Freedom Challenge

Freedom Challenge Beyond Rhodes

Beyond Rhodes

The head of the race has crossed over the mighty Drakensberg and is now headed into the Stormberg region. The character and scenery of the race changes here. Rural villages give way to lonely farmland and the blue skies of Sisonke and the Malutis cloud over with rain and snow in the aptly named Stormberg. 
After a lot of technical riding, hike-a-bike, and challenging navigation the race now becomes more of a riders race with long turns on dirt roads. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it gets easy though as there are many challenging portages still to come.

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The Freedom Challenge races are non-stop, unsupported mountain bike races along the entire Freedom Trail or sections thereof. The Freedom Trail runs from Pietermaritzburg to Diemersfontein Wine Estate, Wellington

  • Race Across South Africa (RASA) Pietermaritzburg to Diemersfontein Wine Estate, Wellington
  • Race to Rhodes (RTR) Pietermaritzburg to Rhodes
  • Race to Cradock (RTC) Rhodes to Cradock
  • Race to Willowmore (RTW) Cradock to Willowmore

The rules set out below apply at all times to all riders in all events, unless otherwise stated.

The Race Goal

The object of the Freedom Challenge events is for participants to complete the prescribed route in the shortest possible time under their own power and without the aid of others. To that end, the rules set out below will govern the Race Across South Africa, the Race to Rhodes, the Race to Cradock and the Race to Willowmore (referred to as “the race”).


The Golden Rules are a distillation of the General Race Rules which are set out in more detail below. Disregard of the rules, whether deliberate or unintentional, will result in time penalties, censure and/or disqualification.


Golden Rule 1
No motorized transport

After the commencement of the race, challengers may not be transported at any time by motorized means. Any rider taking a lift forward, backward or off the trail with a vehicle will be automatically disqualified. Any Challenger automatically disqualified for taking a lift with a vehicle during the race may launch an appeal. Appeals relating to automatic disqualification as a result of taking a lift must be made to the Race Director at the next support station and will be dealt with within twenty-four hours of filing the appeal.

Golden Rule 2
Carry your own kit
After the commencement of the race, personal gear, equipment and supplies of a Challenger may not be transported along the trail by mechanized means without the consent of the Race Organizer. All equipment left behind at support stations will be forfeited by Challengers. If a Challenger does not want to forfeit the equipment or personal gear, they must carry it with them to the finish.

Golden Rule 3
No outside support
No vehicles seconding individual Challengers will be permitted during the race. Vehicles meeting up with a Challenger or delivering gear or equipment during the race will result in disqualification. Challengers may not receive personal support or outside assistance at any stage during the race. This includes visits by family, friends or supporters anywhere along the route. If any emergency assistance is required by a Challenger, it must be arranged with the Race Director or sought from fellow Challengers.

Golden Rule 4
Accommodation / Communication
A Challenger may not make demands for food and shelter along the route. Part of the goal of the Freedom Challenge is that Challengers should be unsupported and should not receive outside assistance other than that provided for by the Race Organizer. This assistance will be provided at the various official support stations along the route, as well as at certain designated emergency stops. A Challenger will need to notify the race office at least 6 hours in advance if they intend to make use of an emergency stop. In the event of a Challenger encountering difficulties or an emergency situation out on the trail, a challenger will be permitted to use other un-official accommodation on ONLY one occasion during the race. A challenger using such unauthorised accommodation MUST pay the accommodation provider before leaving the minimum amount set by the Race Organizer prior to the commencement of the event. If a Challenger chooses to camp out or sleep rough, they are free to do so, as long as no requests for food/water/shelter are made of anyone in the immediate vicinity. The making of open fires is prohibited – any rider camping out is expected to seek adequate shelter and not to rely on making a fire to survive the night. Any rider who makes an open fire along the trail is automatically disqualified. Furthermore, the rider will be held liable for any damages resulting from the spread of a fire that they have started.

Golden Rule 5
During the race, challengers are restricted to the use of traditional forms of navigation. This includes the use of the official race narratives and race maps, a magnetic compass and any device which measures time, distance and speed without the use of GPS technology (i.e. a simple bike computer). Any device onto which a GPS track or route can be loaded and followed is prohibited. The use of smartphones for navigation is prohibited. All apps or other programmes, which record tracks or provide navigation assistance must be deleted from smartphones before starting the race. Use of any GPS devices for navigation or for tracking of routes will result in immediate disqualification. This excludes the GPS tracking device supplied by the Race Organizer

Golden Rule 6
Impeccable behaviour
All Challengers are expected to act in a sportsmanlike manner and conduct themselves in a civil manner throughout the race. Abusive behaviour toward fellow riders, support station hosts or any other people encountered along the route will not be tolerated and will result in time penalties. Any complaints received from support station hosts will be investigated and could result in disqualification.

Golden Rule 7
No Doping
Use of illegal drugs as defined by law, excessive use of alcohol and the use of any banned performance enhancing substances (WADA Prohibited List 2017) during the race is prohibited. The Race Organizer has the right to conduct random drug testing. A Challenger is subject to collection of urine samples at any point from the start until one (1) hour after the finish. No hypodermic needles are permitted on the Freedom Trail.

Golden Rule 8
No Fires
Challengers accept that during any Freedom Challenge event, the making of open fires is prohibited anywhere along the route – doing so will result in immediate disqualification and Challengers will be held liable for any damages that may occur from the spread of such a fire.