The 2023 B-Well Around the Pot, presented by SEESA, is set to take place on Saturday, 29 July. Along with hundreds of enthusiastic and avid gravel riders the event has attracted some of the country’s top gravel racers. The fields are split between the 100 and 200 Mile courses, with riders like Gert Heyns, Pieter du Toit, Yolande de Villiers and Cherise Willeit taking on the 100-Miler distance, while Kevin Benkenstein, Drikus Coetzee and Rebecca van Huyssteen headline the 200-Miler.
In the flagship 100-Miler distance the men’s race will see a battle between the Imbuko Giant and Valley Electrical Titan Racing, with a few interlopers providing some spice. Du Toit, Wessel Botha and Franko van Zyl will line up in the blue and white of Imbuko Giant. While the men in the predominantly black kit will be Heyns, Rossouw Bekker and Matthew Keyser. If team dynamics come into play the Imbuko Giant and Valley Electrical Titan Racing squads are evenly matched.
They will however have to keep an eye on the racers without team support too. Former South African Road Champion and finisher of all three Grand Tours, Jaco Venter could excel on the rolling roads of the Overberg. As could Rogan Smart and CP Van Wyk. The evergreen talent of Ben Melt Swanepoel can never be overlooked. Dan Loubser, Kelton Miller and coach to a number of the elite racers’ Reece McDonald will likely be in contention for top ten positions. An outsider to watch is one of South Africa’s top age group triathletes, Ewert Kleynhans. The man from the presenting sponsors, SEESA, is no stranger to ultra rides and could surprise some of the more established off-road racers.
The women’s field in the 100-Miler distance sees the defending champion, De Villiers take on a small but powerful group of competitors. Along with Willeit, who is undefeated since making her gravel debut in May. The experienced duo will have the youthful exuberance of the double South African road champion, Frances Janse van Rensburg and track speedster Ashleigh Parsons. At 22 and 23 the pair’s combined age is still younger than that of the defending champion, yet De Villiers is unlikely to be bothered by that fact. She showed last year that winning the B-Well Around the Pot, presented by SEESA, can come down to intelligent tactical decisions as much as it does to form on the day.
2022 saw the inaugural 200-Miler taking place, with Freddie Visser setting a time of 13 hours, 10 minutes and 28 seconds as the first benchmark. This year the defending champion will have the fire power of Benkenstein and Coetzee to deal with. The former is South Africa’s most celebrated ultra-endurance racer, while the latter is a Namibian phenom who loves a long-range solo effort. Alongside the big guns for the 2023 race are challengers like Dean Hopf, 2022 runner up Henry Muller and last year’s third place finisher Bruere Kloppers.
In the women’s race the defending champion, Van Huyssteen, starts as firm favourite. She will once again have to see off Tyla Setzkorn and Francis Visser, who were second and third last time out, as well as a few new contenders. The primary of which are Nicola Freitas and Courteney Webb. Freitas is an indefatigable rider who appears to get stronger as the distance increases, while Webb has proven her class on the road after making a name for herself as an eSports racer, in 2020.
The 2023 B-Well Around the Pot, presented by SEESA, will get underway with the 200-Miler start at 21:00; on Friday 28 July. The 100-Miler action kicks off at 07:15; on Saturday, 29 July. To stay up-to-date with the racing like the Around the Pot Facebook page and follow @around_the_pot on Instagram. For more information visit www.aroundthepot.co.za.
2023 B-Well Around the Pot
|Race Date||28 & 29 July 2023|
|25 Miler||42km with 500m of climbing|
|60 Miler||98km with 1 500m of climbing|
|100 Miler||160km with 2 350m of climbing|
|200 Miler||320km with 3 900m of climbing|
|Around the Pot|