FNB W2W Switchback

Serious GEES 


2023 FNB W2W Switchback Entries are Open

Over the past 13 years, the FNB Wines2Whales has delivered events that surprise and delight and that challenge and reward, and in so doing has cemented itself in the MTB race calendar as the on-bike celebration of the year. In fact, it was voted as the best short stage race in South Africa in Tread’s recent survey.

In 2021, after years of racing from Lourensford Wine Estate to Oak Valley Estate and on to Hermanus, we switched things up and introduced the Switchback edition – a complete reimagination of the route that had carved its way into the hearts and memories of thousands of mountain bikers. Instead of racing the traditional vineyards to coast route, the route was flipped, and teams raced from Curro, Hermanus to Oak Valley Estate before finishing in Lourensford Wine Estate. New trails, new experiences, new challenges, and new memories. Even a few lessons.

In 2023, we’ve got the Switchback route dialled, thanks to the unwavering commitment to GEES from JK and the Cape Trails team.

“We’ve learned a few route lessons from the inaugural FNB W2W Switchback in 2021.” Said Johan Kriegler, FNB Wines2Whales Founder (JK as you’ll likely know him). “The 2023 Switchback edition’s route experience will be even better, with less climbing and more new and scenic contour trails. And Play Day is going to be next level! We look forward to welcoming you again in October to serve another unique and magic MTB experience”.

The 2023 FNB Wines2Whales Switchback follows predominantly the same route as that of 2021 and teams can expect all the usual suspects in terms of trails; however, as JK mentioned, there will be more than a fair share of new singles, more twists and turns, and improved features as teams race from Curro, Hermanus to Oak Valley Estate and onwards to Lourensford.


We asked Johan for any insight into this year’s route: “There were four hectic climbs in the 2021 FNB W2W Switchback. On Stage 1 going up the historic Houwhoek Pass and in Paul Cluver to Oak Valley. On Stage 3 the climb from Journeys End to Vergelegen and lastly and the long Lourensford climb before the finish. We’re working on these “knakers”; new and magic routes have replaced the Paul Cluver and Lourensford “knakers” and I’m looking at alternatives to the climb up to Vergelegen and the start of the Houwhoek climb will be smoother. Walking down the Gantouw portage, instead of slogging up, is a huge Switchback advantage.” replied JK. “Gees” shouldn’t be confused with “easy”, W2W’s still offers a good challenge for which you need to be prepared. You will soon find out the JK’s routes will always have one or two stings in the t(r)ail!

Teams are presented with several options in terms of entry packages and race dates and are encouraged to enter the event that best suits their calendars and ambitions.

The first event in the FNB Wines2Whales Switchback is the Chardonnay (20-22 October). The Chardonnay is the first of the three FNB Wines2Whales events and focuses on the women of mountain biking as the Pro racers and age group contenders are celebrated. Each year we see many of South Africa's, and often the world's, best female riders battle it out for the overall prize money and leader jerseys. The Chardonnay event is also open to men's and mixed teams who are eager to experience the trails early in the FNB W2W Switchback race period.

The midweek Pinotage then follows (23-25 October). With the reputation of being the most laid back and relaxed of the three events, The Pinotage sees the highest number of FNB Wines2Whales first-timers. The Pinotage also hosts the eager E-Bikers and teams have the choice to enter either the E-Bike Open categories, where they start an hour ahead of A Batch and race for Ciovita leader jerseys, or the E-Bike Tour which sets off an hour after the last batch. Being a mid-week race, the Pinotage is perfect for international tourists and riders from different provinces as it offers the chance to participate in the event and plan an enjoyable weekend on either side.

Finally, the Shiraz concludes the series of FNB W2W events (27-29 October), taking place over the last weekend of the race and has the reputation of taking up the pace a notch or two. While the Chardonnay celebrates the Women's racing category, the Shiraz celebrates Men's, Mixed and Exxaro teams racing categories in addition to honouring the determination of the rest of the field as they compete in their respective age categories.


Entries to the 2023 FNB Wines2Whales Switchback start at R12 975 per team for a Ride Only package and top out at R25 450 per team for the Single Luxury Tent package in Tier 1 pricing. The Standard Entry package is R17 300 per team and includes:

  • Single tent per rider (including mattress)
  • A 3-day stage mountain biking experience with fully stocked waterpoints on route
  • Ciovita Rider Jersey
  • W2W event gift
  • W2W finisher medal
  • Access to all race village services
  • 7 Meals over the course of the event
    • Stage 1: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Stage 2: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Stage 3: Breakfast and post stage recovery snack
  • Enough war stories to tide you over until next year’s FNB Wines2Whales.

To secure your 2023 dose of #SeriousGEES, get your FNB Wines2Whales Switchback entry here: https://www.epic-series.com/wines2whales-riders-entries