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.

Uncle Fish Best Suited to Damp Trans Baviaans Repeat

Gawie Combrinck and Gerrit de Vries, riding as the aptly named Uncle Fish team overcame damp conditions to win a very challenging Trans Baviaans Repeat; on Saturday, 17 August. The second event in the 2019 Trans Baviaans stable, which followed the same 230 kilometre course from Willowmore to Jeffery’s Bay, was contested in testing weather. Combrink and De Vries best battled the head wind, muddy roads and a brief rain squall to cross the finish line, at the Fountains Mall, in a time of 9 hours, 25 minutes and 20 seconds

Gerrit de Vries leads Gawie Combrinck through the notorious Langwater crossing, just after Check Point 3, on their way to Trans Baviaans Repeat glory. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Combrinck has only recently retired from elite mountain biking, but showed that he was still the pedigree rider in the 1 250-rider strong field. The former NAD Pro MTB rider, who has been spending long hours riding his gravel bike in the Low Veld this winter, put the years of mileage to great use. “Gawie was the only rider working for the first 100 kilometres today” his partner De Vries praised. “We went it alone from Check Point 2 (at the 93 kilometre mark) and just rode tempo. Gawie worked for probably 220 kilometres, I did about 10. So, it was all Gawie today” De Vries recounted. Chipping in Combrinck added, with a laugh: “Unfortunately I have it on a GoPro where Gerrit rode away from me on a climb, so I won’t hear the end of that”.

Behind the race winners the Trans Baviaans Repeat riders battled in, splatted with mud and grateful to be out of the wind. “It was just the wind which was a killer” Garth Ennion, of ESA Partner, said upon sealing second position. “The temperature was actually alright.” “Head wind all the way, except for the last 5 kays” his teammate Wesley Lentz was quick to point out. “Ja”, agreed Ennion with a rueful smile, “except for the railway line singletrack.”

The challenging weather conditions ensured that team spirit came to the fore even more than usual during the 2019 Trans Baviaans Repeat. Photo by Jacques Marais.

A little further down the field the famous Trans Baviaans team spirit came to the fore. Riding for the event’s official apparel partners, Ciovita, Jaco Pelser and Raymond Cox had a longer and harder day than they had anticipated. “Ray had a terrible day. I had to pull him all the way” Pelser said with a grin at his teammate. “The road was definitely not smoother and that headwind was brutal. I’m shattered!” he finished; before setting hungrily to work on the post-Repeat Spur burger, chips and a Darling Brew beer.

While the times were significantly slower than in the previous weekend’s Race one new record was set in the Trans Baviaans Repeat. Bryan and Lauren Allot, riding as Team PowerBar 2, became the first riders to complete the event on gravel bikes. The couple are preparing for the 1 000 kilometre long Munga in December. “I figure if I can do this then the Munga will be just as easy” Bryan smiled a little nervously on the start line in Willowmore. “There might be no suspension, but you get rattled around anyway. The corrugations are always smoother on the other side of the road. But it’s a photograph ride, we are aiming to take it easy and enjoy it.” The Allot’s did just that, finishing in a steady time of 17 hours, 53 minutes and 56 seconds.

From Bergplaas at the 140km mark the route to Jeffery’s Bay was muddy in places following the, much needed, rain the region experienced that morning. Photo by Jacques Marais.

It was arguably not the year to take on the Trans Baviaans on a gravel bike though. “It was the toughest one I’ve done in the last 12 years” Vickus Boshoff rated. Boshoff, who owns the Coimbra bike shop in George, has completed an event in each of those 12 years and knows a thing or two about surviving the Baviaanskloof. His and Jan-Paul Gerber experience in the event helped them to third overall, just two seconds ahead of the Pure Savage team of Waldo Zevenster and Malcolm Isaacs. Zevenster and Isaacs had by all accounts been two of the strongest riders in the field, but mechanical issues kept them off the podium.

Bryan and Lauren Allot became the first riders to complete the Trans Baviaans on gravel bikes when they rolled into Jeffery’s Bay in the early hours of Sunday morning. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Like in the first weekend’s Race mechanical misfortunes played a significant role in the Repeat riders’ stories. Many failed to heed the warnings about the state of the road and the pre-race rain did not help matters either. A steady drizzle fell on the final 100 kilometres, from Bergplaas to the finish, in the morning before the first riders summited the Mother of All Climbs. From Bergplaas, at 140 kilometres in, to the finish muddy roads and a thick mist made the already challenging riding conditions even harder. Each and every rider who completed the Repeat should thus be justifiably proud of their achievement.

