The historic tenth edition of the Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, will take place from the 14th to the 20th of October 2018. In celebration Dryland Event Management have decided to open entries on the 28th of November and provide riders with a host of special offers to commemorate the race’s tenth anniversary.

In the early years the event built a formidable reputation as South Africa’s toughest stage race, but for the last five editions the decision has been made to tame the route slightly and focus on providing riders with a challenging but fun experience – which lives up to the event’s Race with Soul slogan. For 2018 that will once again be the case, with ten years of Southern Cape and Klein Karoo exploration experience going into creating what Dryland Event Management believe is the best route yet.

The Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, features UCI elite men’s and women’s categories, along with amateur categories for mixed teams, veteran men, masters men and solo men and women. Photo by Zoon Cronje.

Mossel Bay, George and Oudtshoorn play host to race villages for a minimum of two nights each as the race utilises the exploration and journey stage format which puts the riders’ experience at the forefront of everything Dryland Event Management do at the Cape Pioneer Trek.

The Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, starts once again in Mossel Bay; but returns to the Prologue format to get the event underway. The cliff-top paths of the St. Blaize hiking trail provide a spectacular setting and the perfect introduction to an event which delivers diverse scenery from start to finish. Stage One will mix the best mountain biking trails used during Stages One and Two of the 2017 Cape Pioneer Trek and include more singletrack than ever before. Stage Two takes riders from Mossel Bay to George along the ever-popular route across the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains, but for 2018 the route to the mountains has been updated to spice up the old favourite.

George and the, ever present, Van Kervel School will host their tenth Cape Pioneer Trek race village in 2018; and the singletracks of Saasveld will once again play host to a mid-race time trial. George also sees the introduction of the Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek Adventure, presented by Biogen. This four day event, within the greater Cape Pioneer Trek allows solo riders to join the event mid-week and experience the race’s final four days. It is perfect for riders intimidated by the entire race. It will be an introduction to the Race with Soul and an undoubted hook to ensure riders return in 2019 to ride the full Cape Pioneer Trek.

The 2018 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, will once again take in a diverse route which crosses from the coastal plains of Mossel Bay though the forests of George to the Klein Karoo. Photo by Hayden Brown.

From George the race crosses into the Klein Karoo via the Montagu Pass on Stage Four and boasts a mountain-top finish, at the summit of the Swartberg Pass, on Stage Five. The final stage of the 2018 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, will be a celebration of Klein Karoo mountain biking; short, rocky, with a few steep climbs and some exhilarating descents before the champagne finish in the main road of Oudtshoorn.

When the 2018 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, entries open at 12:00 on the 28th of November riders can look forward to the following special offers. Early bird entrants who enter, and pay in full, between the 28th of November and the 31st of December will receive 10% in value back on their standard team or solo entries. Riders who took part in the 2017 event meanwhile will also receive a complimentary commemorative tenth edition garment if they enter before the 31st of December.

In addition to this Dryland Event Management have made all pre- and post-race shuttles to and from George airport free and have ensured the upgrade options are affordably priced; including the Luxury Tents, Gold Upgrades (which are a new Bed and Breakfast accommodation upgrade option), Platinum Upgrades, Camper Van parking spots and Supporter Packages.

The Swartberg Pass will once again set the scene for the Queen Stage of the 2018 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen. Photo by Hayden Brown.

As race director Henco Rademeyer explains: “We want to celebrate that amazing spirit which gave the Cape Pioneer Trek its title of the Race with Soul. One of the ways we would like to do that is to create more of a buzz around the race villages and by making the upgrades and supporter packages really affordable we hope to encourage riders to bring their spouses along to share in the Pioneer experience.”

A number of riders, including 2017 runner up Gawie Combrinck and the queen of South African stage racing Teresa Coetzee completed their fifth Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, in October. NAD Pro MTB’s Combrinck is drawn back to the Cape Pioneer Trek because “the Pioneer is a special event. I get asked this question [What keeps you coming back?] quite a lot from other people that want to do it for the first time. I love the variety of the terrain we race over: starting at the coast, going through the forests in George and finishing in the rough Karoo. The event has awesome friendly people, great food and it’s very well organised. It is definitely one of my favourite races of the year.”

Coetzee, who in her day job is a Lifestyle and Entertainment Editor for Media24, meanwhile knows a thing or two about stage races having completed nine in 2017 alone.  Reflecting on her five Cape Pioneer Trek experience she said: “There are so many key factors that set the Cape Pioneer Trek apart from any other stage race that I have ever done. This is the race where everybody is treated like a superstar; not just the elite riders like Ariane Lüthi and Robyn de Groot, who you share the field with. The day we cycled from Mossel Bay to George the organiser Henco Rademeyer was standing in the rain, helping some of the back markers over a nasty little bump and that basically sums up the Pioneer. It is one of the hardest and most challenging events on the calendar (just look at the route profile and see for yourself), but everybody involved insures that the event is friendly and warm and they ensure that you go home with so many amazing memories. Once you have completed a Cape Pioneer Trek, you will know why they call it the Race with Soul.”

The leading men – Nico Bell, Gawie Combrinck, Matt Beers and Alan Hatherly – have a wildlife close encounter during the 2017 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen. Photo by Zoon Cronje.

In addition to the early bird entry special and the 2017 Cape Pioneer Trek entrants who enter the 2018 race receiving a commemorative tenth edition First Ascent garment the first 50 entrants to next year’s race will receive a VIP Biogen hamper, worth R500!

Entries to the 2018 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, open on the 28th of November at 12:00 on the official race website:

Fast Facts: 2018 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen
Dates: 14 – 20 October 2018
Prologue: #Point Pursuit | 15.3km | 515m of climbing
Stage 1: #GondwanaGlory | 97km | 1 835m of climbing
Stage 2: #OuteniquaOdyssey | 106km | 2 025m of climbing
Stage 3: #SaasveldSingletrack | 36.4km | 880m of climbing
Stage 4: #MontaguMettle | 85km | 1 790m of climbing
Stage 5: #SwartbergShowdown | 92km | 2 600m of climbing
Stage 6: #ChandelierChampagne | 64km | 1 100m of climbing
Entry Fees: Early Bird Solo: R17 000 | Early Bird Team: R32 200
Entry Fees: Standard Solo: R18 900 | Standard Team: R35 900