Last chance to enter the Imbuko Big 5 MTB Challenge 

Imbuko

The Imbuko Big 5 MTB Challenge, taking place on 19 February, has in three years established itself as one of the toughest solo one-day mountain bike events in the country, with a total ascent of 3020m over a 75km course in the beautiful Wellington mountains of the Western Cape. 

Entries are still open for you to take on the five massive climbs that give the race its name. It’s the ideal test of fitness and strength ahead of the ABSA Cape Epic, and a solid day on the bike for those looking to stretch themselves.

The route is designed by Pieter Van Wyk, who worked on the route design team of the ABSA Cape Epic for many years. He says: “The idea was to create a unique event that conforms to world class standards. The five extremely long climbs with the challenging but rewarding single track, makes the route the ultimate challenge of endurance and skill. The Big 5 should be the yardstick for every aspiring mountain biker of their standing in the MTB community. The event also showcases the natural beauty that Wellington and surrounds have to offer to the outdoor enthusiast.”

Last year’s event was held in September due to COVID-19, and saw Matt Beers and Candice Lil win their respective categories. Taking on the challenge in the summer heat again, will be Marco Joubert of team Imbuko {type}DEV equipped by Giant, who came third in the men’s race last year: “This will be my 3rd time doing the race and I’m hoping to finish on the top step of the podium, but no matter what happens it will be a special day on the bike and in the mountains! This is one of the season’s highlights with the event happening in our team’s backyard – Imbuko Wines.

“The route itself is mega challenging with lots of climbing and some long technical descents, it really is a world class route. For 2022 we’ve got Pieter (du Toit) and Wessel (Botha) on board, two of SAs top next-gen powerhouses. I think having teammates out on the course will be an asset on this route as we can help pace each other during the race, and see between us who has the best legs on the day to go for a good finish.” 

Sarah Hill (Liv Factory Racing), who came fourth in the women’s race last year, says: “The Imbuko Big 5 race is one that challenges all types of rider. Massive mountains that are rewarded with breathtaking views, and world class single track descents. It’s one not to be missed!”

Race organiser Theunis Van Zyl says this event is the only one day challenge that pushes riders to climb over 3000 metres in just 75kms: “With the Imbuko Big 5 Challenge we aim to raise the bar of South African mountain biking by hosting a challenge of international standards. We want to give our riders the exposure and experience to be able to compete with the best.”

Enter at www.imbukobigfivemtbchallenge.co.za. If you are not heading to Uitkyk Farm in Wellington on 19 February to take up the challenge, you can catch all the action live on the WILD AIR Sports and Imbuko Big 5 MTB Challenge Instagram stories.