Candice Lill and Andri Frischknecht win SA’s toughest one-day marathon 

The 2023 Imbuko Big Five Mountain Bike Challenge – South Africa’s most gruelling one-day mountain bike race – was one for the books.

The men’s race was won by Andri Frischknecht of SCOTT-SRAM, who completed the course in a time of 3:54:22, beating out a strong field of local and international racers. In the women’s category, Candice Lill took home the top prize with a time of 4:46:07, finishing ahead of a talented group of riders, led by Amy Wakefield and Vera Looser.

“The top international riders definitely had something to prove against the local guys,” commented South African Macro Joubert (Imbuko {Type} DEV) after the event. Joubert finished third behind Frischknecht and Filippo Colombo (SCOTT-SRAM). According to Joubert – who was very happy with his podium finish – the racing was fast and furious from early on with the internationals pushing the pace. “There was a bit of a headwind up the first climb but even there they were pushing so hard that I thought they were either going to break records or blow up, so I just stuck to my own pace,” he said.

Joubert was in the mix all day, despite having to chase hard after the second climb, following a mechanical. Frischknecht made his break on climb three and showed his World Cup class to stay away until the finish. The young gun will race the Absa Cape Epic with the legendary Nino Schurter. Judging by the Swiss racer’s form on Saturday, the SCOTT-SRAM pairing is going to be tough to beat come March.

The Imbuko Big Five Mountain Bike Event is a one-day mountain bike race over 77km, featuring some 3000 metres of vertical gain over five major climbs. The race takes its name from the ‘Big Five’ climbs in the Hawequa mountains surrounding Wellington. This year the event attracted a host of top international riders who are in the country to train.

South African Candice Lill dominated the women’s race, leading from start to finish. She was particularly happy with how her fuelling and hydration strategy worked out over the course of the tough event. “I kept telling myself, ‘you’re feeling good now, but you have to keep eating and fuelling so that you can feel good all the way to the end’,” she said.

Elite Women Results

1st | Candice Lill | 4:46:07

2nd | Amy Wakefield | 4:55:28

3rd | Vera Looser | 4:56.42

Elite Men Results

1st | Andri Frischknecht | 3:54:22

2nd | Filippo Colombo | 3:59:37

3rd | Marco Joubert | 3:59:42

Absa Cape Epic 2023 Merchandise: Now on Pre-order

Our first Absa Cape Epic 2023 merchandise drop is here and available for pre-order. Head over to our store to check out the range of cycle wear, off the bike wear and accessories created for the flagship event in the Epic Series, the Absa Cape Epic.

These items can be purchased now and collected at the Absa Cape Epic registration. Get your order in to avoid disappointment.

Shop the collection:

cSixx // Cerakote Coming Soon

What is Cerakote?

"Cerakote is a ceramic coating for a number of surfaces, providing durable protection against abrasion, corrosion, and chemicals, while also improving the hardness and impact strength. We look forward to bringing this to our range in various colours and finishes. It's most commonly used for automotive parts, firearms and other products that require a robust and attractive finish." - Mark Hopkins

Benefits of cerakote you might ask?

  1. Corrosion Resistance: Cerakote provides a durable barrier against moisture and corrosive elements out on the bike and in the elements. Protecting the underlying metal from rust and other types of corrosion.
  2. Wear Resistance: Cerakote is highly resistant to wear and abrasion, making it ideal for applications where the coated surface will be subjected to frequent use and abuse, like your chainring.
  3. Chemical Resistance: Cerakote is also resistant to many chemicals and solvents, providing additional protection against damage from harsh environments.

Aesthetics: Cerakote products will come in a wide range of colours and finishes, allowing for customization and personalization of the coated surface. It also provides a smooth, even finish that enhances the overall appearance of the metal surface.

Overall, the benefits of Cerakote make it an excellent choice for a wide range of applications on some of our already durable products, protective coating is needed to extend the life of metal components whilst enhancing their performance and aesthetics.

For more information visit:



50 new switchbacks up Spioenkop!

Berg and Bush reveals its new Boer Route, a 50 switchback climb up the iconic Spioenkop.

We’ve spent the better part of 2023 dreaming about, developing and delivering this new singletrack trail, cutting a path through thick indigenous forest and shifting boulders to give you a fresh climbing perspective when going up Spioenkop.

The 4km route with 185m of elevation gain will feature 50 (very rideable, we promise) switchback turns and replaces the paved path you’ve come to know and love (loathe?) over the past 15 years.

We think it might be the climb with the most switchbacks in the southern hemisphere - and because no one really keeps a record of these things, we’re going to claim it as the Most Switchbackiest Climb in South Africa, at least until someone tells us otherwise.

We are thrilled with the outcome of the team’s hard work and we can’t wait for you to enjoy this incredible section of trail.

