top of the course and had to settle for a more relaxed run down the course as he automatically qualifies for the final due to his UCI ranking.

“In the top section I must have clipped a rock or something and had no rear brake going into one of the scarier little turns so I just hung on to it and got myself to a stop and then just cruised down slow and tried to stay out of the way of people.”

“It’s just a mechanical so there weren’t any mind games or anything and I have been doing my own times so I know how quick I am so it’s a good thing that nobody knows the times we can do!” he mentioned light-heartedly.

Another Pietermaritzburg resident excelled in the men’s qualifying with Tiaan Odendaal of Green Team coming in as the second fastest South African and 34th overall ahead of the final on Saturday.

Women’s Downhill World Champion Rachel Atherton of the GT Factory Racing team was on a drip 24 hours prior to her getting onto the track for the women’s qualifying and still managed to come in second place behind fellow Brit and Madison Saracen Factory Racing rider Manon Carpenter with Emmeline Ragot claiming the third spot.

“We flew into South Africa a week today, giving ourselves enough time to recover, and I guess I just picked something up on the plane,” Atherton said. “I just got steadily sicker as the days went on and over the last couple of days I have been really feverish and pretty sick so the doctor put me on penicillin and antibiotics trying to get me right for tomorrow’s race.

Having missed the practice session yesterday the question of whether the World Champion was going to be able to compete in the first World Cup and now that she has been able to finish a run she is just trying to keep herself in the points and doesn’t expect too much from the event.

“I feel a lot better than I did but one days practicing isn’t great for the World Cup but as long as I can get out there and try and ride down it is going to be a saving points race for me because I’m not feeling good for a win.

“It’s the start of the season and to have this in the first race is pretty devastating but it is going to be a pretty good challenge!” she added determinedly.

The pace-setter, Carpenter, had to battle the heat and a tricky course in her run but managed to get down unscathed and claim the rite to the final rider out of the gate in the final on Saturday.

“I had a tough start at the top and worked hard across the middle even though I didn’t want to kill myself too much because of tomorrow but it was alright – pretty dusty though!

“It’s hard to know about your time until you look at the splits because you don’t know who has put the effort in in the middle but I’m very happy with my run and I can get it back tomorrow, hopefully,” a tired but satisfied Carpenter mentioned.

The junior men’s downhill qualifiers was marred by the withdrawal of the second ranked and MS Mondraker Team rider Innes Graham during the practice session on Thursday but otherwise the junior qualifying went according to the script with the top riders qualifying for Saturday’s final as Luca Shaw from SRAM/TLD Racing ended in the fastest time of 4:19.081 and was five seconds faster than Lapierre Gravity Republic team.

The South African contingent did not fare as well with hometown hopeful Gregg Brown crashing out in practice on Thursday and was unable to take part in the qualifying. Jonathan Philogene was the top South African heading into the event ranked at fourth but battled his way through the second half of the course to end in 13th place overall.


Elite Men
1.Aaron Gwin (Specialized Racing DH) 4:05.298
2.Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) 4:07.836
3.Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) 4:07.919
4.Loic Bruni (Lapierre Gravity Republic) 4:08.967
5.Samuel Blenkinsop (Lapierre Gravity Republic) 4:09.132
6.Troy Brosnan (Specialized Racing DH) 4:09.402
7.Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing) 4:09.478
8.Nick Beer (Devinci Global Racing) 4:10.177
9.Sam Hill (Chain Reaction 4:12.025
10.Sam Dale (Madison Saracen Factory Team) 4:12.085

1.Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen Factory Team) 4:39.182
2.Rachel Atherton (GT Factory Racing) 4:48.325
3.Emmeline Ragot (Lapierre Gravity Republic) 4:48.670
4.Jill Kintner 4:50.405
5.Tracey Hannah (Hutchinson UR) 4:56.374

Junior Men
1.Luca Shaw (Sram/TLD Racing) 4:19.081
2.Loris Vergier (Lapierre Gravity Republic) 4:24.705
3.Taylor Vernon (GT Factory Racing) 4:33.318

More information can be found at

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The Old Mutual Music at the Lake series returns with THE PARLOTONES performing live at the Durban Botanic Gardens on Sunday 28 July.




Durban, June 12, 2024 – Old Mutual Music at the Lake returns with their next concert in the exceptional series and welcomes The Parlotones who’ll perform on Sunday 28 July at the Durban Botanic Gardens, nestled around the picturesque lake area.

Music enthusiasts and families alike can look forward to an unforgettable live performance by one of SA’s legendary bands, The Parlotones. Frontman Kahn Morbee will be traveling in from the Netherlands for this very special concert and can’t wait to perform at the Durban Botanic Gardens, saying “We’re all super excited to be playing in Durban. We have fond memories of our shows at the botanical gardens and we look forward to creating more.” 

Two amazing support acts are set to light up the stage with the wonderful Angel Mazibuko and Tristan Cole Boltman making their debut at the Durban Botanic Gardens and complete what will be a very special lineup.

