Having won the Upper Highway event’s opening edition in 2012, the TIB Insurance rider went on to clinch the following two years’ titles before being upstaged by 2016 Olympian Alan Hatherly last time around in 2015.

TIB Insurance's Andrew Hill of Hillcrest hopes to challenge for a fourth STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure title in five years when he takes on this year's edition of the event on Sunday, 4 December at Summerveld Estate, Shongweni. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

The Hillcrest based athlete is looking forward to getting back onto familiar trails this weekend and challenging for the top step of the podium once more.

“I’ll definitely be at the Sharks Trail Adventure again this year and it would be really cool to win it again,” says Hill.

“It’s an event that is now well-known in the mountain biking and trail running communities and is a really nice way to kick-start the December holidays.

“There is always a great vibe there, the trails are always great and it is always a really well organised event as well.”

Much like the majority of his fellow elite racers, Hill is currently midway through his off-season programme.

Despite this though, the marathon and stage racer is looking forward to short, sharp encounter.

“Pretty much all the pros are busy doing quite a bit of gym work and putting in the occasional longer ride, but certainly nothing racing orientated at this stage.

“The Sharks Trail Adventure is short enough though, so this shouldn’t be too much of a factor, plus everyone will be in the same boat on Sunday.”

Competing in his own backyard and on trails he knows like the back of his hand is an experience Hill doesn’t get to enjoy too often but one he looks forward to annually.

“It will be great to get back out there and take on the trails of Summerveld and Shongweni again.

“I’m not quite sure who else will be there this weekend but I’m sure my local knowledge will help a lot nonetheless.”

The 2016 STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure takes place at Summverld Estate in Shongweni on Sunday, 4 December. Entries can be submitted online via www.roag.co.za and more information can be found at www.sharkstrailadventure.co.za.