Team Garmin MTB, consisting of professional mountain bikers, Yolandi du Toit and Ben Melt Swanepoel, are representing Garmin in the Africa Series, consisting of five stage races across SubSaharan Africa. The races have been selected to highlight mountain biking in Africa and to strengthen Garmin’s presence across the continent.
Team Garmin MTB are venturing off the beaten track across savannahs littered with wildlife, redefining what mountain biking is all about.
“We hope to generate awareness about the great stage races we have on our continent.” said Yolandi du Toit.
“We hope by pioneering and documenting these races others will be inspired to join us in the future.” adds Ben Melt Swanepoel.
The Africa Series kicked off with the Namib Quest from 21 – 26 May. The race began in Windhoek, the historic capital city of Namibia and ended 6 days later in the coastal town of Swakopmund. The route passed through the folded mountains of the Khomas Hochland, dropped down through the transition plateau into the famous Namib Desert and included parts of the Namib Naukluft Park. Starting off the Africa Series in true Garmin style, Team Garmin MTB took first place, winning the mixed stage category.
Machine gunning it!
After much excitement, and a short rest, the team will make their way to Zambia to take on the second race of the series. 1Zambia will be tackled by Team Garmin over the period of June 3 – 5 in which they will navigate through more than 250kms of hilly village footpaths, enjoying panoramic views along secluded escarpment jeep tracks, twisting through remote valleys and crossing the mighty Zambezi River. This race will conclude on the legendary Kanyemba Island, which has throughout the ages seen the first Portuguese traders and explorers and the passage of David Livingstone during his historical journey from the West to the East coast of Africa. Brimming with unexplored routes in the African bushveld and a chance to appreciate nature in absolute solitude, the team’s biggest challenge will be to keep focused during the race.
The Africa Series does not end there, at the end of this back to back trilogy, Team Garmin will head south to compete in the Gem Diamonds Kalahari Challenge from 9 – 11 June. This race will start and finish south of Gabarone, the capital city of Botswana. This race consists of a single-track route through the bushveld with technical uphills weaving through the Kalahari mountains. The challenge route is 240km long and includes 2400m of climbing over the three days, attracting local and international mountain bikers to the untamed bushveld of Southern Botswana.
September will see Team Garmin MTB venturing up to Kenya for the 5 day Kenya Rift Valley Odyssey, which is the very first mountain bike race to cross the breath-taking Maasai Mara. Starting from verdant tea farms east of the Rift Valley the route crosses through vast indigenous forests west of the Rift Valley then heads onwards across rolling savannahs. Registration is limited to 100 participants and the race is 100% dependent upon GARMIN GPS technology which will be used by the race participants to self-navigate across 445 km of terrain alongside herds of migrating wildebeest. This iconic safari race will take place from 26 – 30 September.
A Grand Finale
November marks the end of the Africa Series where the team will pack their bicycles, beach towels and a few litres of sunblock and venture over the Indian Ocean to Mauritius to complete compete in the Southern Tropical Challenge from 26 – 29 November, a 4 day stage race through the beautiful trails on the majestic island. This will be followed by some much deserved downtime on the tranquil beaches.
To follow Team Garmin MTB on their adventures go to https://www.facebook.com/TeamGarminMTB/ and yolandidutoit.com. “Garmin are excited to be a part of this unique MTB Africa Series, where we get to vicariously experience Yolandi and Melt’s adventurous journey as they take on wild Africa.” ends Jenna Chisnall Marcomms Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa.