South African Cycling

Varsity Mountain Bike challenge announced

2015-12-02 12:32
Varsity Mountain Bike Challenge (supplied)

Cape Town - Mountain bike enthusiasts can look forward to a new and unique mountain bike race series in 2016. The Varsity MTB Challenge is the first and only official inter-varsity mountain bike competition and will consist of two races, one to take place in Bela Bela on July 9-10 and the second race in Franschhoek on October 1-2, 2016.

The Varsity MTB Challenge is a new venture between Sports4U and Advent Sport and Entertainment Media (ASEM), media rights holder and events organiser for the very popular Varsity Cup and successful Varsity Sports series of sport tournaments. Not only will universities have the opportunity to compete against each other in a six-member team format, but alumni and general public also have the chance to show their stamina, while making a positive contribution to a university.

“The Varsity MTB Challenge is a series of races designed specifically for university alumni and current students,” says Francois Pienaar, CEO of ASEM. “All universities are invited to enter and compete for the inaugural Varsity MTB Challenge Champions title. The race is also open to all mountain bike fanatics and riders are encouraged to compete in their alma maters’ colours, or adopt a university.”

“There will be a big focus on alumni participation and we hope this race will bring together some of the most influential university alumni in South Africa to ride on some of our most beautiful and inaccessible tracks,” adds Pienaar.

The Varsity MTB Challenge is a two-day stage race endorsed by Cycling South Africa and University Sport South Africa (USSA), making it the official university MTB Challenge series in South Africa. The top USSA teams will be sponsored by Varsity Sports bringing a further competitive angle to the event.

Aside from the university challenge, the race will also include an open category for non-university teams and individuals. Riders who have no formal affiliation with a university will be able to compete by choosing a university to support when they register for the race.  A scoring mechanism will promote competition between universities, with all riders contributing points to their university thereby rekindling the spirit of camaraderie and competition among the riders.

In another first, the Varsity MTB Challenge will take place in all new and exclusive terrain. The Bela Bela leg of the series cuts across previously inaccessible farms, whilst the region offers exposure to wild game and scenic vistas over the 130km track. The Franschhoek leg will cut across some of South Africa’s iconic Winelands and include a trip past the house where Nelson Mandela was held captive in the Drakenstein prison.

The entry fee per rider per race is R2 500 and includes dinner on the Friday evening and lunch on both the Saturday and Sunday. Various accommodation options are available as add-ons. 

For more information on registration visit our web site at or send an email to

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