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Mountain biking is part of our DNA at Summerplace Game Reserve. How can it not be when we have world-class trails, good year-round weather and staff that live and breathe mountain biking? We also invest in our people and have established a Summerplace Mountain Bike Racing team for 2023, comprising entirely of staff members. Meet the team and find out about their goals for 2023.

There are five members of the Summerplace Mountain Bike Team. Four of them are young and very competitive. They are Lilian Baber (Lily), Ignatius du Preez (Inus), Eliz-Mari Pretorius (Liz) and Respect Ramashia. The fifth member is David Baber, who is an occasional competitor, but always-on manager of the squad.

Although the team is new, there is a lot of experience and credibility within the squad members, who are fortunate to be able to do all of their training and race-preparation on the Summerplace Game Reserve trails and roads.

For 2023, Lily and Inus are focusing on XCO racing during the first half of the year. They are competing at all the SA Cup XCO rounds as well as the XCO National Championships.

Over the past few years, Lily has been a multiple national XCO champion and is aiming to add the Junior Women’s national XCO champs title to her list of titles this year. She won Round 1 of the 2023 SA XCO Cup in Stellenbosch recently and, with the support of Summerplace, looks set for a strong showing this year.

As of end-February 2023, Lily is No. 8 on the UCI XCO Junior Women rankings. She will be racing some international events later in the year, including a couple of UCI World Cup rounds and, if selected, the World Championships in Scotland.

Inus races in the Under-23 Men’s division which competes with the Elite men. Against a strong international field at Round 1 of the 2023 XCO SA Cup in Stellenbosch earlier this month he finished a respectable 19th (14th South African).

Both Inus and Lily will compete at the 2023 SA Marathon Champs in Paarl in early March. It’s always a prestigious event and fits in well with their racing schedule for the first half of the year.

In the second half of the year, Inus and Lily will add some Enduro racing to their schedule. Lily is the current South African Junior Women’s Enduro Champion and is one of the fastest women overall in this discipline. Despite not focusing fully on this discipline yet, Inus is the current Gauteng Under-23 Men’s Enduro Champion.

Liz and Respect have committed to racing the King Price Marathon Series. With six events in four provinces, it’s not only the largest marathon series in South Africa, but also the biggest in the world!

At Round 1 in late January at Banhoek, near Stellenbosch, Liz finished a very respectable sixth overall in the women’s race and third South African. Both Liz and Respect will contest Round 2 at Buffelsdrift, Pretoria on 11 March.

“We are very proud of our mountain bike team. They are highly committed and very focused on their goals,” said Simone Baber, Summerplace Game Reserve Director. “We have had really beautiful kit made with Santini and the team members are great ambassadors for Summerplace Game Reserve wherever they are training or racing.

“By committing our riders to XCO, Enduro and Marathon races throughout the country, we are both spreading Summerplace Game Reserve awareness and supporting our talented staff members. We want every mountain biker in South Africa to come and enjoy our amazing trails and wonderful bushveld hospitality,” added Baber.

To find out more about Summerplace Game Reserve, visit the website here:

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