The water crossings in the forests between the base of the Big Dipper and Check Point 5 were deeper than they had been the week before, forcing riders to get creative to keep their feet dry. Photo by Jacques Marais

To relive all the action from the 2019 Trans Baviaans Race and Repeat visit the event’s Facebook page, Trans Baviaans. Alternatively, follow @EcoBoundEvents on Twitter and @transbaviaans or the hashtag #TransBaviaans2019 on Instagram.



  1. Gerrit de Vries & Gawie Combrinck (Uncle Fish) 9:25:20
  2. Garth Ennion & Wesley Lentz (ESA Partner) 9:27:22
  3. Jan-Paul Gerber & Vickus Boshoff (Coimbra) 9:29:18



  1. Ilse Nel & Cherise Odendaal (Sumeil 1) 12:46:50
  2. Salomie Kolbe & Elize da Ponte (Chatting Blades) 13:50:47
  3. Adelle & Marleen Jeppe (Jeppe Jets) 14:55:34



  1. Jay Carneiro, Bruce & Tracey Cambell (Cyclopro) 10:56:17
  2. Dirk Pienaar & Johanet Cilliers (Douglas Breakaway) 10:58:58
  3. Hannele Steyn & Waleed Baker (Passion4Wholeness Mixed) 11:08:38


For the full results from the 2019 Trans Baviaans Repeat please visit:

The dense indigenous forests of Cambria, in the eastern part of the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve, feature spectacularly gnarled old trees. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Trans Baviaans Repeat – No Mysteries in the Kloof the Second Time Around

Over the sixteen year history of the Trans Baviaans the greatest topic of debate before each Race has been the road conditions. 230 kilometres is, by any cyclist’s standards, a long distance. On gravel roads and jeep tracks that link Willowmore to Jeffery’s Bay, via the Baviaanskloof, there is amble opportunity for the route to provide challenging surface changes. In addition to the already strenuous trial set by the deceptively attritional meters of accumulated climbing, which stack up despite the downhill trend towards the Indian Ocean.

Repeat riders be warned: road conditions were particularly corrugated in the first 100km of the 2019 Trans Baviaans Race. Photo by Jacques Marais.

For the Trans Baviaans Repeat riders, who follow the tracks laid down by the Race competitors a week later, the road conditions hold no mysteries. The Race, which took place on Saturday 10 August, saw dormakaba and Galileo Risk win in dominant fashions. Neither team were able to match their times from 2018 though. This Saturday, 17 August, the Repeat pits another 1 250 riders against the roads of the Baviaanskloof.

“It was similar to the first one we did together [in 2017]” Sarah Hill said to her partner Theresa Ralph after sealing the 2019 Trans Baviaans Race victory. That opinion, the general consensus is, underplayed the roughness of the route though. “There were five broken rear derailleurs by Check Point 1” William Rhodes revealed. As one of the men married into the Trans Baviaans organising Van Der Walt clan Rhodes has been co-ordinating the water point at Check Point 1 for nearly a decade. “I’ve never seen so many issues so early into the race” Rhodes added.

Christie Hearder (front) and Courtney Webb (behind) were two of the riders who struggled with rear derailleur issues. Webb finished the race with a makeshift singlespeed set-up after her second derailleur failure of the race with 40km left to ride. Photo by Jacques Marais.

“Wikus [van der Walt, the race founder] always says the route is bad” Race Director Zane Schmahl said. “It’s a mountain bike race and the section through the reserve is always rough. Since the concrete strips were put down on the Fangs and MAC it has got a little easier though. That, the freshly graded roads leading to the reserve and a consistent tail wind led to fast times last year. This year there have been floods which damaged the road before the reserve. Though work has started to fix them there are still piles of gravel waiting to be graded into the road in places. The corrugations in the first 100 kilometres were particularly bad this year, as a result of those floods, and the rough section through the reserve is rougher than it has been in a number of years. That and the head wind from the start of the Neverender to the finish definitely slowed the times down.”

