Team Changes And Rumours For 2024 MTB Racing Season | Updated

by | Jan 25, 2024 | Bike Racing News, Bike, Bike Events & Racing, Cycling Athlete Profiles, Cycling News, Featured, Sports

Get the latest scoop on who will be racing for which teams in the 2024 South African mountain bike world.

As we approach the 2024 racing season the rumours are going around about team changes in the South African bike racing world and there are a whole bunch to talk about this year! By the sounds of things, the 2024 racing season is going to be a spectacular show with some exciting new partnerships set to be contending for the podiums around SA.

Cover Image Credit: Tankwa Trek

We’ve done a lot of asking around to bring you the confirmed, plausible, false, and soon to be clarified rumours. We’ll keep on updating this article as the unconfirmed rumours become confirmed or busted. Now, let’s get into them!

Greg Minnaar off Santa Cruz Syndicate, joining Norco Factory Racing for 2024 onwards – Confirmed

There was some huge news last week as we heard Greg Minnaar was leaving the Santa Cruz Syndicate after 16 incredible years with them.

UPDATE: In early January, Greg announced that he would be racing for and leading the Norco Factory Racing Team for 2024 onwards.

Get more details on what we know about this big announcement here!

Team Changes And Rumours For 2024 Mtb Racing Season | Updated
The GOAT looks to kickoff his own racing team in 2024

Matt Beers to (international) Specialized Off-Road Team – Confirmed

We had a big catch up with Matt recently after what has been a massive international breakout for him in 2023. He is certainly looking like hot property for the 2024 racing season, locally and abroad, so we would not be surprised to see a move to the global Specialized team for the next season and beyond.

We reached out to Matt for comment and he said that he can’t share any news about next year yet but that we should keep our ears open for some news in the next couple of weeks or so.

UPDATE: Matt announced on 10 January that he will be part of the Specialized Off-Road team for 2024 onwards, alongside Howard Grotts and Sofia Gomez Villafane racing around the world and gaining better international support.

Tyler Jacobs off Computer Mania MTB Team, racing for Trek SA – Confirmed

Tyler is a phenomenal talent who rode her first year out of the junior category in 2023. She is undoubtedly going places in SA and beyond and we’re excited to see what is in store for her!

Fnb Wines2Whales
Tyler Jacobs and Candice Lill take the stage and overall win during stage 3 at the FNB Wines 2 Whales Chardonnay. (c) Dom Barnardt / Wines2Whales

We asked Tyler if she could share anything about her 2024 racing program and this is what she had to say: “I am really happy with how the 2023 season panned out. Despite a few races not going how I hoped, I learned so much and gained some much needed experience. Super excited for next year, and to see how I can use those experiences. There will be some big changes next year that I’m looking forward to sharing soon 😉 ”

UPDATE: Tyler is confirmed to be racing for Trek South Africa in 2024 and taking on more World Cup races.

Luke Moir Rumoured to be signed to an international team for 2023 – Confirmed

Luke is another young rider, currently racing in the U23 Cat, who has been putting in the hard yards trying to crack it on the World Cup XC circuit over the last few years. He’s had some great results over the years, including 4 top 20 finishes in 2023 World Cup XC events.

Luke and Tyler are both managed by One Movement who have a good track record for securing strong partnerships for their athletes so an international move for a rider with this much promise makes sense.

This is what Luke had to say about the rumour: “Super stoked with my 2023 season as I’m slowly clawing my way back to the front. Not allowed to say anything yet but I will be moving to an international team next year which I am super chuffed about and shows my hard work is finally paying off. Will be announced end of Dec/start of Jan” – Luke Moir

So a move is confirmed but we’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out where exactly he is off to. Good luck Luke!

UPDATE: Luke is confirmed to be racing for Cube Factory Racing XC in 2024! Massive news for the talented rider. Onwards and upwards Luke!

Alex Miller and Johan van Zyl to Toyota Specialized – Confirmed

If Matt Beers is indeed off to Specialized International, and Tristan Nortje to Honeycomb Pro Cycling, that means there would be some openings at Toyota Specialized. Being one of the most professional and successful local teams, we would expect them to sign some powerhouse riders. Johan and Alex fit that description without a doubt. Neither rider could confirm the move as of writing this but there is a lot of sense in the rumour.

