The prestigious title of being sani2c champions might not have a clear-cut favourite in 2018 as a number of teams have the ability to take the crown should they string together three quality days of riding.

PYGA/Euro Steel's Matthys Beukes will be teaming up with young Julian Jessop for the race and the pair has already proven their quality. They stormed to victory in the Africa jersey category at the Absa Cape Epic earlier in the year, highlighting their stage racing prowess.

With two titles in a row to his name, PYGA/Euro Steel's Matthys Beukes (front) will be looking for a hat-trick of KAP sani2c wins when he pairs up with Julian Jessop for the tree day race starting on Thursday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

The recent Old Mutual joBerg2c was proof that Beukes' form has not dipped as he rode solo to first overall through the nine days of racing.

Beukes is in line for a hat-trick of sani2c titles should he win in 2018 but with over 260 kilometres between the start and the finish there are many obstacles that have in the past curtailed riders' shot at the title.

The first day of the Trail got underway on Tuesday with excited riders enjoying the perfect conditions as they rode from Glencairn to Mackenzie Club for stage one of their KAP sani2c. Em Gatland/ Gameplan Media

2017's opening stage from Glencairn Farm outside Himeville to Mackenzie Club did just that for the Team NAD pair of Gawie Combrink and Nico Bell. Combrink took a hard fall and that all but ended their chances of winning the race last year and they had to settle for fourth.

This year Team NAD will have two teams on the start line with Nico Bell lining up with last year's second-place finisher Matthew Beers while Gawie Combrink takes on the challenge with Barend Burger.

These two pairs will be a thorn in the side of the PYGA/Euro Steel pairs and it could be an interesting four-horse shoot-out for the overall honours.

The fourth team involved will be the second PYGA/Euro Steel duo of Philip Buys and Phillimon Sebona.

Another team that could cause an upset or two should things go their way is the Team TIB/Silverback pair of Andrew Hill and Shaun-nick Bester.

Bester recently paired up with Declan Sidey for the joberg2c and the pair ended third in the team race.

Hill has been a consistent top 10 finisher and in 2017 managed to finish fifth with Julian Jessop. That confidence in a top five could push him and Bester into the podium positions this year.

In the ladies division it seems that there will be only one team to watch with the dormakaba duo of Samantha Sanders and Amy McDougall looking like the odds-on favourites for the crown.

dormakaba's Samantha Sanders will once again pair up with Amy McDougall for the 2018 KAP sani2c as they both look for their first ever win at the event starting at Glencairn on Thursday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

McDougall recently raced the joBerg2c with Arno du Toit where they won the mixed category quite comfortably and with a second place to their name from 2017's sani2c they will only have eyes for the top step of the podium.

The mixed category will see the ITEC-Silverback pair of Yolande de Villiers and Brandon Stewart fight it out with the Team Garmin duo of Ben Melt Swanepoel and Yolandi du Toit.

Team Garmin's Swanepoel and Du Toit finished fourth in the mixed category at the joBerg2c and will be looking to go one better than their sani2c second that they achieved in 2016 together.

On Thursday as the Race riders set off from Glencairn on stage two, the Adventure riders will be riding their second stage from Mackenzie Club to Jolivet Farm while the Trail riders will be finishing off their 2018 KAP sani2c as they take on the final stage from Jolivet to Scottburgh.

Day one of the Trail at the KAP sani2c saw brilliant conditions as riders negotiated their way from Glencairn to Mackenzie Club on Tuesday. Kevin Sawyer/ Gameplan Media