The 2023 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, is set to take place from the 9th to the 12th of February, in the Koue Bokkeveld region of the Western Cape. Celebrating its tenth edition the race will not only feature a more challenging route but will also boast an exceptionally competitive elite men’s line-up. The headline battle is likely to be between the protagonists from the Momentum Medical Scheme Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen; Toyota Specialized and PYGA Euro Steel.

(Read all about the elite women’s line-up here)

Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje drew first blood in the 2023 season when the former sprinted to victory over PYGA Euro Steel’s new signing Alex Miller. Nortje finished best of the rest after 121 arduous kilometres of racing, on Saturday 21 January, while Philip Buys was left disappointed after an early mechanical ended his race within the opening kilometres. Thus the four-day UCI stage race will provide a ready opportunity for PYGA Euro Steel to either settle the score or for Toyota Specialized to extend their lead.

“It is an important race for us, because some of the world’s best riders come to race it,” Nortje stated. “This year it will not just be the top South African teams, like PYGA Euro Steel, Imbuko {type}DEV, Insect Science and Valley Electrical Titan Racing, but also Team Bulls and the KMC MTB Team. Alex [Miller] joining Phil [Buys] and Gert joining Valley [Electrical Titan Racing] changes things up a bit too, which is exciting.”

Tristan Nortje, of Toyota Specialized, is expecting a fiercely contested race and is looking forward to the South African teams taking the fight to the international visitors. Photo by Shift Media Co.

“To achieve a good result at the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, is important to us!” he continued. “It not only shows where the level of stage racing in South Africa is, but it also shows sponsors that the local riders are on a world class level. We saw that last year when the South African teams took the fight to Nino [Schurter] and [Filippo] Colombo and the Cannondale boys [Alan Hatherly and Simon Andreassen].”

“We are grateful for the sponsors, both our own and those of the event, for supporting us to be able to race against the world’s best on the best trails in South Africa,” the Toyota Specialized man smiled. “I learnt a lot from last year’s race, including that it is definitely one of the hardest races out there. The terrain is so demanding and your concentration must be high all the time.”

Along with Miller and Buys, Beers and Nortje will be up against two Imbuko {type}DEV teams, made up by Marco Joubert and Pieter du Toit, as well as by Wessel Botha and Rudi Koen. Insect Science Pro will also be represented by two squads, with Arno du Toit partnering Keagan Bontekoning; while Alan Gordon races alongside Herman Fourie. Valley Electrical Titan Racing’s new recruit Gert Heyns is set to line up with HB Kruger, leaving Matthew Keyser to ride with the team principle Rossouw Bekker.

Imbuko {type}DEV have two teams to call upon at the 2023 race and will be among the favourites for the title. Photo by Shift Media Co.

The South African favourites will have to stave off the international onslaught of the KMC MTB Racing, Team Bulls and KMC squads. Confusingly Bart Brentjens’s team were renamed to KMC MTB Racing in the off season, but should not be confused with the Dutch marathon and stage racing outfit KMC. The former will be represented by a cosmopolitan blend of riders. David Nordemann (Netherlands) partners Latvia’s Mārtiņš Blūms for KMC MTB Racing Team Men. Brentjens’ leading team will be supported by the KMC MTB Racing Team Men U23 combination of Oleksandr Hudyma (Ukraine) and Ole Sigurd Rekdahl (Norway).

The Dutch KMC team are represented by Tim Smeenge and Teus Ruijter. Ruijter was fifth overall at the 2022 Momentum Medical Scheme Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, in September alongside Gerben Mos. While Smeenge was second in the same race, also with Mos, in 2019. The pair thus have proven South African racing experience and are keen to showcase their skills in the Koue Bokkeveld too.

Team Bulls are also no strangers to South African racing. Urs Huber has won the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, before; though not with his current teammate Simon Schneller. He will also have the experience of, 2018 race winner, Alban Lakata to call upon. The three time marathon world champion will line up with Axel Roudil-Cortinat for the Bulls Mavericks. Huber and Schneller in particular, of the Bulls Heroes, will be among the top favourites for the title.

Tankwa Trek

Tristan Nortje will partner Toyota Specialized teammate Matt Beers (leading) for the first time in 2023 at the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. Photo by Shift Media Co.

