Du Toit’s victory at the event last year came as her first ever 60km title and the young Kargo Pro Cycling Team athlete is excited by the opportunity this year’s event presents.

Kargo Pro Cycling Team's Frankie du Toit is out to defend her 60km Illovo Eston Marathon title at the feature race of the 2016 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge which takes place at the Eston Farmers' Club on Sunday 7 August. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

“My win at Eston last year was a historic one for me and it would be incredible if I was able to replicate that again this year and defend my title,” says Du Toit.

The teenage cycling sensation, who clinched almost every national title available to her as a junior racer last year, has been a strong mountain biking presence in 2016 and will bring good confidence into this year’s Eston clash after a podium finish at the Die Burger MTB Challenge last weekend.

"I've been wrapping up the cross country season over the last couple of months and now I’m just getting into marathons for the rest of the year.

“I was in the Cape for a week and so decided to do the Die Burger MTB Challenge, which was nice to experience something a little different and ended up going really well with me finishing third.

“The focus now turns to Eston and the remainder of the ROAG Series before I take on a couple of stage races later on in the year.

“Winning the ROAG Series title is also a goal for me for the remainder of the year and so Eston will be an important part of that process.”

Having raced to victory in 2015, young Du Toit knows the Eston route well and believes her technical ability from her cross country experience may prove pivotal.

“All of KZN’s girls are really strong at the moment so I’m sure it’s going to be another good, hard race this weekend.

“Fortunately I’ve done quite a few races in the area before, so I know the area well.

“Eston is always such a stunning route with a couple of tough climbs and some great single track, through which I’m to be make my cross country skills count,” says Du Toit.

Du Toit’s fellow Kargo Pro Cycling Team rider, Hayley Smith will also be on this year’s 60km Illovo Eston Marathon start line while it remains to be seen if regular KZN race winner, Jeannie Dreyer (Merchants) will be on the start line after suffering an ankle injury a few months ago.

The 2016 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge takes place on Sunday, 7 August. Entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za and more information can be found at www.illovoestonmtb.co.za.