Western Cape racers Matt Lombardi and Frankie du Toit are the 2023 Elite men and women’s South African Enduro Champions. They conquered a world-class course and strong competition at Town Bush Trails, Pietermaritzburg to secure the big titles in what is becoming an increasingly popular mountain bike racing discipline.

Words: Sean Badenhorst | Images: Chris Taylor

The fifth edition of the South African Enduro Championships, presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles, will be remembered for big climbs, varied, engaging stages, what-if-it-rains anxiety, a strong Elite men’s field and plenty of you fresh, young talent. It was also confirmation that Enduro is growing and that KZN Gravity are excellent major event hosts.

Jason Boulle

Five well thought-out stages on the big slope ensured solid racing time for both the fastest Elites and the committed Age-groupers. Although his 16 minutes 45 seconds was the fastest on the day, local star, Keira Duncan, was given a time penalty for replacing a damaged wheel which he received from a fellow competitor. The collective empathy for Duncan from rivals and other competitors confirmed that the Spirit of Gravity, which is so evident in Downhill racing, is as strong in Enduro.

Johann Potgieter

Western Cape’s Matt Lombardi (introduction image), the 2019 South African champion, secured his second title with an overall time of 17 minutes 02 seconds. The winner of the 2023 Trans Maderia Enduro just a few weeks ago, has found a superb sweet spot in Enduro, combining his XC and Downhill racing experience. The Hellsend Bike Shop ambassador piloted his Trek Slash to first place on all five stages to secure a solid 15-second winning margin.

Omar Wilson



Another Western Cape racer, Jason Boulle, put together five solid stages to secure the silver medal in 17:07 with two time defending champion, Johann Potgieter, also from the Western Cape, rounding out the podium with a total time of 17:20. The only other riders to go sub-18 were fourth-placed Junior, Omar Wilson (17:40) and fifth-placed Connor Finnis (17:43), both from KwaZulu-Natal.

“Of course I am stoked to be pull it off, it’s something I had my eyes on for the season. I knew it wasn’t going to come easy, and would take a big effort to stay consistently fast and get the rig to the finish line. So I’m proud that I could make that happen,” said an elated Lombardi afterwards.

Connor Finnis


“I must recognise how fast Keira (Duncan) was riding though. He showed that he’s certainly the rider to beat at the moment after an impressive Euro season. Unfortunately, a broken wheel and a wheel change cost him a hefty penalty,” added Lombardi.

“I was expecting a good course, and they delivered. Lots of variety and something to test everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. I think the general consensus was that we all had a lot of fun riding and racing these trails. Town Bush Trails is  potentially world class enduro venue,” said Lombardi, who has competed at a wide range of international Enduro events in Europe over the past few years.

Keira Duncan

In terms of how his stages played out, Lombardi was content with his consistency:

“Yeah I was actually happy with my riding all day, within the limits, pretty clean and not really any major mistakes. I’ve been going with an ‘average speed’ approach to racing the stages instead of charging and making mistakes. Seems to have paid off this time,” he said.

When asked about the depth of the competition, Lombardi was genuinely impressed.

“The standard was unsurprisingly strong. I knew this was going to be a fiercely contested title. Lots of behind the scenes work from a few of the lads that showed up for race day. The youngsters are coming, the Vets are still rapid, and the depth in the Elites is growing. Racing is tight and only getting tighter,” he smiled.

Frankie du Toit

“A massive thanks to the organisers and trail-builders. This was a fantastic event, and a venue that I always love coming back to since the XCO days and watching Greg in 2012 and 2013. Enduro is growing and becoming a popular discipline in the MTB world. I don’t think I’ve met someone who doesn’t want to do another one after their first. Nice to see a whack of XC kids and DHers finding a way to mix it up with eachother. Let’s hope for more in 2024!” concluded Lombardi.

While the depth was impressive in the men’s field, it was lacking in the women’s division. But this isn’t specific to Enduro and if anything, this is one discipline that’s seen good growth in female participation over the past year. The high-risk nature of Enduro makes it intimidating and while there weren’t big numbers in any specific category, there was a good number of courageous females collectively across the divisions.

Julia Kotze

Former national champion, Frankie du Toit of the Western Cape lived up to her pre-race favourite tag, winning four of the stages and clocking a total time of 19:40. Second overall was rising Youth star, Arielle Behr from Gauteng, who won a stage and finished second on two others for a total time of 20:21. Julia Kotze, an Elite category racer from Gauteng, secured the bronze medal in a time of 20:56.

Amber Cole

“It feels really good to win. Unfortunately there was no depth in the Elite women’s field, so there wasn’t too much competition, which is disappointing. But I would love to see that grow in the future. I’m really happy to have won the title and do the Downhill/Enduro Double again,” said Du Toit.

“For the most part I had good runs. I made a couple of mistakes, like missing lines that maybe could have helped me go a bit faster. But it’s Enduro and nobody ever has perfect runs in all stages.

