Robert Hobson (Flandria Cycles) won the 18th Buco Lions Karoo to Coast Mountain Bike Challenge in emphatic style after making a solo break with about 40kms to go. It was the 19-year-old from Stellensbosch’s first attempt at the 95.95km event and he was ecstatic with the result. “Yes, very happy indeed!” He commented at the finish. “I came with good form and hopes of a win, but didn’t really know who would be here so wasn’t too sure what to expect,” he said.

At the front end of the 4700 capacity field, the racing started in earnest right from the gun, as is the norm with this event. Conditions for the race, which has some 1521m ascent and 2244m descent were perfect, with overcast skies and cooler temperatures than initially forecast. More importantly, the wind stayed away.

At the top of the first climb out of Uniondale, a group of eight riders and had formed. “Myself and Matthew Keyser managed to get a bit of a gap on the rest on the first downhill,” Hobson explains. The two stayed away for a few kilometres but the group came back together again on a long flat section.

Robert Hobson solos his way to victory at the 18th Buco Lions Karoo to Coast Mountain Bike Challenge.
Photo: Ewald Sadie


According to Hobson, the six-strong group rode together until about 45 kilometres to go when he managed to get a gap. “I broke away kind of by chance,” he says, “and then on the next climb managed to extend the gap.”

Hobson put in a huge solo effort over the back half of the course and managed to stay away to claim the win in 03:17:19.

Jeanie de Villiers, who finished second in 2016 went one better in the women’s category to win in a time of 03:59:50. “I expected to suffer and I got that,” said the visibly ecstatic 36-year-old at the finish. “I’m so happy to have so many people on my side and the way it played out – a very special thanks goes out to my coach John Wakefield,” she said.

The Buco Lions Karoo to Coast Mountain Bike Challenge is an off road race from Uniondale to Knysna via the Prince Alfred’s Pass. The route is scenic, challenging and riders are encouraged to train sufficiently for this event in order to maximise the enjoyment of the experience. The race is also an Official Premier Seeding Event of the 2018 Cape Town Cycle Tour.

For more information and to enter, visit


  1. Robert Hobson 03:17:19
    2. Charles McFall 03:21:52
    3. Matthew Keyser 03:23:35


  1. Jeanie de Villiers 03:59:50
    2. Nicola Giliomee 04:07:13
    3. Tina Brenzel 04:19:33


Source: Jazz Kuschke