Alex has had a great season racing for Pyga Euro Steel, “My personal highlight was winning Race 2 the Sun. The bit of racing in Europe I did wasn’t that great, travelling and everything definitely caught up to me there and I definitely learned from it and I know what I’ll do differently next year. I definitely had a lot of fun in the last few events of the season.

Big thanks has to go to all the different event organisers and sponsors for organising some amazing events! Now it’s grind time for 2024, for which I’m really excited for.”, says Alex

If the Computer Mania Team is whittling down to just Dan van der Walt then that would mean Johan van Zyl is also looking for a new home and the talk about him going to Toyota Specialised sounds about right from what he was able to share with us: “I’m pretty excited for the 2024 racing season. I’ll be racing a bit more marathon as well as some XCOs. I will be racing alongside a new partner who’s a great guy and that I’m looking forward to learning a lot from throughout the year! It’s a great opportunity that I’ll be grabbing with two hands so let’s see what can happen!”

Team Changes And Rumours For 2024 Mtb Racing Season | Updated
Johan van Zyl is a promising talent in the XCO world for RSA

This is another move that should be confirmed or falsified in the next couple of weeks.

UPDATE: Both Johan and Alex have been confirmed on the team for 2024 and got off to a cracking start as Alex took the win at Attakwas ahead of Matt Beers! Expect big things from this crew in 2024.

Pieter du Toit to Pyga Euro Steel – Confirmed

If Alex is leaving Pyga Eurosteel, then Phil Buys is going to need a new racing partner and who better than previous teammate Pieter du Toit! Pieter has been racing the last few years for Imbuko Giant but confirmed with us that in 2024, he’s back on Pyga Euro Steel.

“I am really happy to be riding for Pyga Euro Steel again. I started out my career riding for them and then had the last 2 years with the Imbuko team. It’s lekker to be partnering up with Philip again, we have achieved a lot of success racing together before and it will be lekker to get the same results and even some better ones in 2024!” – Pieter du Toit

Jaedon Terlouw to Pyga Euro Steel with Michael Forster – Confirmed

Michael Forster of Pyga Euro Steel (who placed 4th at SA Marathon Champs in 2023) has been racing alongside Jaedon (currently Honeycomb Pro Cycling) several times this year so a 2024 partnership would make sense. This means that the team is bumping up from 3 to 4 riders, which is great to see. Jaedon couldn’t confirm the move when we spoke to him, “super excited for 2024, a few changes happening, and I’m stoked to see where the new opportunities take me”, but we’re expecting some sort of announcement soon.

UPDATE: Jaedon is indeed on the Pyga EuroSteel team for 2024

Tristan to Honeycomb with Marc Pritzen – Confirmed

Marc Pritzen has been racing in the colours of EF Easypost since he previously left Honeycomb Pro Cycling. The move for him and Nortje has been confirmed for 2024 and the duo will be racing MTB stage races together as well as some Gravel and Road. These are two super strong riders that will be revving hard in 2024 so watch out.

“Really looking forward to being part of the Honeycomb Pro Cycling team for 2024. It’s going to be an exciting year racing alongside Marc. The whole team are passionate about cycling and just love being out on their bikes giving their best. Let’s start the 2024 season” –  Tristan Nortje

Johan Trotsky is also confirmed to be joining the team in 2024 from RDx Cycling.

Kim le Court to AG Insurance Soudal Quick-Step – Confirmed

Kim le Court (2023 Cape Epic Winner) confirmed on Friday 8 December that she will be racing for AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step cycling team in 2024! A big and exciting move for one of our strongest female competitors stepping onto a World Tour road team. Road racing is where Kim comes from and to see her step onto a World Tour team, alongside South African icon Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, is absolutely thrilling.

