Sappi Karkloof Classic 2024: Two New Champions Will Be Crowned This Year

by | May 13, 2024 | Press Releases, Sappi Karkloof Classic Trails Festival

There will be two new South African Mountain biking champions crowned at the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on May 25-26.

The main event of the weekend at the Absa Karkloof Country Club will be the 85km mountain bike race which this year will double as the South African MTB Marathon Championships. However, both the men’s and women’s defending champions, Matt Beers and Candice Lill, have been forced to miss the chance to defend their respective titles due to other international commitments.

As entries pour in for the various events over the two days of mountain biking and trail running, the only disappointing news to emerge from race office this week was that Beers will be “focusing on some other goals”, and Lill will be chasing UCI points at a World Cup event in Europe on the weekend of May 25-26.

Sappi Karkloof Classic 2024: Two New Champions Will Be Crowned This Year

Beers, the 2021 and 2023 SA MTB Marathon Champion and the 2022 and 2023 SA Gravel Champion, posted on his social media accounts on Saturday that it has “been an honour wearing the flag the last two years at some of the biggest gravel and MTB races. Unfortunately I decided not to race Gravel or XCM nationals this year and focus on some other goals. Stoked to see the lads back home fight for both jerseys.”

Beers handed over his gravel title on Saturday when the SA Champs were held in conjunction with the Race to the Sun. Marc Pritzen happily claimed the vacant title just ahead of Marco Joubert, with Jaco van Dyk third. Pritzen and Van Dyk are already on the Sappi Karkloof entry list, while Joubert is expected to submit his entry soon and all three are sure to be in the mix for the MTB title in two weeks time.

In the absence of Lill, the women’s title is expected to be a tough battle between Lill’s victorious 2023 Absa Cape Epic partner, Amy Wakefield, and Sam Sanders in a repeat of the 2022 battle for the SA title. The Sappi Karkloof Classic that year was also the SA Champs and saw Wakefield overcome a series of mechanical issues to claim the title just ahead of Sanders.

Others in the fight could be last year’s Sappi Karkloof winner Sarah Hill, and Hayley Preen who recently finished fourth at the Absa Cape Epic. KZN resident aiming for an upset include Hayley Smith and Joanna van de Winkel, who are hoping some local knowledge can give them an edge.

Karkloof Classic

The Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival weekend is an action-packed two-days of trail sport. On Saturday runners take centre stage with 21km and 9km trail runs. Then on Sunday, the mountain bikers have a big choice of distances that include the 85km championship event (for elite, licensed riders only) as well as 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km distances, while a 9km fun trail run will also be held on Sunday.

The 60km and 40km distances will be the national championship events for the various age-group riders, ranging from youth up to grand masters. Nippers, sprogs and sub juniors must compete in the 20km non-championships event.

2024 Sappi Karkloof Classic Entries

Enter for the Karkloof Classic here: ROAG at

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