After winning the first two rounds on very different terrain, Willie van Eck leads the 2022 Mpumalanga Enduro Series, presented by Bike Market and will go into Round 3 at White River this weekend as the firm favourite for another victory on trails he knows intimately.

Van Eck (pictured above), who races for the Organic Athlete Gravity Team, also just finished second overall at Round 2 of the Enduro SA Cup series at Karkloof in KwaZulu-Natal, confirming his good form and justifying his race favourite status for this weekend.

Round 3 of the Mpumalanga Enduro Series will take place on Saturday 18 June at MTO Trails White River. Van Eck is employed as the trails master at this venue and, as such, will have a definite advantage over any visiting racers from other provinces.

The biggest threat to Van Eck’s quest for victory is likely to come from Limpopo Junior, Tyrone Anders, who was in contention for the overall win at Round 2 last month until a mechanical ended his chances. Like Van Eck, Anders comes from a XCO racing background and his fitness is one of this strengths, especially on the longer stages.

Zandri Strydom on her way to winning at MTO White River in 2021. She will be the favourite to secure the women’s title on Saturday. | Photo: Culture Collective

From a women’s perspective, Zandri Strydom, winner of Round 1, will be the rider to beat. Essentially unbeaten in any Mpumalanga Enduro events she’s contested, Strydom hasn’t raced much this year, so will be hungry for success. Her primary competition is likely to come from Gauteng’s top female Enduro racer, Julia Kotze, winner of Round 2, but also expect overall podium contention performances from Danika Botha (Youth) and Louise Kotze (Veteran).

The MTO Lowveld trails, White River offer a stimulating blend of terrain, including rocky, rooty, hardpack and loose over hardpack. Overall, the gradients deliver generous flow with some technical sections, a good dose of jumps and berms and some pedally bits that will benefit fit riders.

The following event options are on offer:

  • Full Enduro (6 stages)
  • Lite Enduro (4 stages – ideal for newcomers)
  • Mini Enduro (5km for Sprogs and Nippers)

Rounds 4 and 5 of the 2022 Mpumalanga Enduro Series will be at established gravity trails venues, Trailworx, Nelspruit and York, Sabie respectively. Those doing the final round will be able to race the Mpumalanga Champs the following day. Round 4 doubles as the 2022 South African Enduro Championships as well as an Enduro World Series qualifying round.

Mpumalanga Enduro Series, presented by Bike Market 2022:

12 March – Tranquilitas, Waterval Boven

7 May – Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve, Lydenberg

18 June – MTO, White River

17 September – Trailworx, Nelspruit (SA Enduro Champs)

29 October – York, Sabie

30 October – Safcol, Sabie (Mpumalanga Champs)

For more information or to enter Round 3 online, click here.