The rough road conditions and warm weather also led to an increased number of the top riders cramping. Hardly any of the fastest finishers failed to mention suffering from cramps. “Dezza [dormakaba’s Derrin Smith] started cramping with about 120 kilometres to go” Mike Posthumus recounted. “Later I started cramping too; but not as badly as Derrin, fortunately!” “With the temperatures reaching twenty five degrees Celsius and the tail wind blowing, I think it dehydrated people more than they realised” Schmahl speculated.

The infamous Langwater water crossing, after Check Point 3, forced virtually everyone to walk as it was deeper than usual this year. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Fortunately for the Repeat riders they have the experience of the Racers to call upon. They will therefore be prepared for the rough roads. Worcester’s Manic Cycles manned the service station at Check Point 1, where Vero’s famous rooster brood is usually the only reason for riders to stop. “We suggest that all Repeat riders have their rear derailleurs checked properly. Make sure the pulleys are still in a good condition and that all the bolts are fastened properly” the shop tweeted on Sunday, after the Race.

The weather conditions will hopefully also contribute to smoother day out for the riders this coming Saturday. No rain is predicted to fall during the event, but the temperatures are expected to be lower – peaking at just sixteen degrees on Saturday afternoon. A cross-head wind is predicted for the first half of the race unfortunately, but that could force riders to remain in groups in the first 100 kilometres rather than striking out alone. Thereafter, once the route turns West towards Jeffery’s Bay after the Hadley Check Point, the riders can expect a gentle tail wind.

Once riders reached Bergplaas, and Check Point 4, the road surfaces smoothed out considerably. Photo by Jacques Marais.

For those still nervous about what exactly lies in store during the Trans Baviaans there is no better way to mentally prepare than by recapping on what took place during the race. Riders and fans can view all the photos and videos from the Race on the event’s Facebook page, Trans Baviaans. Or relive the blow-by-blow account of how the Race unfolded on Twitter, at @EcoBoundEvents. More photos and rider experience posts can be found by following @transbaviaans or the hashtag #TransBaviaans2019 on Instagram. While all the other essential information is available on the website:


dormakaba and Galileo Risk Overcome Rough Terrain to win 2019 Trans Baviaans

The 2019 Trans Baviaans, which took place in the Eastern Cape on Saturday 10 August, was won by the dormakaba and Galileo Risk teams. They and their fellow competitors in the Trans Baviaans Race, the first of two events, had to brave the roughest conditions in years on the traverse through the Baviaanskloof. Floods in the build-up to the race left the usually smoother roads in the first 100 kilometres, of the 230 kilometre long route, in a rutted condition.

Those ruts would be felt later rather than when they were assaulted, on fresh legs, because a steady tail wind blew from the North West as riders left Willowmore for Jeffery’s Bay. A frenetic pace was set from the off by the Hausberger team, of Werner Roux and Jono Cloete. Roux revealed at the finish that it had not been part of their race plan. “Jono [Cloete] attacked in the first kilometre” he said shaking his head. “We hadn’t even left Willowmore yet. I didn’t want to follow but I didn’t really have a choice.”

Derrin Smith, of dormakaba, leads the reduced group from which both the first and second place at the 2019 Trans Baviaans Race came. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Cloete’s brave move echoed the acceleration by Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit in 2018, when the pair set the current course record. It also played into the hands of the race favourites, Mike Posthumus and Derrin Smith, of dormakaba. “It suited us, them [Roux and Cloete] making it so hard” Posthumus recounted. “It forced quite a select group to form; with them, us and the guys from ProTouch. We got away and then at 90 kilometres we saw them hesitating at a Check Point and we [Smith and Posthumus] pushed on from there.”

“It was a solo ride from 90 kilometres” he continued with a grimace. “It was awful. It was so rough. I had between 10 and 15 chain-drops off my chainring and had to keep stopping to put that back on and then chase back. So that burnt a few matches. Then Dez [Smith] started cramping with about 120 kilometres to go. It was a rough second half for him and I started cramping too, but luckily not as bad as him.”

Addressing the slip; which saw them penalised with a 20 minute time addition Posthumus explained: “We made an error at Check Point 7 by not taking our lights.” “The plan had been to beat the setting sun. And though we didn’t manage it technically, at least we didn’t need our lights” he laughed off the mistake which ended up not costing them too dearly.

