The 12 Noon cut-off on Monday 4th December brought to a close the 3rd edition of what is arguable the Toughest Race on Earth with 81 riders officially completing the grueling 1071km course from Bloemfontein to Diemersfontein Wine Estate in Wellington.
Of the 81 riders, the top 6 broke the previous record set by inaugural winner John Ntuli, with Portuguese rider Marco Martins leading the field home in an almost unbelievable time of 58 hours 5 minutes. First lady, Team Merchants rider Jeannie Dreyer, also crossed the line under the previous record to bring her category record down to 63 hour and 7 minutes.
The last rider home, Ryno de Kock, completed the route with only 22 minutes to spare, while Race Founder Alex Harris who rode “at the back of the filed to experience the race from an adventure rider’s perspective” finished with a few friends in just under 119 hours. For the first time 2 riders tackled The Munga on single speed bikes. David Cubbin finishing in 96 hours 49 minutes, and the character that is Max Menzies (riding in orange baggy pants and cotton tartan shirt) finished on his steel frame in 119 hours 7 minutes. Special mention should also go to Conraadt van den Heever finishing in 50th place on a Fat Bike – proving that The Munga is not just for Racing Snakes.
Lazarus Mashishi finished 3rd in the Development Category in what was his first ever MTB race!
For the first time the race also provided an adventure getaway for a married couple – 2 in fact. Bruce and Tracy Campbell finished in inside the Top 30 claiming the 3rd place in the Ladies’ race for Tracy, while Gavin and Jane Horton needed 117 hours 53 minutes to ride to Wellington.
In total, official finishers rode 86 751km, drank over 1000 pods of Starbucks coffee and smashed 1200l of Coca Cola, and more than 1500l of supplied water. They drank nearly 1000 Super M Chocolate milks in the heat of Karoo.
At Water Point 9, in the heart of the Tankwa Karoo where temperatures climbed into the mid-forties (this year’s weather was much milder than previous years’), riders consumed 15kg Wors, 144 Ciabata rolls, 72 eggs, 5kg of potatoes, 48 Clover Super M chocolate milks, 400l of water and a mountain of PowerBar products.