Race report – Monzi Hippo Challenge 2013 (MiWay Big 5 MTB Series #4 of 5)

    Lush Monzi Golf Club hosted the Monzi Hippo Challenge on Zululand's north coast. Photo: Jacques Marais

    The Monzi Hippo Challenge saw almost 900 riders having to contend with hot and windy conditions at the Monzi Country Club on Sunday, 8 September. What an introduction to Spring! With temperatures soaring into the forties, the track that usually provides the easiest and fastest route of the Series, instead tested the riders and organisers to the max! Luckily, thanks to great organisation skills and fully prepared emergency resources, dehydrated riders were picked up safely and treated without any serious fall-backs. Safety first!

    Despite the tough elements, riders enjoyed the race thoroughly, with the new single track alongside the canals and the lush Monzi scenery making it a race worth their while!


    Behind the scenes with the media team and race organisers at Monzi. Detailed preparations and great organisation not only ensures a successful race, but also great photos and film footage! Photo: Jacques Marais

    The media team, headed up by Max Cluer Sports Marketing, was out in full force yet again to capture all the blood, sweat and tears on film! With MiWay producing each of the five races in the MiWay Big 5 MTB Series for SuperSport, Zululand’s best-kept secrets will be showcased to rest of country in a few weeks’ time. Be sure to follow MiWayMTB on Facebook for weekly updated TV fixtures, photos from the Series and more.

    Tyronne White took first place in the men's 50km at Monzi on the weekend. Photo: Jacques Marais

    The 50km

    The wind and heat certainly didn’t stop Tyronne White in the 50km race – he managed to improve his 2012 time by 3 minutes, and came in the clear winner 8 seconds ahead from Gareth Harrington, followed by Sean Merridew in third place. Russell White’s team had a great day out with 8 podium places out of 8 starters – well done!

    Desiree Verwey continues to impress with a fast time of 2.17 as the top 50km woman with Isabel Moolman in second place only 2 minutes behind her, followed by Sandra Haywood from Vryheid in third.

    The 25km

    Joshua Nelson battled the heat and wind with his winning time of 00:56 in the 25km leg of the race. Second place Kobus Botha came streaming in 2 minutes later, with Samuel Erasmus placing third.

    Continuing to dominate the Women’s 25km race was Tracey Van Zyl,  2 minutes ahead of Althea Grebe and Candice Farland in third – this is Tracey’s fourth win in a row!

    The final at Kwambo will be the race to watch with Sean and Tyronne battling it out for Overall Series first place in the men’s 50km, and Isabel Moolman edging close to Desiree Vervey in the women’s 50km.

    The 10km

    The 10km Challenge makes a family outing possible for a day filled with fun for the whole family. Photo: Jacques Marais

    In what is becoming a hotly contested race, the timed 10km Challenge yet again drew crowds of youngsters competing for top spot, as well as moms and dads and beginners trying their hand at mountain biking! The 10km prize-giving got off to a wrong start, with an admin error resulting in a few wrong names being called out! Luckily, after a hiccup or two, the correct winners were rewarded for a tough day in the saddle! Sincere apologies again for the mistake!

    In the U13 boys category, Ellis Danken came in first, with Eshowe riders Zimelda Siyanda and Ngubane Zewando in second and third respectively. In the girls U13 category, Annabele Armstrong was the winner of the day, followed by Jade Louw and Hanner Volker in second and third respectively. The U11 boys category was won by Warren Moolman, 2nd Brett Drummond and 3rd Kyle Schnuir. The U11 girls title was taken by Grace Engelbrecht,  followed by Rebecca Lonsdale and Samantha Dreyer.

    We’re seeing some consistency in the 10km race with some interesting competition and are looking forward to watching the final at the end of the month in Kwambo!


    Hot and windy conditions forced some riders off their bikes. The race organisers' resources were stretched to the limit with the amount of dehydrated riders being the highest it's ever been! Photo: Jacques Marais

    Once again the Monzi farmers proved their worth and made sure that they covered all bases to make the day a huge success. Big thanks to Brian Harrison and his team for their fantastic coordination on the day, especially in such hot weather!

    We’ll see you all at the final in Kwambo!

    Click here for all race details for the Kwambo Lion MTB Race on 29 September.