The EzelEnduro: Bigger and tougher

The weekend of 9th to the 11th of September 2016, saw 52 brave riders head to Ceres, to take on the 2nd edition of the brutal and challenging, invite-only, EzelEnduro.

With more than 40km of trails, 1660 meters of vertical climbing, and the addition of another stage, the event was designed to be even tougher than last year’s. Stages 5 and 6, like last year, required riders to hike-a-bike for about 1.5 hours each, before dropping into a 10 minute, arm destroying descent. Riders spent between 7 and 8 hours battling against the unforgiving Ceres terrain, with 15 DNF’s at the end of the day, and plenty of mechanicals in the mix. With riders from KZN and Joburg travelling down specifically for the event, racing was set to be tight, and in the end, Hayden Brown (PYGA) took the win over Oli Munnik by 5 seconds, with last year’s champion Matt Lombardi (GIANT) rounding off the podium in 3rd.

 

A standalone event this year (previously piggybacking on the Eselfontein Festival), riders and supporters had full access to the entire campsite and eco-huts, and were free to roam the entire farm. A post event chill-zone was setup on Saturday, treating everybody to some delicious potjiekos, with beers and energy supplied by CBC and Redbull. The after-party ensued, and the unbroken ones took things into the early hours of Sunday morning...

 

The idea behind the EzelEnduro is a simple one. Super tough riding with a small group of people looking for the same challenge. The fact that it's showing us how many people are keen on this type of riding as well as the fact that it's the youngsters that are most amped about the event gives us massive hope for the riding talent in this country. Well done to all the participants - it was an honour to meet, ride and party with you! Daniel Dobinson | iRideAfrica

 

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Friday night saw most of the riders arrive at Ezelfontein to setup camp and get the fires going. Some were better prepared than others to fight the cold...

 

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For most it was an early night as Saturday would be a tough 8 hours in the hills.

 

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Last minute bike preps and the daily caffeine fix in the early hours of Saturday morning.

 

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Frosty morning beats provided by Redbull. No sleep-ins at the party.

 

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The EzelEnduro, far from easy... and definitely a far cry from cruising on Cape Towns beaches... Thanks for a ROCKIN event! - excuse the pun... Joe Nesbitt

 

Best weekend EVER! Guy Ian McKechnie

 

Thank you Daniel! Scared the crap out of me but loved every second! Nico van Zyl

 

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What a jol it was. High 5's all round! Carlos Marquez

 

Proper mountain biking. Gina Nixon

 

I nearly bombed on stage 4, but stage 5 went really well and about 300m before the end of the stage I had a huge crash, went OTB, and had to ride the rest of the stage on a rear flat. Hayden Brown

 

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The official EzelEnduro trophy - hand crafted by Dave Mercer.

 

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Rupert trying his best to brief the eager crowd.

 

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Every stage was f*ing gnarly, but everyone tried their best and I got third on the day - so I'm happy with that. Matt Lombardi

 

I came out here very scared, I didn't know if I'd be able to ride all these trails - I rode them all and I'm so proud and so happy and I had so much fun. Craig McKune

 

I'm in charge of making the big decisions. Rupert von Tutschek

 

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Awesome timing system provided by KZN MTB - worked a charm!

 

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Rider getting ready to take on SS3.

 

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Matt Lombardi, 3rd overall.

 

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Event organizer Daniel Dobinson - 5th overall.

 

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Rika Olivier - 2nd overall in the ladies category.

 

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Gina Nixon - 1st overall in the ladies category.

 

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Winner winner chicken dinner. Hayden Brown, the king of Ezelfontein.

 

I'd like to say that I wasn't beaten by all the girls, but I was beaten by the first lady. Cliff Beckett

 

For the rest of the year, Cliff Beckett is my b***h. Dave Hartley

 

What a legendary event. Respect to the organizers, respect to the sponsors, and I beat Cliff Beckett also. Richard Dick Goldstein

 

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Keira Duncan, only 15 years old and smashing out 4th overall. The future is bright.

 

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Oli Munnik - 2nd overall.

 

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Thumbs up on liaison 5. Only about an hour's hiking left... on this stage.

 

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#lunarlandscape

 

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Today I had a great day, I beat Cliff Beckett, and I went OTB twice on the last stage. John Toastie

 

EzelEnduro 2016 - 6 extremely tough stages, specially the last 2 - It is dubbed the toughest Enduro in South Africa for a reason. Joanna Dobinson

 

Thanks for the awesome day guys. Final stage saw me hit the deck 3 times but it was worth it! Karl Kielblock

 

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Hayden Brown charging his way into top spot.

