Mountainbike: Waterberg Encounter
After his strong start to the season was derailed by illness, professional mountain biker Pieter Seyffert will be searching for his best form at the three-day Liberty Waterberg Encounter near Bela-Bela in Limpopo from Friday. The 30-year-old set the tone for his season when he teamed up with Travis Walker to steamroll the opposition at the seven-day TransCape in February.
Then, in late April, he rode to a strong podium finish in the mixed section at the Winelands Encounter alongside former national road champion An-Li Kachelhoffer. However, after a particularly wet sani2c early last month, his health took a turn for the worse. That resulted in him having to withdraw from the Great Zuurberg Trek in May, a race he had won in 2015. He returned to competition at last weekend’s Magalies Monster as the defending champion, but struggled towards the end to finish fifth.
“I felt better than I had expected during the race but started battling after 50km,” said the ASG-Elllsworth rider, who is from Helderkruin in Gauteng. Seyffert said he was slowly working his way back to full fitness and had been doing some light training as he was mindful of not overexerting himself ahead of the Liberty Waterberg Encounter, in partnership with STANLIB.
“I’ve been doing everything I can to get back in form and am looking forward to using the race to push myself a bit,” he said.
The West Rand pro, who will be making his debut at the event, said he was keen to test his legs on a route characterised by jeep tracks, rocky outcrops, flowing downhills, river crossings and single-track. He will line up for the start at the Sondela Nature Reserve alongside his father, Johann, who is a strong mountain biker with several Ironman races under the belt.
Stage one will take participants to the Elements Private Golf Estate, where day two will start and finish. The final day will see the field head back to Sondela. Gertjie Harmse, who won last year’s inaugural race alongside Devan Kruger, will be back to challenge for overall honours alongside his brother Louis.