The three-day expedition has assembled one of the strongest fields in years with a number of potential winners putting their hands up with strong performances in 2016 so choosing a winner of the overall title is going to be a difficult one to pick.
The defending champions, USN-Pure Fit’s Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock, have had a good start to 2016 as they rode to the African Jersey title at the ABSA Cape Epic and Lill more recently won the mixed category prize at the Old Mutual joBerg2c with Candice Neethling.
Having won the 2015 edition of the race the pair will have a target on their backs and will be marked hard by the other title contenders which include the Scott LCB Factory Racing pair of Matthys Beukes and Gert Heyns. Beukes has taken a six year break from the event but despite this he and Heyns should still prove to be a force to be reckoned with over the three days.
Another potent duo that will push all of the top pairs is the Team Telkom partnership of Johann Rabie and Hendrick Kruger. Despite having a disappointing ABSA Cape Epic the Telkom duo rectified this with a strong showing at the Old Mutual joBerg2c where they managed to finish in a strong second place overall.
Potentially the most exciting pair that put their names on the entry list, albeit at the last minute, are the current Old Mutual joBerg2c duo of Gawie Combinck and Nico Bell. The NAD Pro MTB Team combination has been in good form with an impressive joBerg2c showing and will look to continue that form over the next three days.
Despite the duo faring well over the nine-day long trip from the Highveld to the sea they will pose just as much of a threat over a shorter, sharper race.
Other mentionables going into the start of the Race on Thursday would include the Team TIB pair of Andrew Hill and Tyrone White, who finished third at the joBerg2c, the Contego-Red E crew of Adriaan Louw and Matthew Beers and Team BestMed Lapierre’s Matthew Wilkinson and David Low.
The ladies contest at the 2016 KAP sani2c is a three horse race as Candice Neethling and Vera Adrien (Dorma Time Freight) threw their names into the hat at the eleventh hour. Along with the Neethling/Adrien combo the Galileo Risk Valencia team of Samantha Sanders and Theresa Ralph will also have the top step of the podium in mind.
These two teams will be chasing the impressive Team Ascendis Health brace of Jennie Stenerhag and Robyn de Groot. Despite an early season scare for Stenerhag she has recovered and will be hoping to go better than her third place finish in 2015.
The mixed category is likely to be a one team race with the Team Garmin partnership of Yolandi du Toit and Ben-Melt Swanepoel looking to be the early favourites for the title.
KAP, who have come on board in a partnership with the sani2c in 2016, have entered three development teams into the race for 2016. Phetetso Monese, Khantsi Teboho, Malefetsane Lesofe, Tumelo Makae, Tseko Shelile and Patrick Katleho Manasi will make up the three KAP ACE Unitrans Teams taking on the three day event.
The Adventure event went off from Glencairn early on Wednesday morning following some heavy rainfall and hail overnight which meant that the riders had to keep their wits about them through some of the trickier sections of the course.
The stage was won by Nivea’s Wynand van der Berg and Philip Beukes in just over 11 hours and 40 minutes whilst the pairs of Ashley Haigh-Smith and Alistair Haigh-Smith and Leon Tobias and Stephen Bark finished second and third respectively.
Thursday sees all the action of the third and final day of the Trail unfold from Jolivet Farm to Scottburgh Main Beach, the Adventure participants head from the MacKenzie Club to Jolivet Farm while the racing snakes of the Race event start their hot paced KAP sani2c journey from Glencairn Farm in their quest for 2016 glory. More information can be found at www.sani2c.co.za.
SUMMARY OF RESULT
STAGE 1 (GLENCAIRN FARM TO MACKENZIE CLUB)
1.Wynand van den Berg/Phillip Beukes 3:46.25
2.Ashley Haigh-Smith/Alistair Haigh-Smith 3:51.03
3.Leon Tobias/Stephen Bark 3:53.01