The second event of the 2021 Trans Baviaans is dubbed the Repeat. While the Race attracts a more competitive field the Repeat blends racing with riding for the challenge, the scenery and the pleasure of traversing the Baviaanskloof. It was fitting then that the icy conditions were not repeated for the less serious riders. They were greeted rather by a classic crisp late winter’s day as they rode from Willowmore, 227-kilometres, to Jeffreys Bay.
Predictably there were those who took the task at hand seriously and raced for category victories, or to set the best possible time. Team of that ilk included the Coopetto Mix squad of Kevin Taljaard and the husband-and-wife combination of Yolande and Henties de Villiers. Yolande de Villiers had finished third overall, alongside Dirk Coetzee the previous weekend and was on course to repeat her mixed category victory too.
Disaster struck for the team after the Big Dipper descent, near the 160-kilometre mark. Henties de Villiers destroyed his rear wheel and was left walking towards Check Point 5, at Komdomo. His wife, meanwhile, rode ahead to collect a spare wheel from their support crew at the check point and returned to her stricken husband. In total the mechanical cost the Coopetto team nearly 90 minutes, but they nonetheless still managed to claim the mixed category title.
Ahead of them the men’s race was won by Team Sparkles. Bruere Kloppers and Dean Hopf crossed the finish line, at the Fountains Mall, in a time of 9 hours, 28 minutes and 36 seconds. Their nearest rivals were the Vital Vet team. The Roaming Goats outfit, of Tina Brenzel and Alma Colyn, were the fastest women’s squad. They reached Jefferys Bay after 11 hours, 48 minutes and 28 seconds of racing.
The real stories of the Repeat were the tales of riding for a good cause or completing the Trans Baviaans against the odds. Marc Van Staden, Wayne Keet, Brendan Keevey and Andrew Robinson were one of the teams riding for charity. Not content with representing Knysna’s NSRI Station 12 the quartet also rode to raise funds for CHOC. The Childhood Cancer Foundation is an organisation which does exceptional work and anyone inspired by the NSRI Station 12 team’s efforts can visit www.choc.org.za to find out more about the work of the CHOC Foundation.
As with the Race the previous weekend riders were held at Check Point 5, at the 174-kilometre mark, if they failed to pass that point by 17:00. This was to ensure nobody broke the curfew. Some teams took the opportunity to plan ahead and spend the night at Komdomo. Team AB did just that.
André and Amori Blignaut had attempted the Trans Baviaans once before. “I promised André we’d finish a Trans together” Amori said. “But to be honest without the overnight stop I wouldn’t have made it. By the time we reached Check Point 5 I was finished. After a night’s rest though, I was ready to ride again and I’m really happy to have been able to keep my promise to André. I don’t know if I’ll do another Trans Baviaans, but I’m so happy to have finished one.”
“I hope all the Trans Baviaans Race and Repeat riders thoroughly enjoyed their experiences in the Baviaanskloof this year” EcoBound’s Zane Schmahl reflected post-Repeat. “It was by no means and easy year to organise the events, but we felt that for Willowmore, the Baviaanskloof and the riders who had entered for 2020 already that it was essential to do all we could to host the events. I think the camping at Komdomo added a different element to the 2021 events, as did the rolling starts in Willowmore. For the teams who slept over it was a truly memorable experience and one which will make the 2021 Trans Baviaans one for the history books.”
“The Race riders will certainly remember 2021” Schmahl smiled. “Regardless of when they started or if they had to wait out curfew at Check Point 5. The freezing temperatures and frost on the road verges certainly made for captivating photos, if not ideal riding conditions.”
“We’re looking forward now to a more ‘normal’ Trans Baviaans in 2022” Schmahl added. “Entries to next year’s Race and Repeat will open on the 10th of December 2021, at 10:00. Riders can bookmark the 13th of August so long though, for the Race, and the 20th of August for the Repeat.”
In the meantime, mountain biking fans can relive the 2021 Trans Baviaans Race and Repeat on the event’s social media handles. Like Trans Baviaans 24HR MTB Race on Facebook and follow @transbaviaans on Instagram for more photos and videos from the events. For more information visit www.transbaviaans.co.za.