The Old Mutual Music at the Lake series is the longest-running live music series in KwaZulu-Natal, offering a relaxing and entertaining Sunday afternoon in a beautiful outdoor setting. The event is staged at the Durban Botanic Gardens Lake area, the oldest botanic gardens in Africa, providing a serene backdrop with its lush gardens and abundant wildlife.

“Old Mutual’s sponsorship of the Music at the Lake series underscores our deep-rooted commitment to nurturing community spirit and celebrating cultural heritage. We believe in the power of music to bring people together and create lasting memories. Our support for this series shows our dedication to the arts and the communities we serve. We are proud to create platforms where talent, laughter, and family joy can flourish in the heart of Durban’s historic Botanic Gardens,” said Thobile Tshabalala, Head of Brand at Old Mutual.

Attendees are invited to bring their own food and drinks, blankets, and camping chairs to enjoy a delightful picnic-style afternoon on the shaded lawns of the gardens. Concert-goers can soak in the vibrant sounds of the live performance while observing an array of birdlife, including pelicans and spoonbills flying overhead.

Celebrate the beauty of a Durban Winter’s Day in the sun with your loved ones at the Durban Botanic Gardens and experience an afternoon of exceptional music. Don’t miss out on this unique event that blends nature, music, and relaxation! Get your tickets now from Webtickets.



Old Mutual Music at the Lake: The Parlotones

Date: Sunday 28 July

Venue: Durban Botanic Gardens

Times: Gates open 13h00 – Music starts 14h00 – Show ends 17h00.

Ticket link here.

Drinks and food welcome. You may bring picnic blankets and camping chairs

Follow Music at The Lake online:

Official Website: 



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The Pick n Pay Wine & Food Festival Durban




Pick n Pay Wine & Food Festival in Durban
Pick n Pay Wine & Food Festival in Durban

Swirl, sniff, and sip your way through some of South Africa’s best wines 🍷 at the annual Pick n Pay Wine & Food Festival in Durban.


And we are giving away 4 x double tickets valued at R275 each! 🥳 Read to the end to find out how to enter!


The retailer brings the Cape Winelands to Chris Saunders Park in uMhlanga for one day only on 27 July, accompanied by delicious food and an afternoon of live entertainment.


Wine & FoodWine & Food


With every imaginable varietal on offer for wine lovers to sample, alongside a sumptuous selection of fresh and delicious food offerings, wine enthusiasts are invited to discover new wines and enjoy old favourites, from elegant, crisp white wines and full-bodied, robust reds, to the finest sparkling wine, Cap Classiques and MCCs.


Some 30 farms will be showcasing their wines at the Festival, and a general ticket includes a tasting glass and 20 wine-tasting vouchers. Producer representatives will guide festivalgoers through the various tasting options and explain each wine’s unique flavours and aromas for a renewed appreciation for the different wines.


Guests who want to level up their tasting experience can also book one of the 30-minute Pick n Pay Tasting Room wine and food pairing sessions, limited to 40 guests per session.  A sell-out in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and Durban Tasting Room tickets are flying too.


On the food front, the Pick n Pay Fresh Food Market 🍲 will ensure you don’t go hungry with a selection of delicious pizzas, burgers, cheese and charcuterie platters, fish and chips, grilled Chicken Espetada, curry & rice, as well as oysters and sushi, along with vegan and vegetarian offerings.


👉 Check out their latest menu and pricing here.


🧺 The popular Pick n Pay Picnic Bag is available for pre-booking and is jam-packed with a curated showcase of delectable offerings, including cheeses, cured meats, freshly baked bread, biltong, hummus, and more.


Wine & FoodWine & Food

Live music 🎶 will provide the perfect backdrop to the afternoon, featuring local musicians The Black Lapels, Afro Divas, and saxophonist Tim Lewis 🎷 on stage.


Tickets are available at Webtickets, priced from R275 per person (includes tasting glass and 20 wine tasting tokens).


🚗 Limited Designated Driver tickets are also available on request via


Booking tip: Pick n Pay Wine Club members qualify for exclusive early access. Click here to become a member, or send your Smart Shopper card number to 36775 to join free of charge.


Click here for information.


Wine & Food


We are giving away 4 x double tickets valued at R275 each!


How to Enter:

1. Follow Durbanite and Pick n Pay Wine & Food Festival Instagram pages.
2. Comment your best wine & food pairing & tag a friend.


1. Follow Durbanite and Pick n Pay Wine & Food Festival Facebook pages.
2. Comment your best wine & food pairing & tag a friend.

No Under 18s are permitted to enter.

Closing Date:
Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Winners Announced:
Thursday, 25 July 2024

Entries limited to 5 per day.
Winners will be selected at random from all valid entries – tickets will be emailed to winners.
Durbanite Competition T&Cs apply.

Please always drink responsibly, more on the events recommendations here for your review.

We encourage all patrons to Uber to the event, or have a designated driver who will not consume alcohol at the event.

Do not drink and drive.


