Trans Baviaans Repeating the Race Success

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.

The Langwater water crossing, after Check Point 4, ensured wet feet for the imposing climbs of the Fangs and the Mother of All Climbs. Photo by Bruce Viaene.

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 to find out more about the work of the CHOC Foundation.

Conditions were still chilly, especially in the early morning hours, when leaving Willowmore and pedalling uphill towards the highest point of the route, at The Roof. Photo by Bruce Viaene

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.”

The Trans Baviaans provided moments of pure riding pleasure, along with challenging periods on the course’s long climbs. Photo by Bruce Viaene.

“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.”


Riding into the golden light; the earlier start provided more teams with the opportunity to see more of the route in day light hours than ever before. Photo by Bruce Viaene.

“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 in Month. Riders can bookmark the _ of August so long though, for the Race, and the _ 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

The Trans Baviaans Repeat was staged in far better weather conditions than the Race had been the week before. Photo by Bruce Viaene.

Young Guns Upset Experienced Favourites in 2021 Trans Baviaans

The 2021 Trans Baviaans was held in unusual conditions, imposed by Covid-19 restrictions, and in difficult weather; on Saturday, 28 August. Teams were able to start, in self-seeded start times, from 05h00 in order to beat the 22h00 curfew. The early start and the late winter cold front, lead to sub-zero temperatures, with brief flurries or snow and hail falling on the 227-kilometre route.


The fastest teams across the course, through the Baviaanskloof, from Willowmore to Jeffreys Bay were the Young Guns, Coopetto/Darvin Trust and Wintergreen-Ciovita Barrier Breakers. Erick Heyns and Wayne van der Walt won the men’s race. Yolande de Villiers and Dirk Coetzee won the mixed category and were third over the finish line to boot. While Elrika Harmzen-Pretorius and Leone Verster were the winning women’s team.

Sub-zero temperatures ensured icy conditions for much of the 2021 Trans Baviaans Race. There was snow on the higher peaks of the region and frost on the ground when the majority of the field got underway in Willowmore, on Saturday morning. Photo by Peter Kirk Media.

While the non-competitive riders started at the time which suited them best the elite men, women and mixed teams all started together at 08h00. This ensured that there was a chance of pelotons forming and helping the fastest riders knock off the first 105-kilometres to the Baviaanskloof Reserve as quickly as possible. Things transpired a little differently however, as the large groups soon splintered into smaller ones, of just two or three teams.


Right at the front the biggest and longest surviving group was made up by Uncle Fish, the Young Guns, Coopetto/Darvin Trust and the Coppetto. Nico Bell, of Uncle Fish, relentlessly drove the pace for his teammates Gawie Combrinck and Gerrit de Vries. After 70-kilometres the group started to split under the pressure exerted by Bell, with the mixed Coopetto/Darvin Trust and the Coppetto dropping off the pace.


On the Baviaans Back, after 110-kilometres, the Young Guns started to distance Uncle Fish. Heyns and Van der Walt proved on that, the first of the race’s significant climbs, that they were the strongest climbers in the race. Through Check Point 3, at Smitskraal, over the Fangs and up the Mother of All Climbs to Bergplaas the Young Guns slowly extended their lead. The gap never ballooned out however and Bell was always able to pull his teammates back into contention whenever the roads flattened out.


The moment when Erick Heyns (leading) and Wayne van der Walt managed to distance the Uncle Fish team, on the Mini MAC climb. Photo by Seamus Allardice.

The Young Guns came into Check Point 4, at Bergplaas, with a 3-minute lead. A slower turnabout in the check point handed a minute of their advantage back to the Uncle Fish team. Which Bell, Combrinck and De Vries further whittled down over the next 30-kilometres. By the time the leaders reached the base of Neverender, with 30-kilometres to race, the two teams were back together.


It was only on the Mini MAC, the last significant climb of the race, that the decisive move was made. Heynes recounted how the last 15-kilometres unfolded: “We had seen that Gerrit [de Vries] was struggling a bit more than the rest of us on the climbs. So, we got ourselves to the front of the group after Check Point 7 and went all in on Mini MAC. Once we got a gap we just had to push on as hard as we could. By the time we reached the train track singletrack, 5-kilometres from the finish, I was seeing double. I couldn’t follow Wayne [van der Walt’s] wheel and nearly crashed a couple of times. But somehow, we held it together and stayed ahead of Nico [Bell], Gawie [Combrinck] and Gerrit.”


Heyns and Van der Walt were so exhausted by their efforts that they hardly celebrated upon wining the 2021 Trans Baviaans. A could burst in the last 15 minutes of their race had drenched them to the bone, after having already endured over 8 hours of 2-to-12-degree temperatures. Their winning time was an impressive 8 hours, 21 minutes and 29 seconds. The Uncle Fish team crossed the line just 1 minute and 16 seconds behind the race winners. Coopetto/Darvin Trust rounded out the overall podium places 15 minutes and 13 seconds later.

Wintergreen-Ciovita Barrier Breakers’s Elrika Harmzen-Pretorius (left) and Leone Verster (right) celebrate their 2021 Trans Baviaans title. Photo by Peter Kirk Media.