Having crossed the line 28 minutes and 53 seconds ahead of Roux and Cloete; but 19 minutes after their targeted time of 8 hours the 20 minute the penalty did not deny them the win or a personal best. Posthumus, Smith, Roux and Cloete were joined on the podium by Jaco Davel and Ignus Oosthuizen. Davel and Oosthuizen had suffered their own cramps earlier in the race but stormed through the final 50 kilometres to overhaul the ProTouch team of Pieter Seyffert and Myles van Musschenbroek. Seyffert and Van Musschenbroek had been among the race’s main protagonists, so slipping from the podium was exceptionally cruel; but that is the nature of the Trans Baviaans. It often provides a vicious sting in the closing kilometres as the accumulated effects of 8 hours of racing starts to tell.

Galileo Risk’s Sarah Hill contemplates the challenge ahead as she lined up to start the 2019 Trans Baviaans in Willowmore on the morning of Saturday the 10th of August. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Two riders who know exactly how to pace their efforts, in the Trans Baviaans, are Galileo Risk’s Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill. Having won the previous two editions together they use the race as a benchmark for their development as a team. “Today we really pushed hard” Ralph said, just after crossing the finish line. “Sarah [Hill] has grown so amazingly. I remember the first one I did with her, I could have pedalled with one leg. Now she’s putting me in the hurt-locker for a lot of the race. We really had a good dynamic, sharing the load.”

“The corrugations were a lot like the first time we rode the Trans Baviaans” Hill added. “And the headwind was so tough. There was a time when I thought there was no way we would even get close to our record, especially on the Neverender. But then we found such a good rhythm and we were feeding off each other’s energy. We ended up getting so close… so we’ll have to try again next year” Hill laughed.

Dane Walsh (far) completed his sixteenth Trans Baviaans. Riding alongside Craig Edwards (near) the Distinguished Voodoo Grinders finished eighteenth overall this year. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Theresa Ralph (Galileo Risk) follows Deon Kruger (Humankind Masters) along a section of relatively smooth district road. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Ralph and Hill were joined on the women’s podium by former Olympian and 2009 IRONMAN South Africa champion Lucie Zelenková and her partner Laura-Beth Eicker-Harris. The third placed team was the Kekkel en Kloek team, of Nickey Botes and Esmari de Wet.

In the mixed category there was a proposal on the finish line after Tanya Kirstein and Christo Roos had raced to victory. Fortunately for Roos the endorphins of the win were clearly running high as Kirstein accepted instantaneously. The newly engaged couple were joined on the podium by ECC-Bestmed’s Anriette Schoeman and Kevin Taljaard; as well as by Urcycling’s Mariske Smith and Wayne van der Walt.

The Langwater crossing – which comes 123 kilometres into the route, in the middle of the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve – caused more than just wet feet in 2019. Photo by Jacques Marais.

To further relive the 2019 Trans Baviaans Race mountain biking fans can follow @EcoBoundEvents on Twitter or @transbaviaans on Instagram. Additionally liking the Trans Baviaans Facebook will provide access to photos and videos from the race. The action commences next weekend, on Saturday 17 August, with the Repeat; which will see a more social ride from Willowmore to Jeffery’s Bay take place through the magnificent Baviaanskloof.


2019 Trans Baviaans Race | Results:


  1. Mike Posthumus & Derrin Smith (dormakaba) 08:39:32
  2. Werner Roux & Jono Cloete (Hausberger) 08:48:25
  3. Jaco Davel & Ignus Oosthizen (Jocoignus) 08:50:25
  4. Pieter Seyffert & Myles van Musschenbroek (ProTouch) 08:57:59
  5. Fred Buter & Deon Kruger (Humankind Masters) 09:06:00



  1. Theresa Ralph & Sarah Hill (Galileo Risk) 09:06:01
  2. Lucie Zelenková & Laura-Beth Eicker-Harris (Trifactri Chics) 11:35:15
  3. Nickey Botes & Esmari de Wet (Kekkel en Kloek) 11:49:57
  4. Illiska Verwey & Tanja Schutte (Die Heart) 12:00:11
  5. Alisha Myers & Kateryna Tertiienko (DC Gals) 12:07:52



  1. Tanya Kirstein & Christo Roos (Enduroplanet) 09:38:09
  2. Anriette Schoeman & Kevin Taljaard (ECC-Bestmed) 09:56:15
  3. Mariske Smith & Wayne van der Walt (Urcycling) 10:18:25
  4. Jana Kruger & Nichol Jordaan (Hansie en Grietjie) 10:35:12
  5. Liesel & Ken Prentis (Prentis) 10:56:09


