The Fall And Rise Of WC Enduro

Enduro racing is alive and well in the Western Cape thanks to a small group of passionate enthusiasts.

Words & Pictures: Ewald Sadie |

After years of timing woes and a fading interest in enduro races in the Western Cape, things have been turned around thanks to the crew behind the newly-formed EWC (Enduro Western Cape) committee.

An unprecedented number of entrants have (so far) supported the 2018 season consisting of a 3-race series hosted at Hoogekraal, Contermanskloof and Jonkershoek respectively. For the first time ever, entries had to be capped (at 200), indicating a positive turnaround and signs that the sport is back on track and growing.

Enduro is the evolution of the typical mountain bike ride with friends…

Enduro is the evolution of the typical mountain bike ride with friends, just with official timing on designated technical sections (stages) and bragging rights of who is fastest on the day.

Riding buddies group together again after each stage, sharing the stoke and mishaps of the stage and ride on to the next one at a relaxed pace.

A crucial factor to the new success is due to Daniel Dobinson and Harry Millar (from iRideAfrica) addressing the timing issues from past years. They developed a totally custom, enduro-suited timing system from scratch over a period of 5 months. Everything from customising circuit boards, to writing the code to combining everything into a neat and clean package. Since accurate timing is one of the core elements of any race/event, this is an invaluable element that will hopefully redefine enduro-style events in South Africa because of its robust and easy-to-use design, which doesn’t require any GSM coverage or rocket science degree.

It’s also a welcome alternative to the usual ‘lycra required’ racing disciplines such as XC and marathon which dominates the mountain biking scene in South Africa.

The camaraderie between enduro riders stems from the fact that the enduro format allows for beginners and professionals to mingle and share experiences while actually racing.

Post-race atmosphere usually consists of banter, ice cold free beer, checking out the vendor merchandise, prize giving and a lucky draw to ad the cherry on top.

Riders also have time to take photos and rest whenever they choose while still enjoying all the exciting trails without anyone slowing them down. Experiencing new and exciting mountain biking destinations is also part of the enduro ethos and entices racers to travel and challenge their skill sets.

Uphills (liaisons) are spent catching up on news, gossip and bike technology and the short stages (usually between 1 and 2 kilometres only) are spent going as fast as you can while keeping your body and bike in one piece.

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