“I loved the course! It was a really good mix of really fast, open, challenging, tight, techy, a little bit of pedalling and a little bit of everything. I think the organisers did a really good job putting something together to challenge every rider. I think Town Bush Trails has the potential to host an Enduro World Cup in the near future. I’d love to see the Enduro trails there developed more,” she remarked.

Competition was fierce throughout the various categories. You don’t arrive at a national champs to ‘see how it goes’… Everyone was fully committed to racing their best and that produced a day of top-class racing in (thankfully) dry conditions. KZN Gravity did a great job in creating a course suitable for a national showpiece – appropriate for a discipline that’s really gaining momentum and set for an even bigger 2024.

Leading results



1 Matt Lombardi (Elite) 17 min 02 sec

2 Jason Boulle (Elite) 17:17

3 Johann Potgieter (Elite) 17:20

4 Omar Wilson (Junior) 17:40

5 Connor Finnis (Elite) 17:43

6 Michard Meets (Elite) 18:08

7 Luke Dinkel (Elite) 18:09

8 Zander du Plessis (Youth) 18:18

9 Willie van Eck (Elite) 18:19

10 Gabriel Burns (Youth) 18:33


1 Matt Lombardi 17 min 02 sec

2 Jason Boulle17:17

3 Johann Potgieter 17:20


1 Omar Wilson 17:40

2 Luke Kirk 19:19

3 Divan van Straaten 19:24


1 Zander du Plessis 18:18

2 Gabriel Burns 18:33

3 Luca Zietsman 18:37

Zander du Plessis


1 Troy Cole 18:37

2 Daniel Uys 18:54

3 Michael Kanis 19:17

Troy Cole


1 Brandon Waugh 18:44

2 Andre Pretorius 19:16

3 Dustin Rudman 20:07

Brandon Waugh


1 Danny Fowler 19:14

2 Oliver Jones 19:53

3 Ian Perry 20:30

Danny Fowler


1 Sean O’Flynn-Madden

2 James Morland 20:47

3 Chris Hembold 22:05

Sean O’Flynn Madden



1 Frankie du Toit (Elite) 19:46

2 Arielle Behr (Youth) 20:21

3 Julia Kotze (Elite)20:56

4 Amber Cole (Junior) 21:51

5 Danika Botha (Junior) 21:59

6 Tashane Ehlers (Junior) 22:29

7 Melody French (Veteran) 23:06

8 Louise Kotze (Veteran) 21:31

9 Miroda Otto (Veteran) 23:54

10 Philippa Spies (Sub-veteran) 24:09


1 Frankie du Toit 19:46

2 Julia Kotze 20:56


1 Amber Cole 21:51

2 Danika Botha 21:59

3 Tashane Ehlers 22:29


1 Arielle Behr 20:21

2 Jodi Mackinnon 24:17

3 Robyn Chapman 26:38


1 Philippa Spies 24:09

2 Jade Davies 25:02

3 Kerstin Muttukat 29:40


1 Melody French 23:06

2 Louise Kotze 21:31

3 Miroda Otto 23:54


1 Karen Fortune 26:17

2 Fiona Williams 31:38

3 Corne Ackermann 35:50

Karen Fortune

Fastest Stages

Stage 1


1 Matt Lombardi 3:01

1 Connor Finnis 3:01

3 Johann Potgieter 3:04


1 Frankie du Toit 3:26

2 Arielle Behr 3:34

3 Julia Kotze 3:43

Stage 2


1 Matt Lombardi 3:31

2 Johann Potgieter 3:33

3 Jason Boulle 3:34


1 Frankie du Toit 4:03

2 Arielle Behr 4:09

3 Julia Kotze 4:30

Stage 3


1 Matt Lombardi 4:17

2 Johann Potgieter 4:18

3 Jason Boulle 4:20


1 Arielle Behr 5:02

2 Frankie du Toit 5:04

3 Julia Kotze 5:17

Stage 4


1 Matt Lombardi 3:46

2 Jason Boulle 3:48

3 Omar Wilson 3:52


1 Frankie du Toit 4:16

2 Julia Kotze 4:30

3 Arielle Behr 4:31

Stage 5


1 Matt Lombardi 2:27

2 Jason Boulle 2:29

2 Johann Potgieter 2:29


1 Frankie du Toit 2:51

2 Julia Kotze 2:56

3 Arielle Behr 3:05

The Sprogs, Nippers and Sport Class contest the Enduro Lite, which comprised three stages. Here are the medallists in each category:



1 Ethan Duvenage 10:42

2 Luc Riley Rossouw 10:59

3 William Nelson 11:01


1 Joshua Ooosthuysen 12:13

2 Conna Tozer 14:10

3 Benjamin Holl 16:02



1 Leah Mitchell 12:57

2 Georgia Floros 14:06

3 Nikita Wilson 15:40

Full results can be downloaded from here.

There are several galleries of images on the KZN Gravity Facebook page.