The world has been facing a virus-shaped curve ball for the past 18 months, but the world-class organisation, legendary route and unmatched vibe of sani2 have not only endured through the past 18 months, but have been inspired to add more!  Fifteen years after the first sani2c non-stop was held, the organisers are excited to introduce a modern sani2c nonstop in 2022.

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Enjoy all the famous sani2c features, including the Umkomaas Valley on the sani2c nonstop | Photo: Kelvin Trautman

The sani2c nonstop is a three-rider team ultra-marathon over 250km that starts at the base of Sani Pass in the Southern Drakensburg and finishes on Scottburgh Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. It follows almost the entire sani2c stage race route and includes all the favourite route features. There is a 24-hour time limit – from midnight to midnight.

Created by the Haw family, passionate mountain bikers who actively compete in endurance events themselves, the re-introduction of the sani2c nonstop is something that the founder of the highly successful sani2c stage race, Glen Haw, has been contemplating for a while.

There will be a high volume of singletrack, making the sani2c nonstop a true mountain biking ultra-endurance test! | Photo: Anthony Grote

“The nonstop was almost ahead of its time. The standard of riding and mountain biking in general has improved so much since then – the riders and the bikes – and now riders are looking for bigger challenges. With our route and logistics and facilities for the three-day sani2c just about perfected, we can now put a focus on bringing back the nonstop,” says Glen.

This event is for true adventurers who will enjoy the challenge of riding and navigating their way from the southern Drakensberg and over sections of the iconic sani2c route to the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. One of the key elements of the sani2c nonstop is its format, where each team comprises three riders and a vehicle with support crew (it is recommended that you have at least one driver and one other support crew member).

Team work will be essential as you test your ultra-endurance ability to beat the 24-hour cut-off at the sani2c nonstop | Photo: Kelvin Trautman

Glen says the team aspect and the need for a support crew is really what the sani2c nonstop is all about: “Seconding has been a big part of our family’s lifestyle. This comes from the love of events like Dusi Canoe Marathon, where you are super reliant on your seconding crew. With nonstop, the seconds are an essential part of the team – if your second gets lost or falls asleep or doesn’t get to a certain point, you’re in trouble. The support crew will register, get their kit and their own briefing, and best of all they have to cross the finish line together with their team.”

Dave Thomas did the sani2c nonstop in 2007, and agrees that the support crew is essential: “Knowing your support seconds were waiting for you at the next pre-arranged stop with food and refreshment broke the huge distance to be covered into manageable hops.”

The event is GPS marked and will test the orientation skills of every rider. Teams must check in and out at all checkpoints, which will be strategically placed on the route. This will ensure everyone’s whereabouts can be traced.

Follow most of the iconic sani2c stage race route on the 250km sani2c nonstop | Photo: Kelvin Trautman

Gavin Rossouw did the sani2c nonstop in 2009, and says: “Glen has come up with an interesting format for the race. You start at midnight when it’s cold and ride while it gets colder. Then, as fatigue is setting in, you get sunrise and all is right with the world.”

The route for the 2022 nonstop will be significantly different from the early days, as the sani2c route has developed over time to include a much higher proportion of singletrack.

Says Glen: “We are riding most weekends covering sections of the route to perfect it, and while almost all the sani2c highlights will be part of the route (the floating bridges from Day 1, the Umko Drop from Day 2 as examples), there are sections where we are using the most direct route possible to make this doable in 24 hours, and this is most often via singletrack. It will be tough, but we want to make sure that most of the teams are able to finish in that 24 hour cut-off.

Finish the 2022 sani2c nonstop at Scottburgh Beach | Photo: Kelvin Trautman

“We expect the front-runners to do the new nonstop in about 12 hours, and many teams will ride from dark-to-dark for the midnight cut-off on Scottburgh Beach.”

Roy Cackett remembers doing sani2c nonstop back in 2007 and 2008: “250kms definitely makes sani2c nonstop an ultra-distance event, but it’s not designed to be a super-hard festival of pain and suffering. It’s a one-day event with a distance that is certainly achievable. I’m definitely thinking of doing it again.

“Previously we used route cards for navigation, and I seem to recall there were some route markings. We started at midnight, so there was about six hours of riding and navigating in the dark with bike lights that weren’t that great. Today’s GPS devices and potent LED lights will certainly make the night-time section a far more relaxing experience,” says Roy.

Paul Hunter, who did the 2009 sani2c nonstop, had this to say at the time: “This was an amazing race…our team really enjoyed it. It is just something so different. Riding at night, long distances, and trying to navigate at the same time. I can highly recommend it to all.”

The Haw family looks forward to the challenge of providing another superb mountain biking experience: “This is going to be truly different – we are making sure the route is a winner and look forward to the camaraderie and teamwork that it takes to do an event like nonstop. Join us,” says Glen.

There are categories that allow for e-bike participation. For more information and to enter sani2c nonstop, head over here.

Check out the sani2c nonstop promotional video.

Source: Maryann Shaw Communications

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