Drak Descent ready to kick-start KZN’s 2023 MTB calendar

27-28 January 2024

Drak Descent ready to kick-start KZN’s 2023 MTB calendar

After the relaxation of the December holidays, the year’s mountain biking action kicks into gear with the Euro Steel Drak Descent getting underway in the Southern Drakensberg this Saturday.

The two-day mountain biking event has become a staple for the off-road community in KwaZulu-Natal and with some exclusive access to trails in and around Underberg town the appeal of the event is enticing.

Riders have the option of taking on the full Euro Steel Drak Descent or they can challenge themselves on the shorter Euro Steel Drak Descent MTB Challenge. Despite being the shorter option, the MTB Challenge it is still an exciting option for riders that might not have put in their hard yards in training over the festive season.

The full Drak Descent includes a 44km first stage from Restmount on the Drak Gardens road to the Swartberg Road Bridge, while the second and final stage is a 50km ride from the Thukeyane Farm School outside the Olde Duck to the finish at Early Mist Farm.

The shorter MTB Challenge starts and finishes at the same venue as its longer brother on the first day, however, on day two it will start and finish at the Thukeyane Farm School. The MTB Challenge covers 25km on stage one and then 20km on stage two.

Over the years the race has become an important early season hit-out for the PYGA Euro Steel team and this year they will be back for the weekend that doubles up as an important pre-Absa Cape Epic tune-up and a crucial sponsorship engagement.

Having joined the PYGA Euro Steel team in 2022 as one of their young riders, 2022 champion at the Drak Descent Michael Foster will be back to try and defend his title.

The victory twelve months ago played an important role in getting Foster onto his first professional MTB team, and this year the young rider from nearby Ixopo will be hoping to repay their faith and make use of his intimate knowledge of the routes.

Foster will be riding in the individual race with the rest of the PYGA Euro Steel team taking part in the two-man team race.

The PYGA Euro Steel team has entered two teams into the race with their experienced ace and current SA Champion Philip Buys teaming up with exciting new team member, reigning Namibian champion Alex Miller. Miller comes into this weekend’s racing on the back of an impressive second position after a sprint finish at the Attakwas Extreme a week ago.

The second PYGA Euro Steel team is made up of Wian van den Bergh and Pressmore Musundi.

Amongst the challengers for the team title this year will be the DriveTrain squad from Ballito. Tyronne White will be bringing a strong contingent from his North Coast training academy and he teams up with talented Josh Johnson as a he looks to introduce the youngster into the stage racing fraternity.

The Tipping Point/Brink Academy team of David Low and Keegan Tullis will also be on the start line hoping to produce a strong display over the two days.
Durban North’s Hayley Smith will be back to race the Drak Descent again this year after finishing as the first mixed team in 2022 with partner and now fiancé Dale Allen. However, this year the Bell Equipment star will be racing as an individual and is strongly favoured to take the overall women’s title.

START TIMES:
DAY 1
Drak Descent – 8:00am
MTB Challenge – 9:30am

DAY 2
All start at 7:30am

START/FINISH VENUES
DAY 1
Drak Descent and Challenge MTB – Start @ Restmount
Drak Descent and Challenge MTB – Finish @ Swartberg Bridge

DAY 2
Drak Descent and Challenge MTB – Start @ Thukeyane Farm School
Drak Descent – Finish @ Umzimkulu River Lodge
Challenge MTB – Finish @ Thukeyane Farm School

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