The remarkable fact of Coopetto/Darvin Trust’s third place overall was that they were also the first mixed team over the finish line at the Fountains Mall, in Jeffreys Bay. Yolande de Villiers once again dominated the mixed race, this time with her new partner Dirk Coetzee. Their victory margin was 1 hour, 15 minutes and 6 seconds over the Cyclopro Aspire LiveFit. Giant/Liv rounded out the mixed category podium.


In the women’s race the Wintergreen-Ciovita Barrier Breakers rode solo through most of the 227-kilometre course to win the 2021 Trans Baviaans title. Harmzen-Pretorius and Verster had a lonely ride, passing lots slower teams who started earlier but unable to find anyone to work with them. “The elite start group splintered pretty early on” Harmzen-Pretorius recounted after crossing the finish line. “We initially didn’t even know where we were in the women’s field. We just had to ride our own race and work together, as the two of us. It was really hard at times! But I’m glad to have had Leone alongside me, she was incredibly strong!”

The Wintergreen-Ciovita Barrier Breakers winning time was 10 hours, 44 minutes and 55 seconds. Adventurers’s Marisa van der Linde and Jodi Zulberg were second and the Untamed Ladies, Anine Koch and Hayley Mcloughlin, were third fastest across the course; despite starting earlier. The third elite women’s team was that of Sarah van Heerden and Elaine Beytell, though their time was nearly an hour slower than Kock and Mcloughlin.


After a near-freezing Race the Trans Baviaans Repeat riders will be heartened to hear that the weather forecast is better for next weekend. Clear skies and a temperature range of 7-to-19-degrees is currently predicted. Along with a light north westerly wind, which should blow the teams from Willowmore down the Baviaanskloof towards Jeffreys Bay.


Mountain biking fans can once again follow the Trans Baviaans on the event’s social media handles. Cell phone reception is limited in the Baviaanskloof so updates will be sporadic through the mid-phases of the Repeat. Tune in by following @transbaviaans, on Instagram, liking the Trans Baviaans 24HR MTB Race Facebook page and following @EcoBoundEvents, on Twitter. Time updates from the Check Points will also be available at

The Trans Baviaans is a boon for tourism in the Baviaanskloof region. Willowmore in particular struggled due to the loss of income from the 2020 race being cancelled due to Covid-19. Photo by Peter Kirk Media.

2021 Trans Baviaans Results


  1. Young Guns: Erick Heyns & Wayne van der Walt (08:21:29)
  2. Uncle Fish: Nico Bell, Gawie Combrinck & Gerrit de Vries (08:22:46)
  3. Coopetto/Darvin Trust: Yolande de Villiers & Dirk Coetzee (08:36:42)



  1. Coopetto/Darvin Trust: Yolande de Villiers & Dirk Coetzee (8:36:42)
  2. Cyclopro Aspire LiveFit: Jay Carneiro, Bruce Campbell & Tracey Almirall (9:51:48)
  3. Giant/Liv: Fienie & Kobus Barnard (10:13:51)



  1. Wintergreen-Ciovita Barrier Breakers: Elrika Harmzen-Pretorius and Leone Verster (10:44:55)
  2. Adventurers: Marisa van der Linde & Jodi Zulberg (12:24:02)
  3. Untamed Ladies: Anine Koch & Hayley Mcloughlin (12:52:34)


For the full results from the 2021 Trans Baviaans please click here.


Trans Baviaans 2020 Postponed to January 2021

Goeie Dag

Dis nie n maklike dag vir ons nie, en in 25 jaar van events aanbied is die, die eerste keer wat ons so iets moet doen. Ek slaan oor na Engels vir die res van die boodskap.

Official Statement

Dear fellow Trans Baviaansers,

We have reached the time to make a decision on the Trans Baviaans 2020.

Just as many of you, we at EcoBound are also facing hard, challenging, and uncertain times ahead trying to deal with this Covid-19 lockdown and its effects. Although many, or most, businesses will be open under level 3 (from 1 June 2020), is there no indication when mass participation events and functions will be able to continue nor what the conditions will be. With the dates for Trans Baviaans just over 2 months away, it might be a touch and go situation for August.

We’ve had numerous meetings and discussions with affected parties, trying to take in all the known and unknown factors to determine our way forward. We strongly believe our solution is the one that benefits our riders the most.

Please see below factors we had to consider in our decision making process:

  1. The Event takes place in the poorest Province in South Africa. These are remote and fragile communities – there are limited medical establishments available.  Sending a crowd of people through these areas can potentially put them all at a higher risk during this time. It will be devastating if these communities experienced a increase in Covid-19 cases due to the event taking place
  2. Cross Provincial Travel restrictions – This might potentially ease during lockdown level 2 but the status of ‘Hotspots’ can fluctuate and prevent traveling between provinces any time during lockdown.
  3. Too many pending outcomes – CSA is meeting with the Sports Ministry in this week to discuss possible solutions for future events but, there is no clarity on what the Sports Minister will decide.
  4. Level 3 regulations and restrictions are also changing on a daily basis.
  5. Things are changing rapidly, locally and internationally regarding lockdown regulations, treatments, and possible cures.
  6. Mass participation events will only be allowed to take place under lockdown level 0 and we are unsure how long we will be in the various levels nor when this will happen.
  7. Uncertainty of when supporting businesses can operate normally, like Accommodation establishments, Restaurants etc. that has an impact on our event
  8. Rider training consideration – we want to give our riders fair time to prepare for the event. Lockdown restrictions have made this challenging and we understand this.
  9. We considered the input of our Sponsors, vendors , communities, etc. who supports our decision.

