Defending Champions Return to Knysna Bull

Knysna bull
Samantha Sanders headlines the 2020 women’s field, which is sure to once again feature the biggest names in South African mountain biking, plus a few foreign elite riders, as they chase the R100 000 prize. Photo by Deidre Cloete.

The 2020 Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia, is set to take place from the 19th to the 22nd of February, in the spectacular Garden Route forests. It will once again boast a massive, winner-takes-all, prize of R100 000 for the elite men’s and elite women’s winner. Unsurprisingly, the defending champions Matt Beers and Samantha Sanders have confirmed their participation as they look to secure a healthy early season bonus.

In 2019 Beers held off his friend and training partner Alan Hatherly, by 27 seconds, to secure the title. While in the women’s race Sanders bested Jennie Stenerhag by 4 minutes, after Sabine Spitz’s challenge for race victory evaporated in a cloud of tyre sealant when she suffered a significant side-wall puncture. Each of the Prologue and 3 marathon stages were individually fiercely contested though, with the remote finishes at the end of a singletrack, atop climbs and on a lagoon-side bike path helping to create a compelling finale for the fans.

Matt Beers powers up the Simola climb on his way to victory in the 2019 Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia. He is set to return to defend his title in 2020. Photo by Deidre Cloete.

Though the prize money for the elite riders is offered in a winner-takes-all lump sum the Young Bulls are financially rewarded down to fifth place. “We feel it is essential to support the up and coming mountain biking talent in South Africa” Pax Mosterd, of the Knysna Bull, said. “To that end we offer discounted entries to riders under the age of 23 and pay R60 000 in total prize money to the younger men and women in the race. We know that many of the under 23 riders are students or working their first jobs, while racing their mountain bikes virtually full-time. The discount and the prize money will therefore help them beyond the Bull and hopefully allow them to take part in a few more stage races across the country in 2020.”

Prize money for the Young Bull men and women will be paid from positions 1st through 5th in 2020. Photo by Deidre Cloete.

Young Bull men and women will be rewarded down to fifth position at the 2020 Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia. The category winners will each ride away with R10 000. While the R3 500 prize money paid to fifth place exceeds the R2 500 Young Bull entry fee.

Riding wise the allure of the race is not just provided by the superb tracks and trails of the deep forests of the Garden Route. The Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia, features remote start and finish locations; ensuring the racing is conducted over the best possible terrain. Stages start on Phantom Pass, at Eden Brook and in the Harkerville Forest which means no neutral zone peloton riding out of Knysna. While the remote finishes allow for the climbers and sprinters to come to the fore alternatively.

The Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia, offers discounted entries for Young Bulls, Pro Bulls, Old Bull(ets) and Four Bull groups. Photo by Deidre Cloete.

Untimed liaisons, a concept borrowed from rallying, allows riders to roll no more than 6.5 kilometres back to the Waterfront Race Village. There a choice of lunches awaits, as riders can opt for meals from one of the four restaurants adjacent to the dinning marquee. The Drydock, Ocean Basket, Caffe Mario and O Pescador each provide a unique meal, with desert, while The Drydock provides the catering for the final fishers’ dinner on Saturday evening.

Speaking of Saturday evening, the festivities are not limited to the handing over of cheques for the prize money. One lucky Bull will ride away with a brand-new Santa Cruz Tallboy. Worth R102 000 the bike will be battled for in an epic series of on-stage games of ching-chong-cha (rock-paper-scissors) after the finalists are determined by lucky draw. Event master of ceremonies Carel ‘RaasBekkie’ Bezuidenhoud and Rush Sports’ Oliver ‘Pinner’ Munnik will adjudicate the competition. In 2019 Graham Thompson defeated the women’s champion, Sanders, to claim the Santa Cruz bike.

Fast, furious, fresh, flowing, free days of riding. It’s Knysna and you’re the Bull. Entries to South Africa’s individual stage race remain open until the 14th of February and entry categories include Young Bulls (u23), Bulls, Pro Bulls (UCI riders), Old Bull(ets) (55+) and Four Bull entries for herds of riders. The standard, Bull, entry fee is R4 950 per rider; which includes an Ou Meul Bakery pie and cappuccino en route to Knysna, post-stage lunches, a finisher’s dinner, cappuccinos at the stage starts and rider gifts. To secure a spot in the 2020 race please visit www.knysnabull.bike. While for more information and to stay updated on all the news from the race follow @knysnabull on Twitter and @knysnabull on Instagram, as well as by liking the Knysna Bull Facebook page

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here