2024 M&G PE PLETT – Stage 1 Race Report This Is Where You Want To Be | The Glory Of The Garden Route

PE Plett 2024

If there is a place in the world you want to be right now it is here, sipping on Heinekens with your mates in the cool weather of the Cape Garden Route. You’re one day into a four day cruise through the lush coastal hills and valleys that lie between Plettenberg Bay and Gqeberha, exploring natural single tracks and deep forest roads that wind their way through this quiet countryside.

While the heart of the M&G Investments PE PLETT is about the enjoyment of this unique route and luxuries you’re treated to on the way, ‘The Ride’ is also a bit about the racing and there are some potent teams in the mix this year.

Stage 1 was a 75km ride with 1200m of elevation gain that the riders commented on as being “really fast”! Rolling out of the Kurland Polo fields, led by a team of polo ponies, our riders were soon soaking in views of Nature’s Valley from high above while navigating the first single track of the day along grassy ridge lines that surround the green abyss.

Out in front was the Honeycomb Pro Cycling duo of Marc Pritzen and Tristan Nortje, Rossouw Bekker and Matthys Beukes of Valley Electrical Pro Cycling, Herman Fourie and Kai von During for Insect Science X Trek SA, and the Grand Africa combo of Matthew Leppan and Jordan Haarpainter.

Mandi Augustyn and Juanita Mackenzie (team Elements) have the women’s category pretty wrapped up with just over an hour on Team Vered’s Sally Andrews and Wendy Long. All the other ladies entered for The Ride have opted to ride solo, in the mixed category or on EBikes, and look to be having an awesome time out there! 

There is some competition in the mixed category, led by Elrika Harmzen-Pretorius and Alexander Lawrence (eFort Foodlovers) 6 minutes ahead of Kelsey van Schoor and Sidney Strydom (Ultimate Quest)! This could be a good  battle over the next 3 days to keep an eye on.

Mandi and Juanita are sitting in 21st overall. Their race will be for overall GC positions this week as they prepare themselves for the 2024 Cape Epic. 

The real racing got underway on the first major climb, out of Nature’s Valley, with Honeycomb Pro Cycling dropping the hammer and cutting loose from the bunch. A move they would hold for 60km to the finish at the Tsitsikamma Lodge and Spa.

VEC Titan and Insect Science X Trek SA battled back and forth with the latter team eventually getting away just before the finish to secure a few valuable seconds on GC. It looks like a good tussle is unfolding between these two teams and Grand Africa are going to have to up their game if they want to be in the mix for top three GC. 

For those focusing on The Ride rather than racing, highlights of the day included a traverse of the Bloukrans Bridge (typically off limits to bicycles), the Stinkhoutboskloof trail, big coastal views over the Indian Ocean, and countless isolated forest roads that detach you from reality and let you sink into the gentle ebb and flow of this tranquil route.

The little things like the M&G Boost Bar serving iced coffees and milkshakes, 10km from the finish, keep the vibes high on route and legs spinning smoothly over the 73km stage. Arriving in the race village, the Foodlovers harvest table and Heineken beers are a warm welcome at the finish and you can rest assured that you’ll be comfortable at night in a luxury tent with a proper bed and plenty of room to move about! Small things that make the big thing that much more enjoyable.

Stage 2 heads out from Tsitsikamma Lodge and Spa and returns to the same location after a 59km journey through the surrounding trails and forest roads, exploring the beauty of the Tsitsikamma Forest like never before. Taking in 800m of elevation, it isn’t a tough day on the bike but one of easy flow and a bit of work to keep riders honest. 

2024 M&G PE PLETT – Stage 1 Results

Male Teams

1. Team Honeycomb ( Marc Pritzen and Tristan Nortje) – 02:22:01

2. Trek SA (Kai von During and Herman Fourie) – 02:26:21

3. ⁠Valley Electrical Titan Racing (Matthys Beukes and Roussouw Bekker) – 02:26:42

Female Teams

1. Elements (Mandi Augustyn and Juanita Mackenzie) – 03:14:06

2. Team Vered (Sally Andrews and Wendy Long) – 04:17:18

Mixed Teams

1. eFort Foodlovers (Alex Lawrence and Elrika Harmzen) – 02:54:17

2. Ultimate Quest (Kelsey van Schoor and Sidney Strydom) – 03:00:18

3. ⁠Rapiro Biketime (Sacha Ludwig and Aigner Angelika) – 03:13:58

Solo Men

1. Rogan Smart – 2:32:06

2. ⁠Alexander Araujo – 02:54:56

3. ⁠Karel Sumbal – 03:00:19

Solo Female

1. Marni Sumbal – 03:13:45

2. Annamarie Jacobsz – 03:32:45

3. Andrea van Blommestein – 03:32:59

Find out more about the M&G PE PLETT here: peplett.co.za/