Thus, taking the above main reasons into consideration, and adopting a risk-averse approach we have decided to postpone the Trans Baviaans 2020 to 23 and 30 January 2021.

This means that the scheduled 2021 event will still take place in August 2021, with the result of two events taking place in 2021.

We sincerely hope that you will understand this is not a decision we wanted to make, but we are forced to comply with the restrictions regulated by our Government.

Please reach out to your accommodation establishment to discuss changing the dates.

For event refunds please see our website for revised Covid-19 cancellation policy. 

We sincerely hope you trust our decision,
Keep training, keep safe, and we look forward to see you in January 2021!!

Kind Regards
Wikus van der Walt
Race Founder


Wikus van der Walt is the patriarch of the EcoBound family. From left: William, Alexander (on William’s shoulders) Marelize, Nina, Terence, Maia (being held by Terance), Wikus, Elmarie, Carmen, Lukas (being held by Zane) and Zane . Photo by Jacques Marais.

Covid – 19 Update

EcoBound’s plan on the Coronavirus.

Dear Fellow Rider and Runner,

There is no need to elaborate on the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic the world is currently facing together. Our current plan of action is NOT to postpone or cancel any of our main events.  We are up to date with the current situation and will be keeping a close eye on how things unfold. Unfortunately like the rest, we can’t provide a real estimate of how long we will be facing this crisis and we will have to make decisions based on the information we receive and obtain from the Goverment. We will keep communication open to keep you informed and updated of any changes in our decision.

We will continue with the preparations for the Trans Baviaans 24hr Marathons to take place in August 2020. At this point in time we feel the event is still far enough out of the current timelines communicated.
We had to postpone the Trans Talks scheduled for JHB and Centurion, but we are working on an Online Trans Talk version for our riders to watch and engage safely. More details on this will be released soon.

Willowmore Abuzz Ahead of 2019 Trans Baviaans Race

The sleepy Eastern Cape town of Willowmore is never as busy as it is right now. On the dusty main road; not a parking spot is to be found and pedestrians have to dodge bicycles and cars crawling at walking pace through town, as there is simply no space on the pavements. Knysna has the Oyster Festival, Grahamstown has the National Art Festival – but Willowmore has the Trans Baviaans.

For two weekends a year the town comes alive with an influx of visitors. This year those weekends are the second and third weekends in August. Every bed in town is filled. Makeshift accommodation is provided by a temporary campsite and mattresses on the floor of the school and church halls. The town’s main attraction has long been its location as the gateway to the Baviaanskloof.  Even outside of the mountain bike race it lures adventure seekers looking for a point from which to strike out into the country’s largest wilderness area.

The best way to experience the Baviaanskloof is undoubtedly by bicycle. Photo by Jacques Marais.

“One of the restaurant owners told me they pray for Trans Baviaans ahead of Christmas in Willowmore” race director Zane Schmahl laughed. “With 1 250 riders, and a growing number of friends and family members who accompany them as supporters, the race provides a massive boost to the local economy. Not just in Willowmore, on the Karoo side of the kloof, but also in Jeffery’s Bay on the far side. It is great to see the town so full and all the small businesses benefiting from the event.”

“At EcoBound we like to use local service providers as much as possible” Schmahl continued. “Take Vero’s for example. We provide the raw materials and pay her to make her famous roosterbrood for 2 500 mountain bikers over the two weekends of the Trans Baviaans Race and Repeat. She has grown her business into a Baviaanskloof institution with the help of the thousands of riders who have visited her both within and outside of the events over the years.”

“The Smit family, who farm in the kloof also play a massive part in the event” Schmahl praised. “They hunt kudu and make sausage and sosaties which are braaied at Check Point 3. It is probably the most connected to the area riders can be, being nourished by healthy, free range and hormone free, venison from the Baviaanskloof” he concluded.

The kloof and its rugged roads are also an adventure motor-biker’s dream. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Aside from mountain bikers the other groups of thrill seekers with whom the region is exceptionally popular are adventure motor-bikers and 4×4 enthusiasts. Their trips through the kloof keep Willowmore on the tourist map with year-round visitors. On Saturday afternoon, when the majority of the field is making their slow ascent of the Mother of All Climbs, the most significant ascent of the event, many will no doubt be wishing for an engine. There can be no doubt however that experiencing the kloof by mountain bike is the best way to do so.

For those who are more comfortable on four wheels the Baviaanskloof is a fantastic destination for 4×4 enthusiasts, hikers and campers. Photo by Jacques Marais

If you have never taken part in the Trans Baviaans then you will be able to get a hint of what South Africa’s most popular ultra-endurance mountain bike race is all about on Saturday the 10th of August. Follow @EcoBoundEvents on Twitter for regular updates from the race or @transbaviaans on Instagram for insights into the beauty of the area. Alternatively like the Trans Baviaans Facebook page to view all the photos and videos from the 2019 race or visit for more information.