We quizzed Kim on what races we can expect to see her at in 2024 and this is what she had to say: “I don’t have many details yet. I’ll be flying to team camp in Spain on the 11th. What I do know is that I’ll be racing as an all-rounder & domestique, discovering the possibilities on the road and open to discovering own limits on the road as well. I’ll be supporting the team in the classics as well as in stage races. I’ll know more specifically which races after the camps but for now I’m really excited to get over there, meet everyone and get into the swing of things. I’m thrilled to be in a position where I can motivate and influence Africans to chase their dreams.”

Kudos to Kim on a big step in her racing career! We’ll keep an eye out Le Tour de France Femmes next year 😉

Team Changes And Rumours For 2024 Mtb Racing Season | Updated
Kim Le Court is a fierce racer and full of character off the bike as well (c) Sam Clark / Cape Epic

Danielle off Imbuko Giant and moving to Efficient Infiniti – Confirmed

With a hole needing to be filled at Efficient Infiniti, it would make sense to see Danielle, one of the younger and more successful women in the field, make the move across there. Danielle confirmed that she was going to be leaving Imbuko Giant on good terms.

We reached out to Danielle for comment and she said that she’s “Very excited and very grateful” for an opportunity that had come along for 2024 but wouldn’t let on to who she may be racing for, though it sounds like she is in good hands.

UPDATE: Danielle is racing for Efficient Infiniti in 2024. Great news!

Imbuko Giant downscaling to 4 riders – Confirmed

One of our biggest local MTB teams has already confirmed 2 riders to be leaving the ranks (Pieter and Danielle) but it sounds like it will be stopping the shedding there.

“There was to be some interesting changes but as it stands the team is going to stay the same though get a bit smaller. We’re just going to focus on the 2 men’s teams in 2024” says team owner Theunis van Zyl of the 2024 season

We have it on good authority that the team will be aboard different machines next year as well. This hasn’t been confirmed yet so we’ll have to wait to see what bikes Marco, Wessel, Franko and Rudi will be racing aboard in 2024.

Gert Heyns retiring – Confirmed

Gert recently announced on his Instagram that he will be retiring from professional racing.

Gert will certainly be missed among the pro field. The incredibly skilled and versatile rider has been on many a podium throughout his career and is always pleasant to chat to at the races. We heard he might be hanging around to race Cape Epic but it isn’t to be.

“My plans for 2024 and beyond is to pursue a career in programming so do not have plans to do Epic. I will still ride for fun obviously but also look forward to trying a few different outdoor activities that I couldn’t ever really do as a pro cyclist.”

We wish Gert all the best for the career change and look forward to seeing him at a few more local Enduros!

Matthys Beukes and cousin Cronje Beukes to race for VEC Titan – Confirmed

As one goes into retirement, another steps out of it? We asked team manager Rossouw Bekker for a comment on the rumour.

“We’re excited about something new for next year. What is coming about wasn’t our initial plan but we’re looking forward to a new opportunity and seeing what we can do as a team in 2024” – Rossouw Bekker

Matt Keyser, who raced for VEC Titan over the last few seasons, has confirmed he’s stepping into the traditional working world and that means there are 2 openings left behind him and Gert. It would be great to see Matthys back at the races (and hopefully not on a 1980s steel road bike..) as the man still has a lot of life in him. We’ll keep you posted on this one.

UPDATE: Matthys is back for more racing and with a top 10 finish at Attakwas, he’s clearly still got the legs but might need some more sharpening up!

Erick Heyns and Wayne van der Walt forming a pro team under FuelX – Confirmed

Another solid team entering the elite men’s fray for 2024 as Erick Heyns and Wayne van der Walt pattern up under FuelX for 2024.

“Pumped to race with longtime friend and competitor Wayne next year. We have both had our fair struggles with finding partners to match our strengths and to be able to match up next year in a team that gives us a lot of freedom to race what and where we want is a great opportunity and privilege and we both cannot wait to get the year going at Attakwas. We will be targeting Cape Epic as many teams do but we will be throwing in a few gravel races as well as some ultra marathon races but the big goal for the first half of the year will be to get a good result at the Cape Epic. – Erick Heyns

I am looking forward to racing alongside Erick next year with the great support we have from FuelX. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity. In the past, we always worked well together and finally we’ll be able to race together as a team. Our goal, like most South African teams, is to do well at next year’s Cape Epic. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together as a team. – Wayne van der Walt

Vera Looser getting support for from Efficient Infiniti 2024 – Confirmed

Vera, who won the 2023 Cape Epic with Kim Le Court, seems to be in limbo a bit with support for 2024. 

