Wet and cold conditions have prevailed throughout the week leading up to the event, and the host province is hoping that the rain stays at bay for the weekend’s events.

South Africa’s top cross-country (XCO) and downhill (DHI) stars are expected to compete in a bid to accumulate UCI points – the XCO carries a UCI Category 1 rating for the Elite men and women, while the DHI carries a UCI Category 2 rating for the Elite men.

Registration takes place at GM Cycles, at 439 Townbush Road, Montrose, Pietermaritburg, which is nearby to the Cascades MTB Park. Click here for directions

Late entries will be accepted at registration, with a nominal charge of R50 in addition to the entry fee.

Course designer Nick Floros explains the XCO course: “The course has changed over the last couple of weeks. We’ve used the World Cup course, which makes it more twisty-turny, with short sharp climbs. There’s 220m climbing over 4.8km. The track has all the technical sections, and it is really challenging and will suit the climbers. All the main features are included, such as Rapid Rocks and Buck Jump Alley.”

Floros says the competitors will also enjoy the DHI course changes: “The course will be a little bit different to what the guys have raced in the past. The start is just above Haibo, and we’ve opened up one or two new sections at the top. It makes the course twisty-turny at the top. We’ve also utilised Dr Evil through the Gully into the pedal section. There’s a small change coming out of the Bomb Hole, to spice it up a bit – it’s about 200m in length, nothing hectic but the guys need to look at that. The track then drops onto the Masters’ course from last year, towards Slip-and-Slide. We’ve utilised the old 4X track, so the bottom is a little different to what the guys are used to.”

Dates and Venues for the 2014 Southern African Mountain Bike Cup Series:

  • #1: 14-15 March -- Cascades, Pietermaritzburg [KwaZulu-Natal]
  • #2: 19-20 April -- Afriski, Lesotho *
  • #3: 24-25 May -- Mankele, Nelspruit [Mpumalanga] *
  • #4: 21-22 June -- Hayterdale Trails, Addo [Port Elizabeth] *

*Events that are part of the UCI Junior World Series

Spectators are welcome, and are encouraged to attend and to watch the country’s top mountain biking stars in action in Pietermaritzburg. Racing starts at 08:00 with the young age groups on Saturday morning, with the Elite women setting of at 11:00 and the Elite men at 14:00. Downhill racing starts at 10:00 on Sunday.

Detailed start times for the various categories can be downloaded and viewed here.