Buys looks like being best again at Euro Steel Drak Descent

27-28 January 2024

Buys looks like being best again at Euro Steel Drak Descent

Underberg – THE Phil Buys and Pieter du Toit combination will have a target on their back as they aim for an early-season win in the Euro Steel Drak Descent mountain bike race on Saturday and Sunday in and around the Underberg region.

Buys is the defending champion after winning in 2023 with Alex Miller, but with Du Toit this year, the new Team PYGA Euro Steel partnership should once again have too much firepower for their rivals on the scenic trails in the foothills of the Drakensberg.

Their biggest challenge is likely to come from their young teammates, Michael Foster and Jaedon Terlouw.

The younger PYGA Euro Steel team are no slouches, with Foster winning the King of the Mountains at last weekend’s Attakwas “Hell of the South” race, and the KwaZulu-Natal local was a comfortable winner in the solo event in Underberg last year.

“We are feeling quite confident for the EuroSteel Drak Descent at the weekend,” said Buys as they prepared to travel to KZN. “It is quite early in the season so usually we use the Drak as a part of our preparation for the season and will do a bit of riding before and after the stages each day.

“We’re not in bad shape, but we’re not in top shape yet, but it’s a good event and nice for us to use it like a bit of a training camp – part of our build up to the season … and it is in such a nice area.

“We did the Attakwas last week and I was ninth and Pieter was fifth. Attakwas is very early in the season so I never have a good result there. The Epic is our main focus for now and that is in late March, so for me to be in top shape now doesn’t make sense. I only really start featuring towards the end of February, but I do need to start getting some races in the legs before the real big stuff starts.

“I will be riding the Epic with Pieter and Michael is doing it with Jaedon, so we have two teams this year, so this weekend will be a bit of a test for the Epic for both teams.

“The Euro Steel Drak Descent has beautiful scenery so it is nice to have a chance to look around during the race, and the trails are also great.

“The weekend is also a good opportunity for us to spend some good time with the Euro Steel guys who sponsor us and obviously they sponsor the event. It’s always good in the beginning of the year to catch up with them and introduce all the new team members.”

A big entry will be starting Day 1 on Saturday from Restmount just outside Underberg and tackling 43km of scenic trails to the Sani Spoors MTB clubhouse at The Olde Duck just outside Underberg. The 53km second stage on Sunday sees riders take on an out-and-back route.

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