Sprint Decides KAP sani2c Opener

The opening stage of the 2023 KAP sani2c followed its usual course, with a sprint deciding the top places.

KAP sani2c |

It was a typical first day of the KAP sani2c, with sprint finishes decided the top places; Marco Joubert and Wessel Botha of Imbuko {Type} Dev A (02:52:40) were a mere 4.6 seconds ahead of Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje of Toyota-Specialized (02:52:45) to take the men’s lead, while Efficient Infiniti’s  Kim Le Court and Samantha Sanders (03:29:53) rode a solid race, achieving a 12 minute gap on second placed Sarah Hill and Elrika Harmzen of HH Women’s Racing (03:42:08).

The Imbuko {Type} Dev B team of Pieter du Toit and Franko van Zyl were able to push ahead of Arno du Toit and Keagan Bontekoning on the last stretch, finishing just over 4 seconds ahead, and nearly three minutes behind position one and two.

With glorious weather and some dust out on the trails, riders left Glencairn Farm near Underberg this morning for an 84 km outing to Mackenzie Club near Ixopo.

Joubert says they are super stoked that they executed the final sprint perfectly: “I think Matt and Tristan wanted to create a split early, but it’s so fast at the start. We sat on the front on the climbs to keep the pace steady and hard but to keep it together for a sprint finish and stay within ourselves. Tomorrow is going to be the Queen Stage, so I didn’t want to spend too much energy today. They are going to want to prove something tomorrow so we will just have to follow their wheels again, and try to do the same as today.”

Botha says that they rode a good race today, reiterating that they did not want to push too hard today: “We saved something for the sprint. There is a nice gap with third place and we know what to expect tomorrow.”

Beers says that Imbuko {Type} Dev were strong today and no one was going to get ahead, so they knew it would come down to a sprint : “This day always comes down to a few seconds. At the first single track we tried to split it up and we did a lot of work, maybe a bit too much work. Although we came leading into the sprint, whoever is behind can dictate when they want to go. Tristan and I slipped a bit on the gravel and a bit of a gap opened up, a tactical mistake on my part. The Imbuko guys rode well, and we look forward to tomorrow.”

Nortje says: “We tried to push the pace from early on to make the group as small as possible, but the day is just too fast to get a gap unless someone has a mechanical. Tomorrow is a big day, much slower, and we will see what happens.”

Pieter du Toit says the racing was hard from the beginning: “The gap started at about 10 kms, the pace was high and we dropped a little bit, so we were then sitting with Insect Science the whole race. We really had a lekker pace today and felt comfortable, and fortunately we could take the sprint.”

Bontekoning says about their fourth place: “Matt made it quite hard on the district road and carried that through to the single track, and I wasn’t quite ready to push that hard. We were also caught out a bit with positioning, and being too far back wasn’t great.

“With the high speed of the day, the Imbuko B team were able to sit on our wheel the whole day, and they were pretty fresh at the end from sitting on our wheel, so we could not get the speed to go for a gap. They were not going to roll through as they are looking after their A team, and wanted to make the time gap as big as possible.”

Team Mauritius of Alexandre Mayer and Yannick Lincoln (02:59:36) took 5th place, and

Unathi Nxumalo and Matthew Scott won the Young Guns category for Absolute Motion/Pump for Peace (02:59:41), taking 6th position overall. They were closely followed by the next Young Guns team, Trek SA’s Kai von During and Justin Chesterton (03:00:18).


Efficient Infiniti’s  Kim Le Court and Samantha Sanders (03:29:53) rode a solid race, achieving a 12 minute gap on second placed Sarah Hill and Elrika Harmzen of HH Women’s Racing (03:42:08). Le Court says they had expected to do about three and a half hours, and were a bit faster than last year.

Sanders says that riding their own pace seemed to be enough to maintain a lead and get a gap: “We worked well together and really enjoyed the trails, they are running super-fast.”

Joking that she managed not to fall off the bridge like she did last year, the pair seemed to have really enjoyed a good day out.

Hill and Harmzen were equally stoked with their performance, though Harmzen said it was tough out there: “Sarah did say this was a fast race, and now I know what she meant! I haven’t had the greatest lead-up to sani after Epic so I felt a bit of firepower was missing, but we came in second and had a blast of a day.  I am super grateful to Sarah for pushing me to be a better rider, we rode really well together.”

Hill said they had a hard start and the route was really punchy: “We missed the main bunch and fell into the same group as Danielle and Karla, so the race became a bit tactical. They are so chatty and excited to be there, and you feed off that energy.  When we got to a climb I just told Elrika we must push nine out of ten effort,  and we just smashed it, and once we broke the elastic we had to just keep on pushing as we did not know how far behind they were.”

A huge disappointment for Imbuko {Type} Dev ladies team though led to Strydom and Karla Stumpf pulling out of the race due to a stomach bug. Strydom says: “So bummed to have to pull out, especially as I was feeling so strong going into the race and at the beginning stages. Under doctor’s advice, I probably won’t be able to ride tomorrow, but I’m hoping to still do day 3 to get the sani vibe.”

This left a surprised Double Spoke team to take third place, nearly an hour after Hill and Harmzen had finished. Riding in the Veteran Women’s category, Kerry Campbell and Cheryl Robinson (04:34:10) say they were shocked to find themselves in third place amongst the women. Completing their fourth sani2c together, Robinson says: “That was an absolute shock, we did not know we were sitting third. It was really tough at the end, but that single track was just sublime.”

Bell Equipment’s Jason Davies and Hayley Smith won the mixed category stage in a time of 03:34:54, 15 minutes ahead of their nearest rivals.

Tomorrow’s early start takes riders down the iconic ‘Umko Drop’ into the Umkomaas Valley, and up the Unitrans Iconic Climb. The 92 kms of trails between Mackenzie Club and Jolivet Farm can open up opportunities for gaps between the top teams.

Watch day 2 and 3 of the racing live on Instagram stories @_sani2c  



Imbuko {Type} Dev A (Marco Joubert/Wessel Botha) 02:52:40

Toyota-Specialized (Matt Beers/Tristan Nortje) 02:52:45

The Imbuko {Type} Dev B (Pieter du Toit/Franko van Zyl) 02:55:15

Insect Science 1 (Arno du Toit/Keagan Bontekoning) 02:55:19

Team Mauritius (Alexandre Mayer/Yannick Lincoln) 02:59:36


Efficient Infiniti (Kim Le Court/Sam Sanders) 03:29:53

HH Women’s Racing (Sarah Hill/Elrika Harmzen) 03:42:08

Double Spoke (Kerry Campbell/Cheryl Robinson) 04:34:10


Bell Equipment (Jason Davies/Hayley Smith) 03:34:54

The Peanut Gallery (Steve Mee/Caitlin Mee) 03:50:21

Team Czepek (Lisa Czepek/Zane Czepek) 03:55:04


Absolute Motion/Pump for Peace (Matthew Scott/Unathi Nxumalo) 02:59:41

Trek SA (Kai von During/Justin Chesterton) 03:00:18

ACT (Thomas Hudson/Keagan Tullis) 03:03:24

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