The third edition of the famed Du Toit Tankwa Trek starts tomorrow morning in the Koue Bokkeveld region, a mere 2 hour drive from Cape Town and the terrain and scenery changes drastically. The race was used by many as a preparation race for the upcoming Cape Epic; it has now however grown in stature to the point where the Tankwa Trek itself has grown to iconic status in its own right.
This year I will be on the start grid with my team mate, Hanco Kachelhoffer as we return for the 2015 season under the Altech Autopage banner. Last year I had arrived as a solo entrant, the dynamic of racing as a solo entry with and against the teams is quite different. There are pros and cons to each, but I would rather be out there with my team mate. Suffering alone across the rough terrain can escalate the difficulty factor. With Hanco as my team mate we are there to motivate one another and offer support in the form of a wheel to sit on.
The competition as always will be tough. In the men’s team category our main counterparts will be the RECM duo of Kleinhans and Reid, EAI’s Rabie and Combrinck, Lill and Woolcock from Red-E Blend and the newly formed Contego Swift pairing of Louw and Luus. Stefan Sahm (Bulls) will be on the start line as a solo entrant and will surely be one of the main protagonists in the race, to heat matters up somewhat.
Our last outing as a Team Altech Autopage was a successful one at the Wines2Whales where we stood on the podium on stage 2 and finished in 4th place overall. We will be looking to extend on that success moving into the 2015 season and a busy schedule ahead for the next few weeks.
The woman’s racing is looking more and more competitive in each race. Defending champions Stander and Kleinhans of RECM will be looking to repeat last year’s success, there will be tough competition from the Ascendis Health pairing of Stenerhag and de Groot as there will be from a new combination from Sasol of de Villiers and Haw. It will be interesting to see how the young XC star features under the guidance of the veteran.
The stages that await the riders are as follows:
Stage 1: Witzenberg Valley, 83km 1850m ascent
Stage 2: Ceres Valley, 89km 2240 ascent
Stage 3: Koue Bokkeveld, 26km Neutral followed by 61km and 925m ascent