For additional information please visit


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 News – Race Prep

Goeie Dag

Ons het 2 weke oor tot die Trans Baviaans 2019 se eerste event naweek. Ons hoop julle is reg en opgewonde, hieronder volg al die inligting wat julle nodig het vir die “Race” en “Repeat” events.
Wikus van der Walt

Pre Race Prep

It’s too late to start training now unfortunately but you can still make sure you prepare correctly for the event:

Harald from Polar SA has a few tips for the last training weeks leading up to the event:

  • The work is done. No training you do now will improve your current fitness level.
  • Focus on arriving on the start line well rested. Sleep between 7-9 hours every night.
  • Keep training consistently to keep the legs active. Shorter sessions while managing your intensity.
  • High training load sessions will only have a negative effect on your recovery and ultimately your performance on race day.

Bike Prep

  • Please make sure your bike is serviced and ready to take on 230km through the biggest wilderness area in the country.
  • Check your spares and what you need for your bike specifically.


  • Plan your nutrition for the ride and have a system on when to eat and drink.
  • Check out the “Event Menu” by clicking here.
  • All the checkpoints will stock PowerBar drinks so it might be a good idea to get yourself some PowerBar Isoactive pre race as well. You can follow this link for instructions on how to get your Trans Discount on their products.


Download the Event Waiver and ECPTA Waiver of Liability and Indemnity Agreement NOW to make the Registration process faster. 

Registration opens on Friday from 13:00 at the Town Hall in Knysna road (Main Street) in Willowmore and will continue until 20:00.  Please note: There will be no registration on Saturday morning.

Remember:- Containers for Checkpoint #4 (Bergplaas) must be loaded on Friday before 20:00 at registration. Containers for Checkpoints #2 & #3 will only be loaded on Saturday from 7:30-8:30. Trucks for these containers will be parked next to the Engen Garage in Willowmore.

Please Note: All the information required for the race will be provided at the Race Registration. Allow enough time to familiarise yourself with the info before the start – especially the route as it will not be marked!
Registration process:

  1. Acknowledgement, Waiver and Indemnity – Before you go to Registration read and sign BOTH Indemnities: Event Waiver and Indemnity: This is an important document which affects your legal rights and obligations. You must read it carefully prior to entering/taking part in the event. You would have accepted these conditions as part of your race entry. Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency Indemnity: This document is a requirement from ECPTA for entering the Park area in the Baviaanskloof during the event.DOWNLOAD HERE:Event Waiver and ECPTA Waiver of Liability and Indemnity AgreementDownload Zip folder and open both Indemnities – you need to print and sign both of these. Team members should collectively sign on each.Know your race number – this is required to process your registration
  2. You will be asked to sign that you have received your Race Package, containing below items.
  3. Should you want to collect the Race Pack for a friend, ensure to bring written consent from your friend. You can download the form here: Consent for race Contents collection Remember to bring along the container contents for Checkpoint # 4 (this truck departs on Friday, 20:00)
  4. Should you have any questions after you have read your information, please remember to ask this at the Race Briefing, Friday night at 19:00 (NG Church Hall).

Over the last couple of years we have picked up more and more riders abandoning team mates and riding solo. This is against the rules and will be monitored much closer this year! If you ride solo it will lead to disqualification. This is a team event please stick together and enjoy the ride! 


Route Update 🚧

Checkpoint 2 will move location for 2019! Geelhoutbos will no longer be the home of Checkpoint 2 this year but it will move to Zandvlakte at 93km into the race route. This is 11km before the Geelhoutbos and before you enter the Wilderness area!

Good Luck with you last preparations
Team EcoBound


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


Follow Online
Explorer App App Store | Google Play
Facebook: Trans Baviaans
Twitter: @EcoBoundMTB
Instagram: @transbaviaans


The Trans Baviaans Repeat

The Trans Baviaans Repeat is the second edition of the famous 230 kilometre long ultra-endurance race through the Baviaanskloof. Taking place the weekend after the Race, on Saturday the 18th of August, the Repeat may lack an elite field but it more than makes up for that with an exceptional spirit among the riders and their supporters.

Yolande de Villiers rode to her second Mixed Category victory in as many weeks in the Trans Baviaans, following up her Race win with the Repeat title. Photo by Jacques Marais.

