MTB Marathon enthusiast, Stuart Marais, who claimed is first win of 2017 when he took part in the Wartburg Classic last weekend, looks forward to what else 2017 has in store for him.

Stuart Marais is ready to take on the first cup of the season at the opening round of the 2017 KZNMTB XCO Provincial in the forests of Hilton on Saturday 18 February Photo credit: Paul Botma

Last year, Marais finished the Hilton leg of the KZNMTB XCO Series in second place in his age group, and third overall behind Elite Men’s winner, Brendon Davids and u23 Men’s winner Alan Hatherly.

“There’s going to be a fresh new change-up this year – as many u23’s from last year will be moving into the Elite category,” he said. “Also, Brendon Davids has decided to focus more on road cycling and James Reid has retired. Nobody knows what’s going to happen out there so it’s going to pretty epic,” he added.

Marais said that with Reid not in the equation, he currently stands as the third ranked South African cross-country rider in the country behind Philip Buys and Alan Hatherly, and 109th in the World, according to .

He is also a keen marathon rider, and described transitioning between the two disciplines. “The format of a lot of Marathon races this year has changed from a one-day-over-100km-race to a more split up race over two days,” he said.

“This way, the cross-country riders are abler to keep up with the marathon riders when transitioning between the two disciplines. They don’t need as much endurance as was needed in the past. The marathon riders however find it a more challenging transition to switch to the cross-country discipline,” he added.

Marais spoke of his major goals for the 2017 season, and said: “I am really hoping to go to Europe in May and take part in the Czech and German World Cups. There is also a race in Austria just before that that I would like to do as well. But 2017 SA National MTB Champs is one of my major goals – I’m hoping to do really well there and make it into the national team headed for Worlds in Australia this year.”

The race this weekend takes place in the forests from the Hilton Christian Fellowship (HCF) Church and a wide selection of meals and refreshments will be available at the venue.

Event Schedule:
7:00 – 11:30 (Registration and Late entries)
09:00 – C Batch
10:15 – B Batch
12:00 – Nipper and Sprogs
12:45 – A Batch

Temperatures are set to rise to the early thirties on Saturday, with no rain predicted – a beautiful way to spend a summer’s day in KwaZulu-Natal.

Online Pre-entries are closed, however late entries will be accepted on the day.
For any more information, contact Rebecca van der Linde on 082 896 6864 or