“Not much is really confirmed for my season next year. There is an opportunity for me to race on the road at the Olympics again but it is all very open. To be honest, I find it quite difficult for me to find sponsors as a Namibian who races in South Africa a bit and lives in Switzerland most of the time and races the whole World Cup circuit. The Namibian companies don’t find that I am useful as I am not racing in Namibia, similar in South Africa and the Swiss companies prefer to support Swiss people so it’s not easy to figure out. This is why I still work in accounting alongside racing so that I can at least cover my fixed costs. So hopefully there is an unrealised opportunity that will come along but until then there is a big question mark over my 2024 season.” – Vera Looser

It is sad to see such a strong rider, who podiumed at a Marathon World Cup in 2024, struggling to find decent support to race professionally. Vera seems to have made it work in the past and we hope to see her in full force next season.

UPDATE: Vera will be racing on the Efficient Infiniti Insure team in 2024 while still supported by Lapierre bikes and Elysator. Glad to see Vera was able to get some local support. Having won the Cape Epic, a MTB Marathon World Cup, and podiumed regularly around the world, she is a dedicated and talented rider deserving off good support!

Mariske Strauss – Nothing confirmed but big news coming in the new year 

Another icon of the women’s racing scene, Mariske has been battling for many months now with Myocarditis, greatly hindering her ability to train and race to her best. Mariske shared that her health is looking to be improving notably and that she’s got some big news to share in the New Year but is keeping it very tight lipped for now!

Whatever it is that is coming, we’re excited and can’t wait to see Mariske at the races again!

UPDATE: It seems the big news came in the form of a baby announcement! Mariske and her husband Benno are expecting a baby this year. Yet to be confirmed if they will be riding a Giant or a Liv bike so we’ll have to wait and see. How soon it will be until we get Mariske back racing again is also TBC. We will wait patiently and celebrate the new phase of life she’s stepping into as a mom!

Team Changes And Rumours For 2024 Mtb Racing Season | Updated
It has been a while since we got to see Mariske Strauss at the top of her game. (c) Sage Lee Voges

Massimiliano Ambrossi and Josh Johnson racing for Trek SA – Confirmed

We have heard two junior riders, Massimiliano Ambrossi and Josh Johnson, will be getting support from Trek on a similar level to the Flying Avos (Justin Chesterton and Kai von During) in 2024.

They both came through the Great Athletes Ride Trek (GART) program which runs through their local bike shops. Other juniors, take note!

Massi and Josh have been touring Europe this year, earning their stripes and showing great promise for the next generation of XCO racers! Both riders are managed by One Movement as well and it is good to see them get some backing from Trek for the 2024 season.

CP van Wyk retiring from Insect Science MTB, Jason Boulle to join the team as Enduro racer – Confirmed

Lastly, CP van Wyk will be transitioning from professional cycling into the traditional work space for 2024, leaving 4 riders behind on the Insect Science MTB team. Word in the street is that some bloke named Jason Boulle will be taking his place on the team but focussing on racing Enduro with a few potential appearances at the XCO and Marathon races.

Team manager Nicol Carstens has this to say about the moves:

“CP was one of the first riders to join Insect Science Cycling. He played a massive role to get the team to where it is today not just by racing but also by doing a lot behind the scenes. CP will still be seen in Insect Science colours next year and leading the banter on the team’s WhatsApp group chat but his focus will shift from winning races to winning the sprint to the coffee shop on the weekly group rides!

Jason joined Insect Science in August to help us out with our social media, since then everyone in the team really enjoyed his company and input. Whether or not Jason will be playing a bigger role in the team next year will have to stay a mystery for now..”

And that is all we have heard of for now folks, though it is certainly a lot of news! We’ll do our best to update the list as all falls into place for 2024 but it looks like there will be fireworks from the get go. The season openers on the MTB front will be Attakwas, Imbuko Big 5, Tankwa Trek and then the infamous Cape Epic in March.

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