The Mother of All Climbs is a serious challenge by bicycle; though the concrete strips, which were laid down to make the drive easier for vehicles does help significantly. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Jeffery’s Bay is not just Surf City South Africa, it offers a magnitude of other adventure activities too. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Posthumus, Smith, Hill, Ralph and Co Race the Elements at Trans Baviaans

The 2019 Trans Baviaans, ultra-endurance mountain bike race, is set to take place on Saturday the 10th of August. Among the 1 250 riders who will roll across the start line in Willowmore, on their way to Jeffery’s Bay are Mike Posthumus, Derrin Smith, Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph. Though the quartet of riders from dormakaba and Galileo Risk headline the field their race through South Africa’s largest wilderness area, the Baviaanskloof, will be anything but simple.

Over the 230 kilometre long route, with includes 2 850 meters of climbing, there are innumerable opportunities for misfortune. Punctures, crashes, nutrition and most pivotally – the elements – could all play their part in determining the race outcome. How each team, of two to four riders, overcomes the adversities the Baviaanskloof directs at them will ultimately decide the winners.

Mike Posthumus raced to third, alongside Derrin Smith in the 2018 Trans Baviaans, beating the setting sun by 3 minutes. Photo by Jacques Marais.

“The roads aren’t in as good a condition as they were last year,” race director, Zane Schmahl warned. “After the recent rains in the kloof the roads department have been grading, but the surfaces will probably be less smooth than last year’s near perfect condition. On the other hand, the water levels are relatively low. We expect about six water crossings. So for the less competitive riders the risk of a long day with wet feet is lower than usual” Schmahl added.

In 2018 three teams broke the historic 8 hour barrier for the first time. Co-race winners Insect Science/Garmin (Ben Melt Swanepoel and Timothy Hammond) and DSV Pro Cycling (Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit) did so by a massive nine minutes. Their shared record thus stands at 7 hours, 51 minutes and 6 seconds. Postumus and Smith, were third last year, also beating the 8 hour mark and finishing before the sun set on the Fountains Mall, in Jeffrey’s Bay.

Sarah Hill (right) and Theresa Ralph (left) will start their third Trans Baviaans as a team on the 10th of August this year. Photo by Jacques Marais.

It would take a remarkably ride to match their time of 7 hours and 57 minutes in 2019 but Posthumus is as bullish as ever. “I’m so excited to have the opportunity to race with Derrin again, this year representing Team dormakaba” he began. “We will always give our absolute everything to go as fast as we can on the day. From previous experience, a fast day is more determined by a positive fast start and the wind direction on the day. To me, those factors are more important when trying to break 8 hours. We can’t do anything about the weather, so we will focus on influence the factors under our control” the doctor of Sport Science related.

“It is extremely important to have a good open relationship” with your Tran Baviaans partner Posthumus continued. “It is very important to be able to communicate how you are feeling. We (Derrin and I) are so fortunate to understand each other so well that we don’t need to verbally communicate; we have raced together for long enough to be able to read each other and feed off each other’s strengths.”

Hannele Steyn smiling her way to the summit of the Mother of All Climbs, a feat that not many riders manage. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Turning his attention to advice to his fellow Trans Baviaans riders he added: “The biggest tip I could give anyone is to remember that it is only a 140 kilometre race. See the first 100 kilometres as neutral. It is mostly flat and fast riding so save your legs for when they will be needed. Imagine this section as a transition to the start of the race.”

Two-time Trans Baviaans champion, and women’s course record holder, Hill will once again partner four-time winner, Ralph. The Galileo Risk pair has made the Trans Baviaans one of their key races over the last two seasons. The long hours spent on the bike in the race have helped forge their partnership. “Teamwork is way more than simply riding together” Hill pointed out. “Both parties are going to go through ups and downs and it’s really important to acknowledge and respect the spaces you go through. Encouragement and support is essential, and both of you coming into the race with the same goal is vital” she advised to her fellow competitors.

From Bergplaas, at the summit of the Mother of All Climbs panoramic vistas extend over the Baviaanskloof to the North West and East towards the ocean and the finish line nearly 100km away. Photo by Jacques Marais.

“Working with each other’s strengths is also critical. If you have a diesel engine for a partner (i.e. Theresa), then the long power sections are her thing. She will look after me and I will make sure I hold that wheel! On the climbs things start to even out and that’s where I can set the pace, and make sure we don’t go over our limits… You remind each other to eat eat eat, and drink drink drink, and then congratulate each other on every mile stone of the race. For us, it’s the stickers from the check points! My favourite thing is the sense of humour prep. T (Theresa Ralph) and I have this thing, where we both have one hilarious lame joke. We don’t tell each other until we’re on the Never Ender (when you need that sense of humour check!). We reveal the jokes when we think the other partner is suffering the most. Trust me… It is a mental game changer” Hill laughed.”

“This race is a must on our calendar” Hill continued. “It marks our Team-Aversary which is so special. Theresa and I have grown from strength to strength, and this is the reminder of where it all started. It holds such a special place in my heart, and reminds me of the value of teamwork, and the practice of suffering with a purpose. We are coming back to defend our title of course! If there’s a tail wind, we’re going for a new record. Otherwise we will race as fast as we can to test each other for the upcoming events.”