Wine & Food

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Come out to play! We’re all going to be at the East Coast Radio House + Garden Show 2024, opening from the 29 June to the 7 July at the Durban Exhibition Centre.  Every day and every night for 9 full days, you’ll get to discover a brand-new world of fresh and fabulous takes on Creating Happy Homes… and you’ll leave with a headful of different ideas, hands full of goodies and gadgets, and a heart full of joyful spoils and inspiration.


We’ve got all the spoils this year, with over R300 000 worth of competition prizes in cash, products and experiences; not including our legendary Show discounts and specials available every day! Join Plascon as they take you on a fun digital Treasure Hunt, and ka-ching, a chance to step out with R10 000 cash in your pocket. Eye and try your luck at Hirsch’s Mysterious Big Blue Box, packed with appliances, little and large. Peer into the box’s peepholes, check out the contents, estimate the total value, and pop your golden guess into the Entry Box. Best Clue Ever… snoop around the Hirsch’s stand to discover the goods and their prices! Then, for all our budding creatives, Cricut is giving away a whopping R100 000 worth of awesome products when you design a custom shopping bag that everybody loves best! The Cricut experts will assist you with making your actual bag right then and there. Let the voting begin!

The East Coast Radio House + Garden Show caters for dreams too! One Stop Travel has FIVE competition prizes to transport you to other worlds… from local to global, from land to sea, to three hot pairs of rugby tickets for the Castle Lager Rugby Match where SA take on Ireland in Durban on the 13 July, 2024! Sail away, travel north, south, east or west, or snap up two air tickets on Qatar Airways to Doha for four nights! R100 000 worth of dreams, and all prize winners will be announced at the Show!


This year’s Show is big on families! It’s the holidays, so bring the children along for the fun and games. We’ve got everything awesome from an outdoor Jungle Gym, Bubble House and Sand Art to the magical indoor Play Space by Melissa and Doug. Your kids can meet their favourite fairytale characters, play dress-up and make-believe and join other friends in a dozen different kids-only workshops – painting with Rapunzel, decorating take-home toadstools, or creating super cool snow globes. Let them listen in to story time, and escape to a fantasy storybook world where they can be whoever they’ve dreamt of being! The great outdoors or the fun-filled indoors – there’s a whole heap of good kids’ things going on at the East Coast Radio House + Garden Show. It’s going to be the best fun ever for kids and parents alike.


Food glorious food! This year’s Foodie Fair is a playground of flavours and fresh faces, from tasty newcomers to equally tasty old favourites – they’re pulling out the stops to ensure everybody’s tastebuds are catered for! With around 40 fabulous, hand-picked food stalls, what’s it to be today or tonight? Grand gourmet burgers or delectable eisbein, go Mexican or Korean, choose sweet and sticky or something artisanal and curated? All the best brands! And at the heart of it all, is the coolest Gin Garden – bag your barstool for insane cocktails, craft beers, and mellow tunes. Think bright gin cocktails and beer on tap, all washed down with a line-up of musicians ready to entertain at scheduled times throughout the Show. Meet up with mates at the Gin Garden stage to watch and listen to the cool sounds of Matt Gardiner, Freddy L and Tatum Holder. Before, during or after you tour the Show, the Gin Garden will be the best place to be… and be seen. Don’t just visit the Show, come for a day or night on the town. Make it a meal and a Show. It’s all happening at this year’s Foodie Fair at the East Coast Radio House + Garden Show 2024!


Go on, take the family, the Great Outdoors awaits, whether it’s as close as your garden, or as far as unexplored corners of the globe. Stroll through our outdoor lanes, snooping, plotting, planning and shopping your next wild getaway. From rugged little off-roaders to adventure accessories, garden gadgets and 4×4 vehicles, this is where nature waves her wand. A fresh world of adventure awaits you outside at this year’s East Coast Radio House + Garden Show.


What’s in, what’s out, what’s hot, what’s not – decor and designs, quick fixes and slow burns, colours you can taste… they’ll all be there at the 2024 East Coast Radio House + Garden Show. Welcome to this year’s powerhouse of local and global design concepts, all collated for you to Create a Happy Home. Come and Discover KZN Design, where local is king – a hand-picked collective of exciting artists, crafters and entrepreneurs, producing dynamic, world-class work right on our doorstep. From unique ceramic pieces to iconic artwork, you’ll want to take one home.

The Show loves to showcase local, but global always gets a big look-in. Whether it’s our favourite demonstrators conjuring up international aromas, flavours and recipes in the madly popular Hirsch Test Kitchen, or the thrill of mind-blowing technology advances as Hirsch’s parades good-looking appliances and very cool gadgets.

We go glocal, too, with glorious colour and decor trends in Plascon’s Showrooms, where we put an up-and-coming interior design agency in the spotlight using two of the latest colour palettes. We lust after the exquisite custom-made Barbet Interiors furniture, and plot how to make one of those pieces our very own.  It’s all about dreaming and scheming at the East Coast Radio House + Garden Show 2024 – and we provide all the stuff of dreams!

The East Coast Radio House + Garden Show is sponsored by Plascon with Durban Tourism as destination partners.
For more information visit or follow the Show on Instagram and Facebook using @housegardenshow.

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