The 13th edition of the world’s largest mountain bike stage race, the KAP sani2c, got underway on Tuesday, 9 May, with the first of the three events, the Trail. Over 1500 riders geared-up to navigate their way from Himeville to Scottburgh on the KZN South Coast.
Jeep Team SA mountain biker, Pierre Smith, teamed up with Sylvia Van Tromp, to take on the three-day Trail race covering some 260km with a total of 3785m of ascent, from the foot-hills of the Southern Drakensberg to the Indian Ocean.
Day 1 (09/05) saw the race start at Glencairn Farm in Himeville and end at MacKenzie Country Club in Ixopo. This stage covered 82km with a total ascent of 1185m. Smith and van Tromp completed the first day in a time of 03:45:45, claiming a 9-minute lead in the mixed team category.
Day 2 (10/05), the longest and most demanding stage, spanned 96kms with just under 2000m of vertical descent and 1550m of climbing. The route from MacKenzie Country Club to Jolivet in Highflats traverses the mighty Umkomaas Valley and some of the most thrilling single-track imaginable. The ‘LETS RIDE’ duo of Smith and Van Tromp maintained their lead, finishing the gruelling stage in 04:38:18.
Day 3 (11/05) of the KAP sani2c saw an 82km dash for the sea-side finish. The stage featured 1900 metres of descent and 1050m of total climbing. The fast farm-road, sweeping descents, and 600m-long floating bridge near the finish line, made for an enthralling finale. Smith and Van Tromp crossed the line in 3:19:18, winning the Mixed Cat and finishing 11th overall.
The duo completed the race in a total time of 11:43:21, some 20 minutes ahead of the second-placed LYNX Real Estate team, Dirk and Ronel Nel. Third place in the Trail Mixed Category went to the Coimbra Cycle House team of Vickus and Wilma Boshoff.
Says Smith, “A week before the race I was still struggling with a few niggles after nasty accident when a car hit me off my bike, and in my mind, my sani2c race was less than appealing, let alone achievable. Against all odds, my speedster partner, Sylvia van Tromp, and I won the Mixed Cat of the sani2c Trail. Super stocked!
I had such a good time on the bike. I was pain free and felt strong too. Riding through some of the most beautiful places in SA brings you down to earth again and I realised again why I cycle – the feeling of freedom and happiness.
I want to thank everyone that is always there to help and support me through thick and thin, especially Jeep Team SA for their ongoing support.”
Results – sani2c Trail (Mixed Category)
- LETS RIDE (Pierre Smith and Sylvia Van Tromp) 11:43:21
- LYNX Real Estate (Dirk Nel and Ronel Nel) 12:03:14
- Coimbra Cycle House (Vickus Boshoff and Wilma Boshoff) 12:12:12