Organisers of the KAP sani2c have announced a prize wallet of R 500k for the 2019 edition of the race. The event is 3 days of riding 265kms from Underberg to Scottburgh in Kwa-Zulu Natal, and it’s the largest mountain bike stage race in the world with up to 4200 riders taking part. Three versions of the event run over 5 days, with The Trail from 14-16 May, the Adventure from 15-17 May, and the Race takes place from 16-18 May this year.
The top South African professional mountain bikers make their annual pilgrimage to the KAP sani2c, and this is in large part because of how the event caters for the pro riders.
Team NAD MTB’s Nico Bell, who won the Men’s title at last year’s sani2c with teammate Matt Beers, says: “They look after us, there is good prize money so it motivates us and it motivates the competition to come, so you are racing against all the pros in South Africa. For a 3 day stage race the prize money at sani2c is pretty much the best at this stage.”
He says the event also gives the Pro teams good exposure which is what they are looking to achieve for their sponsors: “Exposure-wise it’s a big goal for a lot of the pro teams. There is TV exposure, Farmer Glen is up and down in the helicopter, it is really interesting to see the race unfold, even for the people at home who watch on social media.”
“I think it’s also nice for the all the participants to be at an event that caters for the Pros, because although they are not competing at that level, many like to compare their times with the pros and see how they are doing.”
‘Farmer’ Glen Haw, the race founder, says it is important to attract the professional riders and reward them for their commitment to mountain biking: “With what it takes to ride at that level, with all the training and travel and equipment they need, the events need to be paying the prize money. To make a living as a professional mountain biker is very difficult, and you have to be professional if you want to win a race like sani2c.
“So we have worked hard to structure the prize money and the categories to look after the riders who put in the commitment and need the support from the events to keep riding professionally.”
Sam Sanders won the 2018 Women’s race with dormakaba teammate Amy McDougall and is looking forward to returning to sani2c next month: “I’ll definitely race in the Women’s category, I love the race, it’s one of the iconic stage races in South Africa and Glen Haw puts together a really great vibe. It’s one of the races I really enjoy doing and why we come back every year.”
“As a team, dormakaba likes to have a presence at the bigger events and we believe in supporting these events.”
Farmer Glen says the sport also needs to be fostering new young talent: “We have created a Young Guns category where a 19-22 year old men’s and a women’s team will each receive R 15k prize money. We are looking forward to seeing a new generation of riders who will come and discover the magic of sani2c.”
Ruan Lochner, manager for team PYGA Euro Steel agrees, saying they have young riders coming through the ranks and while it is challenging to support a lot of people in a professional team, having good prize money helps a lot for them to see that they can earn a living from racing.
He says: “In the past few years this event has been a real focus for us and we have won the event a few times before. From communication down to helping with every aspect of the race, it’s very easy dealing with the sani2c team. We share content from our media side and vice versa so it helps a lot to have that backing from an event, as it gains more traction for us as a team and for our sponsors.”
“Having a big prize purse motivates the riders and it makes the competition better – it helps us a lot if there is proper competition. This is their full-time job, and it’s not every guy in South Africa that can earn a living through the sport. Events like sani2c elevate the sport and pushes our guys to go harder and deeper.”
The relationship with the professional riding community is important to the sani2c team, says Farmer Glen. “While we cater for the weekend warrior and racing snakes alike, and our emphasis is on a fun ride with incredible hospitality, it means a lot to us that the Race remains popular with the pro riders, and we will continue to ensure they are well catered for with top level prize money and the organisational support that they are used to.”