Matt Beers and Candice Lill win 2023 SA XCM Titles at Bike Fest Paarl

Matt Beers and Candice Lill proved themselves to be a class apart at the Bike Fest Paarl on Saturday, 4 March. The Toyota Specialized man won his second South African Marathon title, on the 75 kilometre long course; which started and finished at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate outside Paarl. While Lill, of Seattle Coffee Co King Price Rola, dominated the women’s race on her way to a maiden marathon distance national crown.

The event was held on a humid day, which started bright before rain set in around 11:00. The racing was hot throughout however. With Philip Buys, Marco Joubert and Beers driving the pace in the early phases of the men’s race. In the women’s, Lill was the tempo setter initially before she escaped off the front on her own.

A group of twelve favourites had established itself in the opening 25 kilometres. This elite selection contained Beers, Buys, Joubert, Wessel Botha, Tristan Nortje, Arno du Toit, Keagan Bontekoning, Gert Heyns, Michael Forster, Pieter du Toit and Jan Withaar. Imbuko {type}DEV’s Joubert then started the attacking. “Marco [Joubert] sent it down the descent to the Spice Route and I followed him, this attack caused a little gap and once it was established, I kept driving,” Beers related. “Wessel [Botha] initially bridged across and then came with me when I dropped Marco. About half way through the route I put in a dig, after a few attempts to shake him, and I got away. From there it was head down to the finish.”

“It was a fantastic race,” Beers added. “And it’s great to win the title again!”

Behind Beers, Botha faded through the second half of the course. This allowed Buys to fight his way into second. “I’m happy with what the power looked like and what I felt like,” the PYGA Euro Steel man noted. “But Matt [Beers] was just one up today. It was a well-deserved victory. I’m happy with my ride and the indications are good two-weeks out from the Absa Cape Epic.”

Tristan Nortje completed the podium places, ahead of Botha who finished fourth and the young PYGA Euro Steel rider, Michael Forster. Beers’ wining time was 3 hours, 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Buys finished 2 minutes and 43 seconds back, with Nortje a further 29 seconds in arrears.

In the women’s race Lill led from the gun. Initially Amy Wakefield and Tiffany Keep stuck with the eventual champion, while Hayley Preen was just off the back of the group after 10 kilometres of racing. The South African cross-country champion then increased the pace. The tempo she set was too fierce for the rest to follow and once Lill was on her own there was no catching her.

“I just wanted to show what I was capable of today,” Lill said. “My focus was to just ride like I know I can and then, whatever would happen would happen…” That approach paid off superbly well as she extended her lead throughout the course, once Wakefield and Co. had been distanced.

“It was such a good route!” Lill laughed. “It started raining here towards the end but luckily it was all downhill from there for me already. The rain actually made the trails nice and smooth.”

There was drama behind Lill as Wakefield struggled in the later stages. “I was told Amy [Wakefield] was 90 seconds ahead of me at the tech zone,” Hayley Preen explained. “But I caught her almost immediately and she didn’t look good.”

Preen surged through the final kilometres to finish strong, as Lill’s nearest rival. Wakefield made it back to Rhebokskloof in third, sighting illness as the reason for her travails. Lill’s winning time was 3 hours, 53 minutes and 18 seconds. Preen was 8 minutes and 10 seconds off the victor, with Wakefield at 13 minutes and 3 seconds back. Sarah Hill and Katie Lennard completed the top five standings.

Along with the elite men’s and women’s titles the sub-veteran and veteran men also raced the 75 kilometre course. Tyronne White and Craig Uria were the category victors, with the elder, Uria, actually finishing before the winning sub-veteran man. The women’s age categories, as well as the junior and masters’ men raced the 60 kilometre distance. Illiska Verwey was the only finisher in the sub-veterans women’s category, meaning she misses out on a national champions jersey. Genevieve Weber took the veteran women’s division, Cronje Beukes won the junior men’s, Angeliq Coetzer the junior women’s and Pieter Matthysen was the first of the masters’ men across the line.

The Half- and Quarter Marathon events in the 2023 South African Marathon Championships were cancelled on Sunday morning in the interests of rider safety. Heavy rainfall overnight with more rain predicted to fall during the day on Sunday, along with dense fog led the medical team to determine that it was unsafe to continue.

Exxaro Women’s Jersey breaks new ground for black female

mountain bikers

The rise of black riders from previously disadvantaged backgrounds is being celebrated with an exciting new initiative at the 2023 Absa Cape Epic

Ten years ago, Rozalia Kubwana became the first previously disadvantaged black South African woman to complete the Absa Cape Epic, the world’s most famous mountain bike stage race.

A year later in 2014, she made history again by being part of the first black South African women’s team from a less fortunate background to finish the race. Her partnership with Shalotte Mojela proved to be a watershed moment, despite finishing 19 hours off the winners that year.

