Gert Heyns (Stellenbosch) and Candice Lill (Cape Town) successfully defended their titles at the 2022 Fedhealth MTB Challenge that took place at the picturesque Blaauwklippen Wine Estate on Sunday 11 September 2022.
The Fedhealth MTB Challenge Marathon (+- 60km) featured a total climb of 1200m, while the terrain included smooth open road climbs and lots of single track that were technical but with very smooth descents. Iconic farms traversed included Blaauwklippen, Mont Marie, Ernie Els and Stellenrust to mention just a few.
“It was really muddy out there,” admits Heyns who claimed victory in a time of 02 hours 42 seconds. “It was super slippery, but I know the Mont Marie trails quite well, so I led down there. I also enjoy riding in the muddy conditions, so I managed to extend my lead all the way to the finish. It’s always beautiful around here, and a bit different when it’s wet. You must concentrate the whole time, so there wasn’t much time to look around, but it was super fun. It’s nice to win it again this year. The Fedhealth MTB Challenge is a great opportunity to experience some of the best trails in the country and there’s always a nice vibe at the event. If it fits into the calendar, I’ll definitely try to be back next year.” Arno Du Toit came in second, while Michael Foster finished third.
Candice Lill claimed victory in the women’s race in 02 hours 38 minutes 51 seconds. “The event was fun. It was super muddy out there, but the trails rode well in the mud, so that was cool,” says Lill. “My dropper post and my rear brakes stopped working, so it was a bit of a crazy day, but still a lot of fun. I really enjoy the trails around here, so it’s a good reason to come ride the Fedhealth MTB Challenge and race the guys a bit. South African races are such a vibe. I enjoy having the finish at Blaauwklippen, and always look forward to having a nice day afterwards.” Kate Slegrova came in second, while Michelle Lombardi finished third.
The Fedhealth MTB Challenge Half Marathon (+- 30km) featured a total climb of 580m while the terrain included good gradient climbs with beautiful views. The views at Keermont were a definite highlight, while other iconic farms traversed included Stellekaya, Chaloner, Keermont, Vriesenhof and lots more.
Vincent Buter (Somerset West) successfully defended his title in the Fedhealth MTB Challenge Half Marathon (+- 30km). Buter crossed the finish line in 01 hour 20 minutes 37 seconds. “The route was nice. I live in Somerset West, so I know all these trails off by heart,” says Buter. “It was nice riding my home trails. It was wet, slippery and had some off camber corners, but it was really nice and well-marked. I broke away on the second climb, and just pushed from there and managed to keep first place. Because it’s my home trails I love it so much. We don’t have races this close to home all the time, so coming here is very nice. I’ll be back next year, but this time for the Full Marathon.” Jean-Pierre Du Plessis came in second, while Cobus Marais finished third.
Karin Burger was the first rider to cross the finish line in the women’s race with a finishing time of 02 hours 38 minutes 23 seconds. Jessi Nixon came in second, while Marike Steyn finished third.
“The Fedhealth MTB Challenge is an annual highlight on our calendar – it’s wonderful to be part of this experience where so many families, friends and individual riders of all ages and fitness levels come together for a great day out at the beautiful Blaauwklippen Wine Estate. Once you have experienced an event like this, it’s hard not to feel inspired to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle – and that’s something we as a medical aid will always take great pride in promoting,” says Jeremy Yatt Fedhealth Principal Officer.
PRIZE PURSE: The 2022 Fedhealth MTB Challenge Marathon (+- 60km) boasted a R30 000 Prize Purse. The male and female winners each took home R7000.00, while runners up received R5000.00 with the third-place finishers securing R3000.00 each.
CHARITY SUPPORT: The 2022 Fedhealth MTB Challenge proudly supports The Kindness Collaboration Project. When entering the event online mountain bikers could show their support by donating towards the cause. To find out more about the project visit https://www.stillwatersports.com/news/fedhealth-mtb-challenge-proudly-supports-the-kindness-collaboration-project/