The lesser local teams, who will likely be scraping for a top ten placing include the Enduro Planet teams; of Ockert Struwig and Charl Coetsee, and Erick Heyns and Pieter Korkie. As well as the Tipping Point Brink squad, of Keegan Tullis and David Low; the Trek SA team, of Justin Chesterton and Kai von During; and the Pump for Peace Racing men, Tumelo Makae (Lesotho) and Unathi Nxumalo. The final team in the 2023 elite line-up are Toyota Specialized’s development combination of Zola Ngxakeni and Ntlantla Nonkasa. Having raced the 2022 event, where they finished 37th overall, starting in the A Batch, any significant improvement on that result would serve them well for the rest of the season. What is clear though is that given the depth of the 2023 field, Nortje’s prediction of world class racing is almost certainly likely to come to fruition.

Competitive racing will not be limited to the elite men’s and women’s fields however. The race is instituting elite style leaders’ jerseys for the age category teams in 2023 too. First Ascent have since 2017 supplied Dryland Event Management with distinctive leaders’ jerseys for their UCI stage races. For the first time these jerseys will feature a white panel on the chest at this years’ Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. This allows the age category leaders to have their sponsors logos printed on the jerseys, after every stage, as has long been the case for the leading elite teams.

Tankwa Trek

The leading Veteran and Masters teams will have the honour of having their sponsors logos printed on their First Ascent leaders’ jerseys in 2023. Photo by Sage Lee Voges for

This allows the Veteran and Masters teams – like the Team Bulls Legends, Karl Platt and Udo Boelts – to show-off their sponsors, should they find themselves in the category lead. Platt and Boelts won the Veterans category in 2022 and start as favourites to retain their title in 2023. The over 50’s Masters category favourites are the 2022 third place finishers, Joel Stransky and Geoffrey Lee.


To watch the elite and category races unfold follow @tankwatrek on Twitter from the 9th to the 12th of February. Regular updates will also be posted to the @tankwatrek Instagram and Tankwa Trek Facebook stories, while race highlights and photo galleries will also be posted to Instagram and Facebook. For more information, or to recap on the 2023 route visit

Tankwa Trek

Insect Science Pro – like Valley Electrical Titan Racing, Imbuko {type}DEV and KMC MTB Racing – have two teams in the race. Photo by Shift Media Co.

2023 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, Elite Men’s Line-Up

Team Name Rider Names


Tipping Point Brink Keegan Tullis South Africa
David Low South Africa
KMC MTB Racing Team Men David Nordemann Netherlands
Mārtiņš Blūms Latvia
KMC MTB Racing Team Men U23 Oleksandr Hudyma Ukraine
Ole Sigurd Rekdahl Norway
Toyota Specialized Matt Beers South Africa
Tristan Nortje South Africa
Imbuko Type Dev A Marco Joubert South Africa
Pieter du Toit South Africa
Imbuko Type Dev B Wessel Botha South Africa
Rudi Koen South Africa
KMC Tim Smeenge Netherlands
Teus Ruijter Netherlands
Enduroplanet Ockert Struwig South Africa
Charl Coetsee South Africa
Insect Science Arno du Toit South Africa
Keagan Bontekoning South Africa
Insect Science 2 Alan Gordon South Africa
Herman Fourie South Africa
Enduroplanet Racing 2 Erick Heyns South Africa
Pieter Korkie South Africa
Trek SA Justin Chesterton South Africa
Kai von During South Africa
Pump for Peace Racing Tumelo Makae Lesotho
Unathi Nxumalo South Africa
Bulls Heroes Urs Huber Switzerland
Simon Schneller Germany
Bulls Mavericks Alban Lakata Austria
Axel Roudil-Cortinat France
PYGA Euro Steel Philip Buys South Africa
Alex Miller Namibia
Valley Electrical Titan Racing Gert Heyns South Africa
HB Kruger South Africa
Valley Electrical Titan Racing 2 Matthew Keyser South Africa
Rossouw Bekker South Africa
Toyota Specialized 2 Zola Ngxakeni South Africa
Ntlantla Nonkasa South Africa
Tankwa Trek

The Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, boasts not only stellar elite fields but also world class media coverage; providing teams, and their sponsors, with an additional reason to take on the challenges of the four-day UCI stage race. Photo by Shift Media Co.

2023 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen

Dates: 9 – 12 February 2023
Venue: Kaleo Guest Farm, Koue Bokkeveld, Ceres, Western Cape, South Africa
Distance & Climbing: 270km with 5 320m
Stage 1: 29.4km with 460m
Stage 2: 88km with 1 700m
Stage 3: 98km with 2 200m
Stage 4: 54.4km with 960m
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