What they proved was that it was possible for young black South African women to rise above their circumstances to conquer one of the world’s toughest sporting events. In the years since, a host of other black women have followed the trail blazed by Kubwana and Mojela in the Absa Cape Epic.

The likes of Refilwe Mogorosi, who has completed two Cape Epics, and Remofilwe Moeketsi, a two-time finisher, now return each year determined to stamp their authority on the race. The huge strides made by these women has not been lost on anyone, and for the first time this year’s Absa Cape Epic – taking place from 19 to 26 March – will include the Exxaro Women’s Jersey to motivate more black women to take part in mountain biking.

While the jersey, first introduced in 2012, has never been specific to any gender, it has usually been contested by men’s teams. In nine editions, a total of 37 Exxaro Jersey teams have reached the final stage finish line in the top 100, with nine of those in the top 50.

Since its inception, the Exxaro Jersey has given more than 100 young, black and historically disadvantaged South African riders a goal to aim for.

In addition to offering a jersey, which comes with prizes and increased media exposure, the Absa Cape Epic essentially created a platform for a number of South African corporates to support the development of mountain biking. Yet more needed to be done for disadvantaged black South African females under the age of 26, an age group that makes up a large part of the country’s population.

The Absa Cape Epic recognised that competing in an expensive sport and entering the world’s most high-profile stage race are a world away for most, but this needed to change.

“We have seen an increase in the number of women riders and a greater awareness in women's cycling in general and so it was a natural progression to introduce an Exxaro Jersey for women – thereby encouraging and motivating more historically disadvantaged South African women to get involved in the event,” says Marc Erasmus, Absa Cape Epic Partnership Manager.

Curro Holdings, the largest private school group in South Africa, has not hesitated in matching the main prize for the new Exxaro Women’s Jersey winners to that of the Exxaro Jersey men’s main prize – two 12-year scholarships to children of the winners’ choice.

In addition, Stadio has also offered the winners of the Exxaro Women’s Jersey access to a bursary for one of 20 distance Higher Education qualifications.

For Mogorosi, the initiative is the icing on the cake.

“This is something I have always wished we had. Most important to me are the prizes that can change someone’s life with a better education,” she says.

“I believe that with this new Exxaro Jersey, other teams or academies will actively recruit more girls and help train them to compete for this prize.

Moeketsi is equally excited.

“I recall when I did my first Absa Cape Epic, I was asked what I wanted to see in the future and I said an Exxaro Jersey for females because we are physiologically inferior to the males.

“This new jersey will definitely be a motivation. When you see someone that looks like you excelling and standing on a podium, it encourages you and allows you to dream the possible, not just the impossible.”

Dr. Evil Classic three-day stage race welcomes Food Lover’s Market renewal of their official Food and Drinks Partnership in 2023

This announcement has been welcomed by the Garden Route cycling community as the Dr. Evil Classic celebrates eleven years of riding on the spectacular trails that Plettenberg Bay has to offer.

Food Lover’s Market is a perfect match for the health-conscious person who typically participates in this three-day stage race held over the Heritage long weekend each year. “This partnership will allow the race village experience to be elevated to new heights in 2023. We want people to sit down and enjoy a delicious meal together and relax after a morning of experiencing the beauty of the Plett mountain bike trails” said event co-owner Evans.

Food Lover’s Market will provide participants with delicious and nutritious meals after every stage. The event team is also working on some surprise activations on the route in partnership with Food Lover’s to spoil the riders to the maximum this year. Food Lover’s Market will also partner on the events’ eight water points – providing all snacks and drinks for the points that are traditionally managed by charities from the area.

Expect breathtaking sea views and world class single track in 2023.

More Reasons to be Cheerful

  • Beautiful and VARIED trails showcasing the best Plettenberg Bay has to offer.
  • NEW Stage One Point to Point Route adding some spice and adventure.
  • Stunning Stage Two and Three start and finish and breathtaking routes at Cairnbrogie.
  • Limited Entries Available – we sold out in 2022 – so enter early to avoid disappointment and enjoy this boutique event.
  • NEW Separate Start for E Bike Category with Prizes.
  • Great Goody Bags and Gourmet Meals.
  • Live Entertainment and Free Jakkalsvlei Wine Tasting.
  • Access to Private land only open to riders over the event.
  • Full Medical and Comms Support.
  • Both Entry level and Experienced Riders Loved the 2022 edition.

The event is in its eleventh year and the feedback and return rate of riders indicates that there is something extremely unique that this stage race has to offer. There are beautiful race villages carefully selected and based on an out and back format. This eases the logistics for riders but also allows them to see vastly different routes daily.

Riders find their own accommodation and as the event takes place at the tail end of Winter, there are many great deals for rider accommodation. Please see for the suggested accommodation partners.

The Dr Evil Classic is a boutique event that only takes 350 riders. The entry fee is extremely competitive and for more info on group bookings and other discounted entries, please go to or contact directly.

More info about Food Lover’s Market: