The organisers of the Fairview Attakwas Extreme Mountain Bike Challenge has up the ante at the Holy Grail of one day mountain bike races by putting up R100 000 for a new record time of 4 hours and 30 minutes for the 121km marathon.
The Attakwas is on Saturday 17 January. The race starts at Chandelier Game Farm outside Oudtshoorn and finishes at Groot Brak.
Henco Rademeyer from Dryland (organisers) said that this record time is doable. The current record belongs to Swiss master Urs Huber (Team Bulls) who in 2014 won in 4:47. “If conditions are perfect and you have no mechanical problems it’s achievable. Three years ago we thought the five-hour mark will never be broken. Then it went from 5:06 to 4:52 and the current record is 4:47. I really believe the time will be even faster in 2014.”
Rademeyer is of the opinion that the record can be broken if a group of five riders decide to work together for the prize money. “If they work together for the final 60km on the open gravel road it’s a real possibility. The challenge will be to get a group of equal strength riders come water point 3 together. I really think then big things can happen.”
The riders are very happy to hear about the incentive for a new record time, but about how realistic that time is, is up for debate. Erik Kleinhans (Team RECM), who has been on the Attakwas-podium before and is former winner Christoph Sauser’s (Specialized) training partner said: “I don’t think 4:30 is possible to be honest. Too much can happen and I don’t see racing the same route as before in 20 minutes less.” Sauser is also skeptic about that fast a time. “I think the time can go faster than this year, but 4:30…it is going to be really tough. I think 4:40 is doable but conditions need to be good. It is going to be tough doing.”
Lourens Luus (Contego Pro MTB Team), who finished second behind Sauser in 2013, is a bit more positive. “It is possible, but the conditions need to be perfect – no wind, not too hot and not too much rain beforehand to make conditions in the kloof difficult. We will also need a breakaway early in the race to keep the tempo high and steady from the start. The racing will need to be very positive from all the riders. It’s not impossible, but it is going to be very difficult.”
Photo credits: Zoon Cronje Photography