The Race Across South Africa takes place in June/July each year. It is a 2300 km, non-stop, self-navigated mountain bike race starting in Pietermaritzburg KZN and ending in Wellington near Cape Town. Riders are allowed a maximum of 26 days to complete the ride..It is a non-stop event, so riders are not required to stop every day/night as in other stage races. This is a solo event and all riders are required to be self-sufficient and carry all their own personal belongings with them. Riders can choose to be batched with a race buddy, but it is important for each individual rider to be equipped and capable of completing the event on their own. Further support along the way is provided by:
- 25 support stations which also serve as compulsory check points. These support stations occur every 80-100km along the route and provide food and accommodation to all riders during the race. Riders are required to sign in and out of each designated support station. It is however within an individual participant's discretion to decide whether they wish to utilise the accommodation provided at each support station.
- Riders may send a pre-packed 2 litre container of their own to each support station, to be collected during the race. These typically contain the maps for the next section, bike spares, snacks etc which will be needed along the way.
- 10 emergency stops where food and emergency accommodation can be arranged for riders – this is done by the race office.
Please note: no individual seconding is permitted during the event – this means that no friends, family or other supporters may meet you along the route and offer assistance during the ride.
The route follows the Freedom Trail along a wide variety of off-road terrain – dirt roads, farm roads and tracks, footpaths and animal tracks. Many of the trails retrace old historic wagon routes which are no longer in regular use. Apart from the riding, there are numerous portage sections where riders will have to hike, push and even carry their bikes.
Since the route is not marked, riders need to navigate by means of maps, compass and narrative directions – the use of GPS devices for navigation during the race is not allowed and will lead to disqualification.
- The route traverses six terrestrial biomes and the geography ranges from coastal to mountainous to semi-desert. Anticipated temperatures during June/July can range from 32 degrees Celcius down to minus 15 degrees Celcius
- The total cumulative ascent is over 37 000 metres with the highest point along the route being 2700 metres above sea level.
- Rhodes – 8 days
- Hofmeyr – 12 days
- Willowmore – 18 days
- Pre-RASA dinner and accommodation at the pre-race briefing in Pietermaritzburg
- Access to the downloadable set of 1:50 000 topographical map sheets and narrative descriptions of the race route (Freedom Trail)
- Transport of one small bag per rider (clothes etc) to be collected at the finish
- Shipping of 2 litre race support boxes from Race Office (Cape Town) to support stations along the route
- Official race garment
- Finisher’s blanket
- All meals and accommodation whilst in competition.
Interim Cut-offs: these apply at various points along the route and riders need to pass through these points before the relevant cut-off times – this is to ensure that riders do not fall behind the final 26 day cut-off for the finish in Wellington. Missing one of these interim cut-offs will mean disqualification and leaving the trail with a DNF result.
The following cut-offs apply:
Due to the nature of the terrain and time of year, the Race Across South Africa is a physically and mentally demanding undertaking – to complete this challenge, riders need to be adequately trained, equipped and prepared. Apart from the fitness, riders also need to be proficient at navigation and bike maintenance.
The Race Across South Africa is an unforgettable adventure by bike which takes riders to remote parts of South Africa where they will experience the true splendour of the country and the warm hospitality of its people.
The entrance fee for the 2017 Race Across South Africa is R27200-00.
The Early Bird entry fee is R26500-00 (until the end of August 2016 only).