Professional mountain biker Pieter Seyffert will be returning to the scene of one of his favourite races when he and teammate Travis Walker tackle the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek at the end of May.
The 30-year-old Seyffert, from Helderkruin in the West Rand, was the champion in 2015 when he partnered Kevin Evans to a narrow win over Chris Wolhuter and Andrew Hill.
Now he – supported by a new partner – will be back for the three-stage race at the Zuurberg Mountain Village outside Port Elizabeth from May 26 in a bid to reclaim his title.
The pair showed their ability as a mountain bike combination when they dominated the seven-day TransCape between Knysna and Franschhoek last month.
Riding under the Ellsworth-ASG banner, Seyffert said they would definitely be aiming to finish on the podium in the Eastern Cape race.
“At this stage of his career Travis is very focused on doing well and that rubs off on me, helping me to stay focused too,” said Seyffert.
“It is always good to try to get that exposure, not only for us as cyclists, but also for those who are backing us.”
Walker, who hails from Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal, returned to South Africa this year after spending several years competing in Europe and will be racing the Zuurberg event for the first time.
However, Seyffert felt the talented rider would have no problem adapting to the course.
“Travis has spent the last two years in Italy riding some of the world’s toughest events and, as one of the younger riders, he finished in the top 10 in his first appearance in the Cape Epic in 2015,” he said.
“He is a talented mountain biker and I have no doubt he will be able to handle any course he tackles.”
Seyffert added that the more technical parts of the route would suit Walker’s skills as he came from a cross country background.
Reflecting on his previous experience of the race, the West Rand pro said he particularly enjoyed the overall route offering, which took in remote sections of the Addo Elephant National Park as well as parts of the Sundays River Valley.
“You get the full package at the GZT, with single-track changing to Karoo-type terrain, and then a few district roads.
“I think it is cool if an event has a variety of routes and I remember day three as being the most technical in terms of single-track, going through the Hayterdale trails.”
Off the bike, Seyffert said the camaraderie which existed in the various race villages was also a highlight of the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek adventure.
“The situation where a lot of the riders stay near each other, enjoying meals together and sharing their ‘war stories’ are special memories,” he said.
Having just completed the five-day Bestmed Tour of Good Hope, Seyffert said he would race the Liberty Winelands Encounter in April before heading to the Eastern Cape.