“I will definitely be back to this ride, it is good enough to be an annual pilgrimage. Farmer Glen and his team have an incredible formula that feels different to anything else I’ve done in South Africa, and it really is a celebration of why we love riding this amazing country.”

So says Kevin Benkenstein, recently returned from the United States’ Unbound XL as the 4th finisher, completing 570 km in 22 hours and two minutes, and he says that sani2c nonstop was one of the best rides he has done, anywhere: “I’d even call it my longest MTB ride ever, because it was a real mountain bike course with more time spent riding singletrack in a day, than I’ve done all year. It was brilliant.”

Images by: Anthony Grote

‘Benky’ and his wife Mikayla finished second amongst the three person teams, with Matt Dove as their Support Driver, in a time of 14:31:05.

The nonstop ride covers 257 kms that must be completed within 24 hours, starting at 2am on Saturday morning and travelling along most of the KAP sani2c three day stage race route, from Underberg to Scottburgh beach. Teams of three, four and five, including a support driver, cover the distance with multiple checkpoints along the route. The final finishers crossed the line after 22 hours.

(Sarah Hill shares her experience:  https://www.instagram.com/p/C8hE_xuqdqO/)

In the third placed team overall, Sarah Hill was the first woman across the line as part of Team Zulu Kingdom Cycling Affiliation & Co, with William Samson and Harry Maarsingh (Support driver Ian Caister). She says: “I can definitely say this was the most beautiful 12 hours and 58 minutes I have spent on a bicycle in my entire life. These long races are something special, you go through a completely different experience than you do on a standard one day 70 kms, or even stage races that are 70 to 90 kms back-to-back.

“Riding at night is very special. You get to watch the moon rise. You get to watch the moon set, and you get to watch the sunrise and sunset. Your life is as wide as the light that’s shining, all you are focused on is what you can see. And if you can’t see anything technical coming up, you just let the brakes go. The singletrack was fast rolling and beautifully built, and it was so fun.”

She continues: “Then we popped out at the top of the Umko Drop and I could see this beautiful blanket of deep red coming up behind the mountains. I couldn’t stop looking at it. You’ve been riding your bikes for four and a half hours in the dark and no one else is awake yet, and you’re now staring at this, it was incredible. So of course we then flew down the Umko! Having no traffic is such a bonus and we absolutely sent it down there.

“Having the supporters was really special, and on the one district road climb in particular, our supporters could drive the car next to us. They were playing music and cheering us on, handing out potatoes, and that never happens at a race. The supporters being involved is unique and so special.”

(As JJ Jacobs puts it: “We luf eeet!https://www.instagram.com/reel/C8gKrb5qPk)

Darryl Irvine from Team Strove.ai FRIB, the team placing second overall, says “If I could only do one race every year, this would be it. No matter how much you suffer in the event, when you finish you have an indescribable feeling. Doing all that sani singletrack in the dark is just an unbelievable experience. It’s totally different to doing it in daylight, the sounds are just amazing. The highlight of the race for me was doing the Umko Drop starting in the dark with full lights on, and descending as the sun came up. It’s truly something special.”

The racing was tight and Team Glencairn Events, made up of Andrew Houston, Owen Gandar and Damon Duncan Stamp (Support Driver Cass Stamp), won in a new record time of 12:12:23, just 6 seconds faster than last year’s winners, who came second in this year’s race. Strove.ai FRIB’s Darryl Irvine, Jarrad van Zuydam and Justin Hornsby (Support Drivers Brendon Wilson and Bruce Van Zuydam), came in a mere three minutes after first place, in 12:15:12.

The race for first place fell firmly between Team Glencairn Events and Strove.ai FRIB, with some cat and mouse riding through the night and into the next day. Van Zuydam, from Strove.ai FRIB, says: “By the time we got to Mackenzie Club (sani2c race village after stage 1) there were only three teams in it, really. The race was unbelievably tight. After 257 kms, for us to get to the beach and we could see them, they hadn’t crossed the line yet, that is how close it was. They rode a really great race and didn’t give up, they just kept coming. We weren’t too disappointed, it was an incredible day out on the bike.”

Gandar, from Team Glencairn Events, says: “We had an incredible ride down the Umkomaas, with a beautiful sunrise halfway down. I think we managed to put in about a five minute lead there, but by St Josephine’s Bridge we had probably burnt a few too many matches and I struggled from there, while my teammates were still strong.  Strove pulled in on the big 14 km climb and passed us. After a refuelling at the next checkpoint, Housty and Damon had to support me and we focused on keeping a strong rhythm.

(Strove.ai FRIB passed Glencairn Events on the biggest climb of the day, but consistent riding saw the Glencairn Events team gain back the lead about 10-15 kms from the finish

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C8hB80NK2IS/)

“At the checkpoint just before Jolivet we were eight minutes behind, and by then I was feeling a bit stronger and we managed to gain slowly over 80-90 kms. Fifteen kms from the finish we got to a water table and saw them leaving, so we left as soon as we could to reel them in. We passed and managed to pull a gap, with some pushing on my back from Damon and Housty! Amazing how close it was after 257 kms. It was very rewarding – our goal was to finish within twelve hours, so it’s a nice barrier to try and break next year.”

‘Farmer’ Glen Haw, founder of KAP sani2c and sani2c nonstop, says: “There are lots of long-distance races on mountain bikes, but they’re not singletrack, they are all basically road. This is proper. To see a guy who is over 60, riding the longest day he has ever done on a bike, arriving after 22 hours out there and with a smile on his face, that is living life. That’s why I’m so passionate about nonstop, I think this is the single greatest mountain biking event that anyone can do, and to be able to share that is a great feeling for me.”

RESULTS

 

Overall – Teams of four

 

  1. Team Glencairn Events (12:12:23)

Andrew Houston, Owen Gandar and Darren Stamp

Support Driver: Cass Stamp

 

  1. Strove.ai FRIB (12:15:12)

Darryl Irvine, Jarrad van Zuydam and Justin Hornsby

Support Driver: Brendon Wilson and Bruce Van Zuydam

 

  1. Zulu Kingdom Cycling Affiliation & Co (12:58:09)

Sarah Hill, Johan Harms Maarsingh and William Samson

Support Driver: Ian Caister

 

Teams of three

 

  1. Johns (13:50:28)

John Gordon, Jean-Pierre van Riel

(Unsupported)

 

  1. Hodari Africa (14:31:05)

Kevin Benkenstein, Mikayla Benkenstein

Support Driver: Matt Dove

 

  1. VSC Solutions (14:51:56)

Piet Laubscher, Daniel Schutte

Support Driver: Rob Mills

 

Teams of five

 

  1. HTFU (13:48:32)

Per Lofstrand, Kobus Venter, Cameron Daly, Phillip Marais

Support Driver: Reynard Van Wyk

 

  1. JAKR (16h48)

Jaco Grobbelaar, Keith Mason, Aleksander Schonborn, and Ross Santini

Support Driver: Jaco Grobelaar

 

  1. BAT Cycle Products (18:02:37)

Bert Herreveld, Ethan Herreveld, Jason Naude and Alan Cotton

Support Driver: Claudia Naude

 

For full results, see https://tracking.sportraxs.com/423/1010/leaderboard

 

For more information visit: https://nonstop.sani2c.co.za/

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