For the second weekend in a row a wrong-turning, by the race leaders, provided the decisive and most drama filled moment of the event. This time though there was no need for the race commissaire to get involved; the leaders on the road, Ignus Oosthuizen and Jaco Davel, simply missed the turn off to Jeffreys Bay. The pair had held the lead since Check Point 2, 104 kilometres into the race, when the large peloton of riders who had covered the relatively easy early kilometres together started to break up. Powering over the Baviaans Back, the Fangs, MAC and Neverender, Oosthuizen and Davel managed to gradually extend their lead to twenty minutes at Check Point 7; with 27 kilometres remaining.

Their wrong turn kept them on the undulating ridgeline jeep track, which takes riders up the Mini MAC and certainly helped expedite their time losses as their pursuers turned towards the coast – on long, flowing downhill district road. The primary beneficiaries of this were the Cadence Tygervalley team of Johan Coetzee and Gys Malan. The pair did however not realise that they had moved into the lead until they reached the finish line at the Fountains Mall. Upon hearing Paul Valstar announcing that they were riding home to claim the Trans Baviaans Repeat victory they were taken completely by surprise.

Behind Coetzee and Malan there was a sprint for second between Spur C4D’s Jacques van Staden and Marshall Hendricks and the ESA Partner combination of Garth Ennion and Leon Erasmus. Van Staden and Hendricks had put in a strong ride over the final 60 kilometres and kept the ESA Partner pairing in their sights throughout that time – eventually setting up a sprint after nine hours of racing.

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

In the Mixed Category the East Coast Cycles quartet of Kevin Taljaard, Wynand Mulder, Yolande and Henties de Villiers claimed another Repeat title. Taljaard and Yolande de Villiers had finished second and first in the Trans Baviaans Race in the Mixed Category the weekend before; and were ecstatic to retain their title in the Repeat. Henties de Villiers meanwhile does not manage to make as much time to train as his wife and battled valiantly to ensure he clung to the wheels of his powerful teammates.

Trans Baviaans founder Wikus van der Walt in action on the Momsen Vipa Ultra. Van der Walt and Sharples completed the event in a time of 13 hours and 23 minutes. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The sub-plot to the Repeat was undoubtedly Wikus van der Walt riding his first Trans Baviaans. After fifteen years of organising the event the founder eventually got his chance to experience it for himself, alongside his long time stage race partner John Sharples. Van der Walt rode the new Momsen Vipa Ultra for his Trans Baviaans adventure and was exceptionally impressed with the bike. “It descends very well and I’m sure my struggles on the climbs were more down to my legs than the bike” Van der Walt joked upon finishing.

Stephen Drew (left) and Jeffrey Willcocks (right) inspired all around them by finishing the Trans Baviaans Repeat. Photo by Craig Giese.

Another hero of the Trans Baviaans Repeat was Stephen Drew. In recent years Drew has survived a brain tumour and then the amputation of his right leg following a motorcycle accident. Drew is an inspirationally positive character and there was never any doubt in his mind that he would be back on the bike following his accident. Equipped with a state of the art prosthetic, which was custom made in George, Drew completed the Trans Baviaans Repeat alongside fellow amputee Jeffrey Willcocks.


Mountain biking fans and Trans Baviaans riders can recap on all the action from the 2018 Race and Repeat on the event’s Facebook page, Trans Baviaans. While for more information please visit

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

Results: Trans Baviaans Race


  1. Cadence Tygervalley (Johan Coetzee & Gys Malan) 08:55:44
  2. Spur C4D (Jacques van Staden & Marshall Hendricks) 09:02:58
  3. ESA Partner (Garth Ennion & Leon Erasmus) 09:02:59
  4. Wildfire (Dawie van Rensburg & Angus McGuffog) 09:03:04
  5. Jaco Ignus (Ignus Oosthuizen & Jaco Davel) 09:03:15



  1. East Coast Cycles (Kevin Taljaard, Wynand Mulder, Yolande & Henties de Villiers) 09:30:06
  2. Ferocity (Adriaan Botma, Martie & Johannes Joubert) 09:38:56
  3. Cyclopro (Jay Carneiro, Bruce & Tracey Campbell) 10:09:53



  1. Trans Vrystaat (Cherise Odendaal & Ilse Nel) 12:23:19
  2. Chatting Blades (Elize de Ponte & Salomie Kolbe) 13:15:15

Despicable Us (Marelise Bardenhorst & Nicole Morse) 15:57:02


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