 

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Matt Lombardi showing the signs of an OTB on stage 5, with Dave Mercer apparently moving rocks out the way with his face.

 

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Joanna Dobinson - 3rd overall in the ladies category

 

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The 3 brave ladies taking on EzelEnduro 2016. Legends.

 

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Daniel, you guys did an Awesome job on the Ezelenduro, thanks! Frank Corris

 

I can't remember the last time I consumed alcohol with no regard for the consequences.... great after-party peoples! Harry Millar

 

Such an awesome weekend guys, thanks so much to the team for organising. Julian Moore

 

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Flannel for the win!

 

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The podiums from left: Danie du Toit taking the hardtail category. Overall ladies and overall men.

 

Top 10 overall:


1. Hayden Brown - 26:19
2. Oliver Munnik - 26:24
3. Matt Lombardi - 27:16
4. Keira Duncan - 28:31
5. Daniel Dobinson - 29:18
6. Hilton Frost - 29:19
7. Neil Bradford - 29:26
8. Harry Millar - 29:28
9. Rupert von Tutschek - 29:53
10. Julien Louw - 30:31

 

Download the full results here.

 

Shoutouts for making this event possible, goes to Redbull for music, shade, energy and very importantly, accurate timing. To CBC for some well deserved beer afterwards. To SRAM and WPGE for financial support and event insurance. To Deon Malherbe for providing us with this unique playground and building so many top quality trails for us to play on, and providing accommodation and motorbikes for myself and the event organizers to use during the event. To Llama bars for some amazing trail food. Lastly, to all the ladies that helped prepare the delicious potjiekos for all the starving riders Saturday afternoon.

 

See you all in 2017!

 

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All images by Ewald Sadie | instagram: @ewaldsadie | www.esphotography.co.za




49 Comments

Meezo, Sep 13 2016 09:57

mooi

Odinson, Sep 13 2016 10:06

*Casually reading thread description*

 

"invite-only"

 

*TRIGGERED*

Thermophage, Sep 13 2016 11:00

Dudes...this was soooooo unbelievably amazing...Even though I was swearing ALL of the last hike-a-bike and probably half of the first on the way up :P

V12man, Sep 13 2016 11:03

*Casually reading thread description*

 

"invite-only"

 

*TRIGGERED*

#unlike

nox1111, Sep 13 2016 11:09

Well captured Ewald!

Sad there's not a picture of me on one of the stages, lekker to have near death experiences on film, but oh well!

Found on your site, schweet!

Odinson, Sep 13 2016 11:12

#unlike

 

#unlikeunlike

rock, Sep 13 2016 11:13

on a scale from 1 to 2017 Cape Town Cycle Tour, how much was the entry fee?  :whistling:

Super_mil, Sep 13 2016 11:30

Looks like a great event on some pretty serious terrain!

Hopefully next year... 

Headshot, Sep 13 2016 11:37

Lovely pics as usual from Mr Sadie. I shall refrain from commenting on the "invite only" status because that would be like flogging a dead esel.  

Meezo, Sep 13 2016 11:38

Lovely pics as usual from Mr Sadie. I shall refrain from commenting on the "invite only" status because that would be like flogging a dead esel.  

 

so how did it go?

duringd, Sep 13 2016 11:39

looks brilliant!!

King Dean, Sep 13 2016 11:46

That looks like some good fun! :-)

Harry Millar, Sep 13 2016 12:00

on a scale from 1 to 2017 Cape Town Cycle Tour, how much was the entry fee?  :whistling:

Hi Rock, it was R850 for two night's camping, a whole-lotta-painful racing, all-you-can-eat potjie, lots of free after-party booze, bonfires, good vibes and endless positivity!

 

And at the risk of opening myself up to the trolls, FYI, the "invite only" thing is a bit of a misnomer because all anyone had to do was say "yo, can I come?" and the answer was always "yes of course!"... contrary to popular belief, there ain't no secret society and handshake! We f'd up a bit in the beginning by making the 2016 facebook page private instead of public and frustratingly facebook don't allow it to be switched back, and by the time we realised it was too late to create a new one, but next year it'll be public and then word will get out better - it's only our second event, and we live and learn! Join us next year!

