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Summerplace Game Reserve successfully hosted another high-profile mountain bike event when Round 2 of the 2023 South African Enduro Series was staged on our trails network on Sunday 9 July. Most of South Africa’s best Enduro racers contested the event and were full of praise afterwards. South Africa’s leading male Enduro racer, Keira Duncan of KwaZulu-Natal, claimed the men’s overall title. He masterfully won all six stages and was highly complementary of the trails in general and the stages in particular.

“Summerplace Game Reserve stepped it up a notch from last year’s event, adding four new stages to the enduro this year. Getting to know the new stages, plus settling into the different terrain was a fun process. Arriving a few days early to practice took some of the pressure off and gave me time to really enjoy the different trails, most of which are reasonably long, loose, rocky and fast. I was in my element!” said Keira. Wade Prinsloo from North West and Danny Fowler from Gauteng completed the top three positions overall.

“Summerplace is a Bushveld gem! A beautiful mountain biking hotspot in our country… It has some proper technical enduro stages and even some mellow stuff for my mom to ride. It’s a great family mountain bike destination for sure. In the race, Stage 1 had some proper rocky tech and high speed, while Stages 3 and 4 were some proper long stages, which is what we need in our enduro community. I’m excited for next year’s Enduro at Summerplace!” said Wade.

“I really enjoy the trails at Summerplace and think they are built well with good flow and enough variety and features to keep you entertained as well as challenge all levels of skill and fitness. I prefer the longer stages as these are what real enduro is about in my opinion. The climbing made it challenging for most riders as pacing themselves meant riding uphill for longer and even walking and pushing their bikes,” said Danny.

“Stage 1 was technically challenging and required more precise line choice and speed, while Stages 3 and 4 tested concentration, upper body endurance and anaerobic fitness. This, combined with the other three fun stages ensured a stimulating, challenging and rewarding race,” added Danny.

In the women’s division, Gauteng’s Julia Kotze claimed the overall win, but was challenged by three junior racers, Amber Cole from KwaZulu-Natal and the Limpopo pair of Tashane Ehlers and Carla Jansen van Vuuren. Julia won three stages, Amber won two and Carla won the other. Amber finished just six seconds behind Julia in the overall standings, with Tashane just edging out Carla for third spot by less than one second! A fantastic contest and confirmation that the women’s division is constantly gaining depth. “It was an absolutely amazing event with proper trails for both down and up!” smiled Julia afterwards.

Some competitors arrived days before and enjoyed the warm, comfortable Summerplace accommodation as well as the Summerplace trails network as they prepared for race day. Official practice the day before the race saw Summerplace make vehicle shuttles available all day, which helped riders prepare for race day without spending too much energy. The kitchen was really busy preparing meals and the bar was constantly serving drinks from the chilly mornings until the chilly evenings. On Saturday night a Springbok victory over Australia lifted the mood of the guests and Fritz, the musician, delivered some good music for those that stayed on longer at the Bike Village.

Following the success of the event, Cycling South Africa is exploring the possibility of applying for UCI status for the 2024 edition of the Summerplace Game Reserve Enduro. There’s a very good chance it will be successful, which further confirms Summerplace as a premier mountain biking destination.

To read the detailed race report, click here.

To watch the summary video, click here.

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