“The distance is quite intimating” Hill, who is more frequently seen racing cross-country events than ultra-marathons confessed. “And I think that’s why I love it. It’s our mid-season ‘check in’ where we come and reset our minds for the rest of the year to come. We get such a mental strength benefit racing such an ultra-endurance event, that we carry through onto all the stage races we do until December.”

The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve is the largess wilderness area in South Africa and boasts a rugged, unspoilt, beauty. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Outside of the men’s and women’s races the mixed category race could be the most fiercely contested in years. With serial champion Yolande de Villiers on the mend after a serious leg break but not yet able to return to competitive riding and her long-time partner Neill Ungerer also absent the category victory is up-for-grabs. The pre-race favourites are the local team of Kevin Taljaard and Anriette Schoeman. Taljaard, who owns East Coast Cycles in Jeffrey’s Bay, is no stranger to Trans Baviaans having won the second weekend’s repeat event alongside De Villiers on two occasions. He also placed second behind De Villiers and Ungerer with Siska van der Berg in 2018. For 2019 he will line up alongside one of the country’s most decorated cyclists, in Schoeman, but one who is a Trans Baviaans novice.


Schoeman’s inexperience could open the door for the Enduroplanet team of Tanya Kirstein and Christo Roos. Or the Cobra            team of Arno du Toit, Ernestine and Ernest Safar. Though historically in the Trans Baviaans two rider teams have held the advantage over three and four rider squads, as the larger teams often lose time in check points or with mechanicals.


Posthumus and Hill both referred to the wind as a determining factor in any potential record attempts. With the race a week away the long-term weather forecast is pointing towards a challenging day on the bike. Riders can expect tail winds through the Baviaanskloof but rising headwinds once they pass Check Point 5, at the Hadleigh Pack-house 172 kilometres into the race. The final 60 kilometres, including the ascent of the infamous Never Ender climb could thus be undertaken into a headwind, with the added discomfort of a slight chance of rain in the late evening.

While the challenging weather and road conditions will make the going tough for the riders it should ensure an exciting race for mountain biking fans. Friends, family members and riders can download the EcoBound Explorer mobile application, for iPhone and Android devices, where they will be able to access all the news and updates from the race. Updates from the race will also be available; from selected WiFi hotspots on the remote route, on the Trans Baviaans website,, and EcoBound Twitter handle @EcoBoundEvents. Meanwhile the event’s Facebook page, Trans Baviaans, will once again feature videos, rider interview and amazing photos from the Jacques Marais; as will the Instagram handle, @transbaviaans.

By night the trials of the Trans Baviaans are illuminated by one thousand bicycle lights. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Trans Baviaans Reflections

It’s been a couple of weeks since the 2018 Trans Baviaans concluded with the Repeat on the 18th of August and the dust has now well and truly settled on what was a remarkable and record breaking year for the race…

The Langwater is one of the Trans Baviaans’ iconic features and proves a great leveller – everyone even the elite riders like Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill get their feet wet. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Trans Baviaans Race | All the Records Broken

In the first weekend’s Race; the records tumbled with the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Category course records being smashed, in perfect weather and road conditions. There was no lack of drama either however as the race leaders took a wrong turn and the CSA commissaire stepped in to share the victory and new record time between the DSV Pro Cycling team of Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit, and the Insect Science Garmin pairing of Timothy Hammond and Ben Melt Swanepoel.

Hammond and Swanepoel had crossed the finish line first, but Heyns and Du Toit had been leading the race for close on 200 kilometres when they went wrong. The results in the Women’s and Mixed Categories were fortunately less controversial; with Galileo Risk’s Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill breaking Ralph and Amy McDougall’s course record by nearly an hour, and winning by well over two. Perennial Mixed Category champions’ Yolande de Villiers and Neill Ungerer, of Ultimate Cycling Knysna, knocked half an hour off their own record and finished an impressive seventh overall on their way to their sixth category win.

Ultimate Cycling’s Neill Ungerer leads the Repeat field through Poortjie. Photo by Jacques Marais.

While the elite riders racing for category glory gained the majority of the attention the less competitive mountain bikers in the field also enjoyed a successful day out. The perfect conditions led to many a personal best and in total 389 teams and 1 057 individual riders finished the event. The fastest time was that of Hammond and Swanepoel; 7 hours, 51 minutes and 6 seconds. While the final finisher crossed the line at the Fountains Mall, in Jeffreys Bay, just before 8am on Sunday morning in a time of 21 hours, 51 minutes and 8 seconds. Eerily then there was an almost exact 14 hour time difference between the winners and the final finishers.

Reaching Bergplaas before sunset is an achievement worth celebrating. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The prize giving on Sunday morning after the Race saw the remarkable achievements of Berend Maarsingh and Dane Walsh honoured. The pair has each completed all 15 Trans Baviaans events to date!

