The Rock just got “Tougher-er”


The Rock Mountain Bike and Trail Run Festival announced today that it has secured a sponsorship from Bidvest McCarthy Toyota Paarl for Paarl’s biggest endurance festival which takes place over the weekend of 27-29 September later this year.

Besides a cash sponsorship, Bidvest McCarthy Toyota Paarl has committed a significant personnel base and a fleet of vehicles to assist with logistics over the weekend.

Their support will make race director Darren Herbst’s job considerably easier with the presentation of eight mountain-biking and trail running events over the three action packed days.

The Rock represents Paarl biggest annual endurance festival and was staged very successfully for the first-time last year, attracting more than 1000 participants.

This year the festival comes to Spice Route Destination and Rhebokskloof Estate from 27-29 September and again presents lots of entertainment and fun activities to cater for all levels of mountain-bikers and trail runners as well as their families.

With an affordable price tag and array of options to suit all levels of mountain-bikers and trail runners, including a fully-fledged mountain-bike stage race, The Rock represents a new chapter for endurance events.

“This was the big attraction for us,” commented Hannes du Preez, General Manager of Bidvest McCarthy Toyota Paarl. “Everyone is conscious of the current economic climate and we feel that The Rock has got its value offering spot-on.

“We assisted with the event last year as well, and we are comfortable that the festival is presented at the highest possible level. I personally spoke to a lot of participants who were all full of praise for the organisation.

“The consensus was that the festival will growth significantly in the coming years, so it was an easy decision and we’re elated to be a part of the journey,” he said.

Paarl’s biggest mountain-bike and trail run bash presents a 3-day mountain-bike stage race and a 2-day trail-run as well as seven other individual single day rides and runs for mountain-bikers and trail runners.

The 3-day mountain-bike stage race carries a price tag of just R1350 and entry fee for the 2-day trail-run is an affordable R900.

“The Rock is affordable and very good value. The staging last year didn’t reflect the affordable price tag. Quite the contrary, the race outdoes a lot of its more expensive counterparts,” said Du Preez.

“The trails on the Paarl Mountain are amazing, but I think the biggest contributor to the success could well be the beautiful venues. Rhebokskloof and Spice Route are absolutely brilliant. They’re the best hosting venues that I’ve come across,” he said.

“We look forward to engaging with our customers and creating a wonderful perception of the Toyota brand over the weekend. We’re not just a sponsor, we will again actively be involved in the organisation and ensure that cyclists and runners are looked after in the best possible way.”

Race director, Darren Herbst, conveyed his appreciation for Bidvest McCarthy Toyota Paarl’s commitment to the event. “We worked well with Hannes and his team last year. We know each other and our relationship it bodes well for the event.

“It’s humbling for us that they have committed to sponsoring the weekend. We all know how challenging the economic environment has become and we really appreciate their contribution.

“Without sponsors we wouldn’t be able to keep the event financially sound,” said Herbst, “especially with the affordable entry fees that we would like to sustain.”

Herbst says The Rock has a clear vision “to get bums back on bicycle seats and tackies on the trails. We have a long-term vision to build this event into a something substantial.

“Instead of offering sponsors just a few hundred participants, which a lot of mountain-bike stage races now do, we would like to attract sponsorship by keeping entry fees affordable and rather accommodating a larger participant base.”

Herbst believes in creating the opportunity for as many cyclists and runners to get in on the act over a single weekend. “We want the entire family to have an option to take part over the weekend – from serious stage racers to the Average Joe who wants to ride or run a 10km or a 5km.

He has a few delightful surprises up his sleeve for the 2019 edition of The Rock. “We are continually developing new trails on and around the Paarl Mountain and The Rock is a major benefactor of all the trail building.

“Contrary to our new sponsor’s tagline, The Rock won’t be ‘tougher-er’ this year, but certainly more interesting and varied.

“We aren’t going to change the basic framework of any of the routes, but there will be even more single track and a lot of it will be nicely matured by the time race weekend arrives.”

Herbst firmly believes that the Paarl Mountain will become one of the most popular cycling and trail running destinations in South Africa.

“I have been working with the Drakenstein Municipality for two years now to realise their vision of Paarl becoming a preferred endurance sport destination and our efforts are already starting to pay dividends.”



  1. Sept: Day 1 Malmesbury – Rhebokskloof: 54km – 1300m elevation
  2. Sept: Day 2 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route: 43km – 950m elevation
  3. Sept: Day 3 Spice route – Rhebokskloof: 48km – 1300m elevation

Riders can enter any one of the days individually.



28 Sept: Day 1 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route: 21km – 568 elevation

29 Sept: Day 2 Spice Route – Rhebokskloof: 18.5km – 720m elevation

Runners can enter any one of the days individually.

The MTB and Trail Run multi-day stage races are limited to 500 riders/runners on a first come first served basis – riders can enter solo or as two-rider teams while runners enter solo.


Saturday 28 September 2019 is the big hosting day at Spice Route Destination. The destination artisan village hosts the finish of “The Rock” stage races with live bands and lots of entertainment while the following fun rider events will also start and finish at Spice Route as part of the Trail Fest:

08h45: 25km MTB Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route

09h15: 10km MTB Family Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route

10h30: 5km kiddies MTB – start and finish at Spice Route


The Rock moves to Rhebokskloof Estate on Sunday 29 September with the following fun run events starting and finishing at Rhebokskloof:

07h15: 10km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof

07h30: 5km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof

09h00: 2km Kiddies Obstacle Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof

For more information and to enter go to




07h00: MTB Stage Race Day 1: Malmesbury – Rhebokskloof: 54km – 1300m elevation


07h00: MTB Stage Race Day 2 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route: 48km – 1000m elevation
07h10: Trail Run Stage Race Day 1 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route 21km – 568m elevation
08h45: 25km MTB Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route
09h15: 10km MTB Family Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route
10h30: 5km kiddies MTB – start and finish at Spice Route


07h00: MTB Stage Race Day 3 Spice Route – Rhebokskloof: 48km – 1300m elevation
07h10: Trail Run Stage Race Day 2 Spice Route – Rhebokskloof 18.5km – 720m elevation
07h15: 10km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
07h30: 5km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
09h00: 2km Kiddies Obstacle Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof


To view the 2018 Race Highlights video, go to

For more info go to or email