Himeville – The 2017 Old Mutual joBerg2c concluded last week with PYGA Euro Steel’s Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes taking top honours in an exciting nine days of racing over a route which included next week’s KAP sani2c course.
The final three days of the joBerg2c includes the entire three-day sani2c route, which gives elite riders that do both a good opportunity to check out the route before they hit the trails again just 12 days later. And this year, with some major changes to the sani2c’s decisive ‘Iconic Climb’ out the Umkomaas Valley on Day 2, taking part in the longer event could give riders a critical advantage.
“We had some time on our hands going into the final three days of joBerg2c so we used that as a good opportunity to map out our attack on the route,” PYGA Euro Steel’s Philip Buys mentioned.
“I think it has been about six years since I last did a sani2c, so it was nice to be able to see the route again in racing conditions.”
The PYGA Euro Steel duo of Buys and Beukes were in stellar form at the Absa Cape Epic where they rode away with the African Jersey for the fastest all-African team, and they have continued their form into the early winter racing season.
Despite their good form, one can never write off the NAD Pro MTB Team of Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell, who pushed the winning duo all the way to the coast over the joBerg2c. Recuperation from the nine-day slog to the East Coast before the shorter, faster three-day sani2c showdown is going to be the key for the teams that took part.
“We feel that we have improved and are continuing to improve, which a good thing. We have avoided sickness which has meant that we have been able to train at our optimum,” said Buys.
“I thought that I would be a lot more broken after joBerg2c but we are both feeling quite strong and the race (joBerg2c) is quite smooth so it doesn’t break you down as much as others.”
Looking too closely into the form of other teams at the joBerg2c could prove to be detrimental, as Buys knows the more competitive nature of the sani2c means that the field will be stronger.
“There are going to be quite a few teams that are going to come into the sani2c a lot fresher after giving joBerg2c a miss.
“But with that said, we have come through the nine days well and feel good, so I think that form and racing experience will be beneficial for us going into the race.
“We are going into next week with a lot of confidence but we know that the competition is going to be fierce, so it’s important for us to train well and be as prepared as possible,” Buys stressed.
This year is the 13th edition of the KAP sani2c, the world’s largest mountain bike stage race, which takes place from Himeville to Scottburgh during the second week of May. There are three races which form the event. On May 9, the Trail riders set off from Himeville for MacKenzie Farm near Ixopo.
Then on the next day, while they are heading for Jolivet Farm in Highflats, the Adventure riders take on stage one. As the Trail riders dash to Scottburgh on May 11, the serious Race riders set off on their three-day journey from Himeville.