Gert Heyns off the front of the Trans Baviaans Race field. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The Winners:


=1. Insect Science/Garmin (Ben Melt Swanepoel & Timothy Hammond) 07:51:06

=1. DSV Pro Cycling (Gert Heyns & Arno du Toit) 07:51:06


  1. Galileo Risk (Theresa Ralph & Sarah Hill) 08:58:02


  1. Ultimate Cycling Knysna (Yolande de Villiers & Neill Ungerer) 08:23:19

Victor Momsen and Wikus van der Walt pose with the brand new Momsen Vipa Ultra which Wikus rode during the Trans Baviaans Repeat. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Trans Baviaans Repeat | Oom Wikus Rides His Event

The story of the Trans Baviaans Repeat was that of event founder Wikus van der Walt taking the opportunity to ride the race he started fifteen years ago for the first time. Riding alongside John Sharples – his long-time friend, stage race partner and the man with who he recced the To Hell and Back route with 23 year ago – Wikus completed the 230 kilometre route in a commendable time of 13 hours, 25 minutes and 53 seconds.

Hannele Steyn smiling all the way up MAC. Photo by Jacques Marais.

At the front of the Repeat there was another decisive wrong turn, by Ignus Oosthuizen and Jaco Davel which handed the victory to Johan Coetzee and Gys Malan in the Men’s race. The Mixed category saw Yolande de Villiers double up, claiming the Repeat title after the Race the weekend before alongside her husband Henties and the rest of her East Coast Cycles team; Kevin Taljaard and Wynand Mulder. The Women’s Repeat title was taken back to the Free State by Cherise Odendaal and Ilse Nel, riding as the aptly named Trans Vrystaat team.

Trail runner AJ Calitz took on the Trans Baviaans challenge and finished in 16th overall, alongside Brett van Coller. Photo by Jacques Marais.

In total 367 teams finished the Trans Baviaans Repeat which equated to 1 047 individual riders; and while the winning time of 8 hours, 55 minutes and 44 seconds was over an hour slower than the Race’s winning time the final finishers’ time of 22 hours, 9 minutes and 15 seconds was just 18 minutes slower.

The Winners:


  1. Cadence Tygervalley (Johan Coetzee & Gys Malan) 08:55:44


  1. Trans Vrystaat (Cherise Odendaal & Ilse Nel) 12:23:19


  1. East Coast Cycles (Kevin Taljaard, Wynand Mulder, Yolande & Henties de Villiers) 09:30:06

Crossing the finish line at the Fountains Mall can be an emotional experience. Photo by Jacques Marais.


2019 Dates

The 16th edition of the Trans Baviaans will take place on the second and third weekends of August 2019. Entries are once again capped at 1 250 rides in teams of 2, 3 or 4. Entries to the iconic events will open on the 3rd of December 2018, for the Race, and the 4th, for the Repeat.

Beer, glorious Darling Brew beer, for every finisher. Photo by Jacques Marais.


Fast Facts
Event: 2019 Trans Baviaans Race 2019 Trans Baviaans Repeat
Date: Saturday, 10 August 2019 Saturday, 17 August 2019
Entries Open: Monday, 3 December 2018 Tuesday, 4 December 2018


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Dates Set for 2019 Trans Baviaans

The 16th edition of the Trans Baviaans 24 hour mountain bike Race and Repeat will take place on Saturday the 10th and Saturday the 17th of August 2019 respectively. The event entries will once again be capped at 1 250 riders per event and riders will be able to take part in teams of 2, 3 or 4. Entries to the iconic events will open on the 3rd, for the Race, and the 4th, for the Repeat, of December 2018.

Entrants are encouraged to book accommodation in Willowmore as soon as possible as the village can only accommodate a limited number of visitors and the closest locations to the start line, at the church hall, fill up fast. For more information please visit

The Langwater is one of the Trans Baviaans’ iconic features and proves a great leveller – everyone even the elite riders like Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill get their feet wet. Photo by Jacques Marais.


Fast Facts
Event: 2019 Trans Baviaans Race
Date: Saturday, 10 August 2019
Entries Open: Monday, 3 December 2018
Type: Single stage MTB race
Distance: 230km
Elevation: 2 540m
Facebook: Trans Baviaans
Twitter: @EcoBoundMTB
Instagram: @transbaviaans

Preparing for the night phase of the race, by redressing at Bergplaas is one of the rituals of the Trans Baviaans one can only understand once you’ve ridden the event. Photo by Jacques Marais.


Fast Facts
Event: 2019 Trans Baviaans Repeat
Date: Saturday, 17 August 2019
Entries Open: Tuesday, 4 December 2018
Type: Single stage MTB race
Distance: 230km
Elevation: 2 540m
Facebook: Trans Baviaans
Twitter: @EcoBoundMTB
Instagram: @transbaviaans

Jacques and Rohan Herselman celebrate finishing the Trans Baviaans in style. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Riding in one of the largest wilderness conservation areas in Africa as the sun sets is a truly unique experience. Photo by Jacques Marais.


Records Tumble at the 2018 Trans Baviaans Race

The 2018 Trans Baviaans Race, wrapped up with prize giving at the Fountains Mall on Sunday the 12th of August – but the racing action had concluded well over twelve hours earlier before the last light had faded over the Baviaanskloof. A consistent tail wind, smooth road conditions and a searing ride by DSV Pro Cycling ensured records tumbled throughout the categories in the fifteenth edition of the toughest team single stage MTB race in the world.

