The NanoTime rider shrugged off a crash on the fourth lap, which negated the lead he had built up, to forge ahead again, finishing in front of Johan van Zyl and Matthew Keyser.
As he contemplates his move to the elite category, the 22-year-old from Pretoria said he was delighted to get “this monkey off my back”.
“I have been trying to win this title for a few years now and always seemed to have some bad luck on the day,” said Botha.
“I would either have a puncture or I didn’t have the legs on the day, so I’m obviously very happy with the win and looking forward to moving up to the elite category next year.”
Racing six laps of the 4.3km course, Botha said he followed a plan of keeping it steady for the first three to see who had the legs.
“The field slowly thinned out to the point where it was just me, Johan van Zyl and Keagan Bontekoning ahead of the rest.
“On the fourth lap I decided to put in a bit of an effort to see if I could open up a gap and I managed to distance myself from Johan and Keagan.
“But unfortunately I had a crash on one of the slippery corners and my lead was pretty much equalised.”
However, going into the fifth lap he managed to restore the gap.
“I then knew I just had to play it safe, not make any stupid mistakes and just bring it in to the finish,” he said.
Botha’s victory came on what he described as his favourite cross-country course in the country.
“On Friday there was a lot of rain during practice, but the track changed on race day because it dried out a lot and this suited me. There were almost perfect conditions, with the ground nice and tacky.”
“I enjoy this course, having raced it in the 2018 World Cup, and it is always a pleasure to compete here.”