The Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, is not only the premier UCI S1 stage race in South Africa but is also renowned as a fantastic four-day event for any experienced mountain biker to challenge themselves too. In 2025 the race will take place from the 6th to the 9th of February and entries for the twelfth edition open on 26 April 2024. There are ample reasons to enter; including the rugged route, the famous Dryland hospitality, and the comfortable Kaleo campsite.

“I think the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, has some of the most amazing scenery and trails to ride,” 2024 champion Alex Miller said. “That paired with the organisation Dryland provide certainly makes me look forward to the event.” The scenery Miller mentioned is a mix of orchards, spectacular sandstone rock formations and vast Koue Bokkeveld vistas. The views from the high ridge road along the top of the Witzenberg Mountains are one of the highlights of the event.

Sarah Hill is always keen to sing the event’s praises, especially to riders who she knows will enjoy the technical trails. Photo by

“It’s my favourite race in the South African circuit,” multiple time podium finisher Sarah Hill praised. “I have repeatedly explained to my friends that it was because of the hot, challenging, technical terrain – an environment I thrive in! Each year the standard of this race is raised too. The quality of the trails is exceptional and ever-evolving. Having raced it so many times I look forward to the new singletrack pieces and the experimental direction changes that the event throws at us.”

“Over and above the trails and the use of this event as a ‘pre-Epic tester’, it’s the actual race village that brings a smile to my face,” Hill continued. “The inviting smiles of the registration line where we all catch up with each other, choosing your tent and settling in, booking your messages with the EPT guys and girls, and feeling the support from the on-site mechanics before and after every stage. The chill zone has expanded to actually make you feel relaxed. When they brought in the bean bags and Biogen snacks those who were staying off-site felt a huge amount of FOMO!”

“You work hard on the bike and get to completely unwind under the trees in the afternoon. If I haven’t sold you yet – it will be the food and sense of community that is built over the four days of riding your mountain bike. The sense of accomplishment you feel after tackling that Merino Monster will be well worth the training you put in over the month leading up to the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. Dryland is the leading event organizers in South Africa, and you’ll see that they cater for every single type of rider in the world. If you can’t wait until February next year, check out Momentum Medical Scheme Cape Pioneer, presented by Biogen, in October!”

It might be hot and rugged in the Bokkeveld, but Sanchia Malan loved every moment of the 2024 race. Photo by

Hill’s enthusiasm for the race is matched by Sanchia Malan. “It’s such an awesome event to do because it’s a good way to test your form early in the season,” the KwaZulu Natal based rider explained. “The terrain and conditions make it uniquely challenging – it’s hot and rugged out there! Most of all, the hospitality – thanks to the food, chill areas, and the race organisers themselves makes you feel so special and welcome. I would definitely recommend this race.”

South African celebrity chef and avid mountain biker David Higgs shares those sentiments. “There are so many reasons why the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, is one of my best races,” Higgs began. “The riding gives you all the testing you need, the trails are technical, the climbs are long, and the views are unbelievable – if you are in any state to enjoy them of course. I love the camping element too. The lovely lush lawns, electricity points for the campervans and tents, etc. make it feel like a proper getaway. The fact that the field of riders is relatively small also allows for lekker catch-ups after the stages and allows you to get to know new like-minded folks.”

“It’s flippen hard!” – Joel Stransky. Photo by

One such like-minded person is 1995 Springbok legend Joel Stransky. In his second sporting career as a mountain biker Stransky has honed his skills and found a release for his competitive instincts in the Koue Bokkeveld. “There are a few reasons but the main one is because it is flippen hard!” Stransky stated. “The camp is amazing and the spirit is always special. The food is good, the race is brilliantly organised, it is a wonderful event. But the route and the conditions are extreme and this results in it being ‘flippen hard’! I love the real test – having to conquer the heat, the ruggedness, the varying terrain, the Merino Monster! This race lets you know exactly where you are, if you are ready for the Cape Epic and it gives you a great sense of achievement every day and when it is done!”

Alisha Myers is an experienced stage racer and as the Global Director, Strategic Information and Innovation, for World Bicycle Relief knows a thing or two about bicycles and the places they can take people. “The Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, continues to be one of the best organized events in the Western Cape,” Myers noted. “I’ve seen it grow from the very early years to now, and even though the number of riders has quadrupled, they have still maintained a personal vibe. The service, the food, and the tents set a new, and high, quality standard for a multi-day event. What keeps me coming back are the trails – they are the best rugged, technical, rocky, beautiful trails! They are my absolute favourite. The last stage this year was fantastic! It was tough, but such an incredibly beautiful route. The Tankwa is tough, but pure joy.”

Stage racing has taken Karl Platt around the world, but the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, remains one of his favourite events. Photo by

The most celebrated mountain biker in the group of those praising the race is Karl Platt. The German legend’s palmarès hardly needs listing, as his presence in a race village always elevates both the mood and the sense that the event is of a certain status. “It’s one of my favourite races!” Platt echoed. “I like the familiar atmosphere and the fabulous vibe in the camp with great food and wine. It always feels like a bike ride with friends on the best trails SA has to offer! Also, the length of the race is just perfect to enjoy the four days!”

Teams who took part in 2024, and who had ridden the event before, will confirm that this year’s race was the best edition yet. Though Dryland Event Management are not content to maintain that standard and will be raising the level for 2025 again. “We are always looking for ways to improve the rider experience,” Henco Rademeyer, of Dryland, promised. “Ernst van Dyk and his trail builders are constantly working on new routes, and there are singletracks in the area we still haven’t used in the race. The race village is also always improving, the campsite facilities are routinely upgraded, we bring more ablutions in and the introduction of canvas tents for all the riders was an addition for 2024 that we were particularly proud of. The Chill Zone will again be refined for 2025, and more spaces to relax post-stage will be created.”

2024 champion Alex Miller is a big fan of the four-day UCI S1 stage race. Photo by

“Over the years the racing has also evolved at the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen,” Rademeyer added. “The veteran and masters’ age categories have become more competitive and the mixed team race has attracted some very strong riders too. The UCI Men’s competition has gone from strength to strength and it was an honour to host Nino Schurter a couple of years ago. Though Matt Beers’ 2024 performance – claiming not only his second title but also setting a new time to beat up the Merino Moster – showed that South Africans don’t need to take a step back for anyone.”

“The growth in depth and strength of the UCI Women’s field at the race is also something we’re very proud of,” Rademeyer concluded. “Along with Anderson Transport, we have invested in entries and prize money for the top women’s teams. To see more South African women stepping up to compete against the world’s best in a UCI stage race, on their home trails, is amazing to watch. And as Dryland we are committed to continuing to provide the platform for young women to challenge themselves at the highest level of mountain bike stage racing.”

Attempting to conquer the Merino Monster, the most iconic climb in South African mountain biking, remains a key reason to enter the race. Photo by

To experience the challenge and rewards of the 2025 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, visit Entries open at 12:00 on Friday, 26 April 2024.