Timothy Hammond leads Ben Melt Swanepoel up the MAC in pursuit of Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit in the 2018 Trans Baviaans Race. The Insect Science/Garmin team past the DSV Pro Cycling riders after confusion leaving Check Point 7, but the teams were awarded the joint victory. Photo by Jacques Marais.

There was drama in the men’s race, outright dominance in the women’s and a legacy sealing victory in the mixed; as the racing categories were wrapped up within nine hours of the event’s start. Never have so many records been set in one event and the new men’s course record is all the more remarkable, given the teams setting it made a wrong turn.


The race, which started in Willowmore on Saturday morning, was agitated from the off by the DSV Pro Cycling team of Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit. “Nobody really thought it was possible to go from the gun, so we kind of wanted to prove them wrong” Du Toit explained. The initial attack by DSV was followed by the Honingcraft Five duo, Dirkus Coetzee and Alwyn Steenkamp. Behind; Insect Science/Garmin’s Timothy Hammond and Ben Melt Swanepoel worked with William Simpson Cars’ Mike Posthumus and Derrin Smith to ensure the gap between the leaders and the chasing peloton remained at one minute.

Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit spent nearly 200km in the lead of the Trans Baviaans Race, after a brave attack in the opening kilometres. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Heading into the Baviaanskloof Reserve a puncture for Steenkamp cost Honingcraft Five the chance to contend for victory. This left Heyns and Du Toit alone at the front, but over Baviaans Back the Fangs and MAC the chasing peloton gradual broke apart until Hammond and Swanepoel where pursuing on their own, with Posthumus and Smith also isolated in third on the road. The leading three teams were separated by just four minutes heading into the decisive final 30 kilometres.


Disaster struck for all three the leading teams just after the final check point when they were diverted them from the unmarked Trans Baviaans route onto a permanently marked route in the Zuurbron Bike Park. Hammond and Swanepoel were first to realise that they were off the route and back-tracked, managing to maintain their position ahead of Posthumus and Smith. Heyns and Du Toit however were not as fortunate and ended up losing their lead. Posthumus and Smith also regained the correct route ahead of the DSV pairing. “Everyone got lost in Zuurbron” Posthumus explained. “Then heading home we saw Gert (Heyns) and Arno (du Toit) [riding through] the bush so we waited for them and rode home for them” he elaborated.


Given the nature of the obstruction and the time losses all the teams suffered, the race commissaire adjudged the obstruction in the route to have hindered riders’ ability to determine the correct route and thus awarded the victory jointly to DSV Pro Cycling and Insect Science/Garmin. The unfortunate outcome should not detract from the amazing rides both teams put in however. “They (Heyns and Du Toit) went from the start. It was an incredibly brave ride, I’ve never seen anyone go from the start like that” Hammond praised his rivals, upon crossing the finish line first.

The MAC, or Mother of All Climbs, is one of the primary obstacles between Willowmore and Jeffreys Bay. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The Insect Science/Garmin combination’s ride was likewise one for the history books; as they kept DSV in sight from the Fangs to the turn off to check point seven. Hammond was the reigning course record holder, for the route which finishes at the Fountains Mall, but he and Swanepoel smashed over twenty five minutes off that time. The pair stopped the clock in an astonishing time of seven hours, fifty one minutes and six seconds – a time which was retrospectively also awarded to Heyns and Du Toit.


The third placed team of Posthumus and Smith crossed the line shortly after Heyns and Du Toit, having gallantly declined to contest the sprint – given their rivals’ loss of time in the confusion after check point seven. The William Simpson Cars’ riders still managed to beat the sun too though, breaking the eight hour mark by three minutes.


The record breaking feats were even more remarkable in the women’s race were Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill took fifty eight minutes off Ralph and Amy McDougall’s 2016 record time. The Galileo Risk riders rode a flawless race. “Everything went perfectly today” Hill said afterwards. “We always stayed slightly uncomfortable. We agreed on a scale system before the race, and we kept communicating, staying at a level eight” she explained.


The pair has now defended their Trans Baviaans title as a team while Ralph added a third successive Race victory to her palmarès. They were keen to play up the event to their fellow elite women’s mountain bikers too. “Women’s mountain biking has really picked up in the last couple of years” Ralph started. “And we love the competition between the ladies, and actually we’re all friends. So it would be nice if they could come and join us, we could have a more competitive race and then we could all have a beer together at the end. It would be marvellous if other ladies could come give us some gears” the Galileo Risk champion enthused.


In the mixed category the seemingly undefeatable combination of Yolande de Villiers and Neill Ungerer, riding in the colours of Ultimate Cycling Knysna, continued their undefeated run at the Trans Baviaans. The 2018 Race marks their sixth successive category victory and their second as a two person team, having won the first four with the able assistance of Johan Labuschagne. “I felt like I died seven times out there, especially on the Fangs,” de Villiers half-laughed half-grimaced after securing the victory. “Neill (Ungerer) was a machine out there” she concluded, heaping praise on her partner. The pair’s time of eight hours, twenty three minutes and nineteen seconds was twenty minutes faster than their own previous course record.


Despite blitzing the course they were not really aware of just how fast their time was until the final phases of the race. “We went through this last little dip, at Mooidraai, and it was still light. I thought: ‘what’s going on here? Did we start earlier’” Ungerer revealed. “It was a long day. But a fast day” he concluded with a smile, clearly ecstatic to be able to put his feet up early ahead of his second attempt at the 230 kilometre long course next weekend – in the Trans Baviaans Repeat.


