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The Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge, South Africa’s most prestigious one-day mountain bike race, has received a significant boost with the announcement that Momentum Health and Biogen are the new title and presenting sponsors respectively.
The 121km race, which will hold its 12th edition in January 2018, will be known as the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen. The event will once again carry an International Cycling Union (UCI) grading, which offers UCI rankings points, generous prize money and extensive media coverage.
Since its inception in 2006, Attakwas has become South African mountain biking’s version of the Comrades Marathon, the world’s most famous ultra-running event. It’s a point-to-point race with almost 3000 metres of vertical ascent that requires endurance, strength, skill and courage, making it a complete test of mountain biking ability. There is an 11-hour cut-off with the last finishers being as admired as the leading riders.
The men’s record of 04 hours 47 minutes 56 seconds is held by Swiss racer, Urs Huber, who won the race in 2014, while the women’s record of 05:25:55 was set by Denmark’s multiple world champion, Annika Langvad, who won the 2017 edition at her first attempt.
Momentum Health and Biogen also recently became the primary new sponsors of the Tankwa Trek and the Cape Pioneer Trek. The addition of Attakwas completes their support of Dryland Event Management’s three International Cycling Union-graded mountain bike events.
“The Attakwas is one of South Africa’s premier one-day mountain bike ultra-marathons and we are delighted to now be part of it. The structure of our Health product was designed with active individuals in mind. We aim to bring a relevant and new angle to the table and by doing so adding value to the participant,” said Carel Bosman, Head of Sponsorships, Momentum.
“Biogen is once again extremely proud to partner with Dryland Events and Momentum Health on yet another premier South African mountain bike event. The Attakwas is one of the toughest one-day races in the country. It’s appropriate that Biogen, a premier sports supplement brand will be giving the brave participants high quality nutritional support during and after the race,” said Brandon Fairweather, Biogen Marketing Manager.
“Attakwas is a monument in South African cycling’s racing calendar. A monument because it is THE race in January since forever! It is a huge challenge for everybody with a very character-filled route. It is super well organised and finishing Attakwas is a big deal for every participant,” said 2017 winner and multiple former world champion Christoph Sauser.
“As an original Southern Cape boy, it’s great for me to see events like the Cape Pioneer Trek and Attakwas succeeding and bringing world-class mountain biking to the region. The Attakwas is now the only UCI World Series one-day event in South Africa and with the National Marathon Series shortening its events this year, one of the few real challenging marathon races on the calendar. It’s fantastic to see Momentum Health and Biogen investing in Attakwas. I’m sure it’s going to help the event grow to become even more prestigious,” said Erik Kleinhans, South Africa’s top finisher at the 2017 Attakwas Extreme Challenge.
In 2009 Dryland Event Management, the organisers, added the Mini Atta, a 52km race that finishes at the same venue as the Attakwas ultra-marathon, but which offers newcomers an abbreviated sample, as well as those that lack the endurance conditioning for the main event.
The Mini Atta doesn’t draw as many participants as the ultra-marathon, which is an indication of the attraction of the prestigious point-to-point race that has captured South Africa like no other one-day mountain bike race has.
In the build-up to the 2017 edition, men’s winner Christoph Sauser, referring to his participation as part of his comeback to racing, said “You don’t do Attakwas for fun.” He’s right. Fun isn’t what motivates people to enter, start and finish the Attakwas. It’s a give-your-all mountain biking test that’s only conquered by the conditioned and the courageous.
Fairview Attakwas Extreme previous winners
2007: Kevin Evans (RSA) 05:10:03
2008: Kevin Evans (RSA) 05:50:14
2009: Francois Theron (RSA) 05:36:10
2010: Kevin Evans (RSA) 05:43:52
2011: David George (RSA) 05:01:50
2012: Matthys Beukes (RSA) 05:09:10
2013: Christoph Sauser (SUI) 04:56:29
2014: Urs Huber (SUI) 04:47:56 – record
2015: Christoph Sauser (SUI) 04:51:59
2016: Karl Platt (GER) | Tim Bohme (GER) 04:56:24
2017: Christoph Sauser (SUI) 04:50:09
2007: Yolande de Villiers (RSA) 05:32:28
2008: Yolande de Villiers (RSA) 06:29:22
2009: Ischen Stopforth (RSA) 06:34:54
2010: Yolande Speedy (RSA) 06:36:16
2011: Ariane Kleinhans (SUI) 06:09:36
2012: Ariane Kleinhans (SUI) 05:42:29
2013: Ariane Kleinhans (SUI) 05:40:38
2014: Ariane Kleinhans (SUI) 06:05:22
2015: Ariane Kleinhans (SUI) 05:30:58
2016: Robyn de Groot (RSA) 05:46:27
2017: Annika Langvad (DEN) 05:25:55 – record
Entries for the 2017 event sold out in record time. The entry number is limited to 1100 and entries for the 2018 event, to be held on 20 January, will open on 27 March 2017 at 12h00.