The second annual Vodacom Hippo Hollow MTB was held amid much excitement on 2 June at Elephant Whispers in Hazyview, on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park. The race has quickly become a favourite among the cycling community, providing spectacular scenery along pristine routes and an electric atmosphere at the race village throughout the weekend.
The four cycling events – a 60km, 40km, 19km and an 8km had cyclists enthralled with the variety of terrain, from lush indigenous forests, single tracks hugging the Sabie River, forestry plantations and open veld that allowed for spectacular vistas across the area. The riders even passed through the restaurant at Hippo Hollow Country Estate, giving breakfast goers the opportunity to cheer the cyclists on.
The 60km race winners walked away with generous cash prizes sponsored by Numbi Ford. The men’s race saw Nico Bell in first place, Gawie Combrink in second and Hein Engelbrecht in third. For the ladies Samantha Saunders took top honours with Dalene van der Leek coming in second and Liezel Rosenstein third.
In the 40km race the overall winners for the men were Reinhardt Viljoen in first, Jean van der Merwe in second and Bheki Dlamini in third. In the ladies category Bernice van Wyk came first, Hijke Coetzee second and Victoria Nunan third.
The 19km winners were Richardo van der Merwe first, Marinus van den Ende second and Johan Erasmus third. For the ladies it was Sumanette Bredenkamp who came first, Leana Pieterse second and Lynn Wallace third.
In the 8km race Pieter Kritzinger took first place, Toby Smith second and Levi Langdon third. Carmen Rothman was the first lady over the finish line, followed by Esmari Weits and Tiffany Marshall third.
Summerhill Preparatory School walked away with the School’s Trophy for entering the most pupils and their energizing spirit.
Speaking after the event, race organiser Andre Visagie said that the race tracks made the event one worth travelling from afar. “Few other races give you such a diverse terrain. Cyclist spotted elephants, hippos and bokkies as they went along which made for an exciting ride. We really are privileged to be able to host an event of this kind at this venue. The exclusivity of the event meant that tracks were not crowed and cyclists could really enjoy themselves.”
Visagie emphasised the benefit of such an event on the greater community. “The whole town was buzzing, with many cyclists staying over the whole weekend. An event like this means a lot to the economy of the town and holds much potential to grow in the future and serve as a valuable cash injection to the area. We were really fortunate to have amazing sponsors on board that made this event a reality. We could not have done it without Vodacom, Numbi Ford, Elephant Whispers, Hippo Hollow Country Estate and MTO Group.”
The next Vodacom Hippo Hollow MTB is scheduled for June 2019.