Although Beukes was the top man on both days at Kaapsehoop, the complex scoring system meant he had to wait anxiously for confirmation of the final series standings a few days later.
Buys led the series going into the final weekend, but Beukes’ superior climbing abilities saw him wrest the lead from his teammate.
The 29-year-old said the opening day gave him the much needed opportunity to open a decent gap on Buys.
“After the first day I was quite relieved when I got to the finish because the conditions were quite horrendous – misty and muddy. I was very relieved and happy to have won with a decent gap that day.”
A two-minute lead saw Beukes go into the second stage with the upper hand, a fact he took full advantage of as he rode to his second victory. He completed the weekend in 4:57:29, three faster than Buys.
“To have first and second in the team on new bikes and with the new sponsor is quite awesome. It’s my first series win so it makes it so much more special for me.”
The Oudtshoorn resident admitted the series had been an eventful one, starting with a wrong turn at the opening event in Grabouw that saw him finish 10th.
“Then I got a bee sting just before the second round and apparently I’m quite allergic, so I reacted quite badly and had to pull out.”
Beukes tackled the third round in top form after the Cape Epic and secured his first victory on the Saturday to go with a second place on the Sunday.
Illness around the time of the SA National Marathon Championships saw him struggle at the fourth round, where he barely made it onto the podium on both days. He made a strong comeback in the fifth race, where he narrowly held off Brendon Davids in a sprint finish.
“I think the Van Gaalen race was the hardest. Brendon and I had a tough battle there and I was really happy to come away on top in that one.”
At the sixth round, in Dullstroom, he was forced to withdraw from the first stage due to a puncture, but made up for it the next day when he stormed to victory.
“Overall I would say the season was really good for me. I had very little bad luck and this (past) weekend couldn’t have gone any better for me, winning both days.”
Candice Lill, like Beukes, started the final event in second place, but with leader Robyn de Groot absent from the start line she was able to climb into first.
The news came as somewhat of a surprise after commentary at the finish of the final event had her believing she didn’t have sufficient points to unseat De Groot.
“I’d seen the overall points going into the weekend and I saw how far I was off Robyn. I thought maybe I could win it if I won both events, but the commentator kept saying I’d come second at the end.
“I really didn’t think I could win overall until I got home.”
Heading into her final event of the season, Wines2Whales, Lill said she was pleased to have the overall title to add to her list of accomplishments, which includes overall victory at the Tour of Good Hope in March.
“I was happy to win the series. I didn’t set out to win it, but I’m happy that I managed it.”