Riding into the night, in the depth of the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve where light pollution is non-existent, is one of the highlights of the Trans Baviaans for the non-elite riders. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Results: Trans Baviaans Race


=1. Insect Science/Garmin (Ben Melt Swanepoel & Timothy Hammond) 07:51:06

=1. DSV Pro Cycling (Gert Heyns & Arno du Toit) 07:51:06

  1. William Simpson Cars (Mike Posthumus & Derrin Smith) 07:57:00
  2. Bianchi (Jac-Louis van Wyk & Gert Fouche) 08:18:40
  3. Bikelane/SPH Transport (Steven Philip Hayes & Andreas Studer) 08:21:47



  1. Ultimate Cycling Knysna (Yolande de Villiers & Neill Ungerer) 08:23:19
  2. East Coast Cycles (Kevin Taljaard & Siska van der Berg) 09:14:44
  3. Enduroplanet (Christo Roos & Tanya Kirstein) 09:41:01
  4. Urcycling (Pierre Smith & Mariske Mclean) 10:19:04
  5. Siverfish (Tania & Werner Visser) 10:24:31



  1. Galileo Risk (Theresa Ralph & Sarah Hill) 08:58:02
  2. Riding for Jason (Sarah van Heerden & Cindy Theunissen) 11:41:44
  3. Long Life (Marle Kotze & Naomi Visser) 12:30:33
  4. Cycles Direct (Gina Wills & Sannelize Janse van Rensburg) 13:02:29
  5. Mud & Muck (Tilly Ferreira & Marie-Daleen Serfontein) 13:36:15


To view the full results from the 2018 Trans Baviaans Race click here.



Ciovita Apparel to beat the Winter Chill

With snow on the mountains this year’s Trans Baviaans Race looks set to be a chilly one. So we got our friends at Ciovita to put together a list of must have items and advice, to go along with their Trans Baviaans apparel, which will see you through the Baviaanskloof without losing any appendages to frost bite.

Layer Up

Wearing a base layer will help lock in your body heat and keep your core warm by wicking away moisture from your skin.


Click on your preferred cut to take a look at the Women’s and Men’s base layers on the Ciovita website.

Arms & Legs

Arm and leg warmers are the way to go at the start if you are unsure of how hot you might get through the middle of the day. You can always whip them off at a check point if you start to heat up, or in the case of the arm warmers just allow them to bunch up around your wrists. Just don’t drop them in a check point box, because you’ll definitely need them when it gets dark!

Aside from the Trans Baviaans branded arm warmers you’ll also be able to purchase Ciovita’s standard Arm and Leg warmers at registration on Friday.

Go Long

A long sleeve jersey in your check point three or four box, depending on where you expect to be when night falls, will provide you with a bit more warmth for the cold winter night. It’ll also help you start the night phase of the race psychologically on a high being warm in a fresh top. A fresh base layer is another winner ahead of the night phase, as is a set of leg warmers if you don’t already have them on.


Ciovita have you covered here with long sleeve jerseys, in Men’s and Women’s cuts.


Now we would obviously love to see 1 250 riders rolling out of Willowmore decked from head to toe in Trans Baviaans kit. It would look great in the photos and to be fair you’d look great because we think Ciovita knocked it out of the park with their designs for this year too. But we know that if you can only buy one emergency cold beating item then the Vindex 2-in-1 Jacket/Gilet should be it.


Available in a Men’s and Women’s cut it is a windproof and water repellent jacket with, on the bike, removable sleeves. If you can handle the cold start you could save weight by packing your sleeves into a check point box. Just remember check point four’s boxes depart overnight; so if you make the wrong choice and pack your sleeves in it you could be in for a cold first 140 kilometres.

Handy Extras

A vita-tube/buff for the day and fresh one packed into your night time transition box is the way to roll. And if you struggle with cold ears you should also consider a Trans Baviaans branded peak cap/casquette to wear under your helmet.


Though Ciovita don’t produce them, yet, overshoes are also a winner. They’ll keep the icy wind off your toes. Long finger gloves are likewise a must, though unless you really struggle with the cold you probably won’t need proper winter riding gloves.


Supporter & Casual Wear

Live the Trans Baviaans off the bike or show your support for the riders taking part by rocking out post-race, or during if you’re a super supporter, in a Ciovita Trans Baviaans Hoodie or Soft Shell Jacket.

Also Available at Registration

At registration for the Trans Baviaans in Willowmore on Friday you’ll also be able to purchase sunglasses from AXUM SPORT – we strongly recommend a pair with photochromic lenses which start completely clear, so you can wear them throughout the night too – and Extreme Lights. We sincerely hope you are not panic buying lights at this point in time, but if you are give Extreme Lights a shout; they’ll be able to sort you out. Socks from Versus Socks, Ride Farr goodies seeing that you will be riding FARR, last minute stuff from Cycleworx. and some great memorabilia Trans branded products all over. Also on display will be a range of Trans Baviaans proven mountain bikes from Momsen Bicycles, including the all new Vipa Ultra.