Headshot, Sep 13 2016 12:04

so how did it go?

 

It was my sons 11th birthday party and I was braaing the burgers so I didn't have a chance... Looks like proper fun and what Harry Millar said is correct about the entry process.  I am looking forward to the Esels three day stage race in a months time. That is such a great spot to do any kind of riding. 

RvonT, Sep 13 2016 12:39

Hi Rock, it was R850 for two night's camping, a whole-lotta-painful racing, all-you-can-eat potjie, lots of free after-party booze, bonfires, good vibes and endless positivity!

 

And at the risk of opening myself up to the trolls, FYI, the "invite only" thing is a bit of a misnomer because all anyone had to do was say "yo, can I come?" and the answer was always "yes of course!"... contrary to popular belief, there ain't no secret society and handshake! We f'd up a bit in the beginning by making the 2016 facebook page private instead of public and frustratingly facebook don't allow it to be switched back, and by the time we realised it was too late to create a new one, but next year it'll be public and then word will get out better - it's only our second event, and we live and learn! Join us next year!

 

Actually, you gotta ask me cause I make all the big important decisions. Yup. That's what I do.

rock, Sep 13 2016 12:41

Hi Rock, it was R850 for two night's camping, a whole-lotta-painful racing, all-you-can-eat potjie, lots of free after-party booze, bonfires, good vibes and endless positivity!

 

 

as I suspected, a whole lot of good value there.

RvonT, Sep 13 2016 12:42

Great to see riders shocking themselves at their own capabilities. If we make tougher courses, riders just somehow seem to push themselves and hit the trails. Not sure what EzelEnduro will look like in 2025...!!!

Meezo, Sep 13 2016 12:54

Great to see riders shocking themselves at their own capabilities. If we make tougher courses, riders just somehow seem to push themselves and hit the trails. Not sure what EzelEnduro will look like in 2025...!!!

 

E-EzelEnduro

PhilipV, Sep 13 2016 12:56

Great to see riders shocking themselves at their own capabilities. If we make tougher courses, riders just somehow seem to push themselves and hit the trails. Not sure what EzelEnduro will look like in 2025...!!!

EzelRampage?
I for one have a "new normal" or baseline when it comes to judging a trail after the weekend.

iRide, Sep 13 2016 01:02

E-EzelEnduro

NEVER! And you can quote me on that in 2025 ;)

DoomedUser, Sep 13 2016 01:16

Wors on a braai never looked as good as this.

 

Awesome photies again!

Sarel See Monster, Sep 13 2016 02:47

Best weekend I spent riding my bike, kuiering with like-minded bike riding fools and riding my bike. Thanks guys for putting it all together.

 

PS. Keep the invite open, keep the description of the event scary (true to what it is), keep the stages gnarly and/or make them harder and, if I may, cap the amount of entries. This sort of thing will loose its majic if it goes over 60 riders. #justsaying. The weekend felt like a tightly knit family wedding. Net 'n klomp mooi mense. 

Jewbacca, Sep 13 2016 03:34

Best weekend EVER!

 

Absolute bunch of legends riding bikes and being rad.... 

 

It is hands down one of the best races I have ever been to. Very tough going on a hard tail, but we always knew it would be!

 

The most fun and laughs and radness I have had in 48 hours without drugs... But I did have Pilchards..... 

Hairy, Sep 13 2016 04:03

Hi Rock, it was R850 for two night's camping, a whole-lotta-painful racing, all-you-can-eat potjie, lots of free after-party booze, bonfires, good vibes and endless positivity!

 

And at the risk of opening myself up to the trolls, FYI, the "invite only" thing is a bit of a misnomer because all anyone had to do was say "yo, can I come?" and the answer was always "yes of course!"... contrary to popular belief, there ain't no secret society and handshake! We f'd up a bit in the beginning by making the 2016 facebook page private instead of public and frustratingly facebook don't allow it to be switched back, and by the time we realised it was too late to create a new one, but next year it'll be public and then word will get out better - it's only our second event, and we live and learn! Join us next year!

R850 with "all you can eat potjie" .... damned ... I could get my whole entry fee back in one night it I was there :P

GysMalan44, Sep 14 2016 11:23

Super keen to do this event next year.

 

Just need to get the trail bike up and running, recon i'll have more fun around the fire at night.  Looks like a great mission.  Great article and AMAZING photos @EwaldSadie