After a three-year hiatus the 2024 Champions Race, presented by fibertime™️, proved once again why it was a mainstay of the packed March cycling calendar, on Wednesday evening. Riders and fans alike were treated to a late afternoon of fantastic racing and an electrifying atmosphere; as the streets and footpaths of Kayamandi played host to some of the world’s best mountain bikers. With teams gearing up for the Absa Cape Epic, which starts on Sunday, the 20 minute plus 1 lap efforts were a bit outside of the training the elite riders have been putting in recently, yet both the men’s and women’s elite races were fiercely contested; before Matt Beers and Anne Terpstra emerged victorious.

For the first time in the event’s decade long history the races were live-streamed, on fibertime™️ TV. With the support of the pay-as-you-go fibre internet provider and Ineos Grenadier, the rugged 4×4, was able to host not only the elite races but also an E-MTB showpiece. The electric bikes got the racing underway and former E-MTB World Championship Top 10 finisher, Matt Lombardi displayed the skills which have made him the two-time South African Enduro Champion.


The streets and footpaths of Kayamandi, outside Stellenbosch, played host to the world’s best mountain bikers for the first time since 2020 as the Champions Race, presented by fibertime™️, was revived. Photo by Max Sullivan.

Lombardi was pushed throughout the race by Michard Meets, the Stellenbosch based skills coach. Behind the battle for first, Tim Wilkins won the Specialized Bicycles office race, holding off the boss, Bobby Behan, and a number of colleagues, to take third. With the crowd warmed up by Lombardi and Co’s antics the elite women’s race got underway.

The short, cross-country short track style, race allowed some of the women who will be facing off in the UCI Women’s category at the Absa Cape Epic get sense of each other’s form. Though as they were all eager to point out, a 25 minutes all-out effort is hardly a gauge of marathon stage race preparation. Nonetheless the presence of both Ghost Factory Racing riders, as well as Efficient Infiniti Insure SCB SRAM’s Vera Looser and Alexis Skarda, Toyota Specialized NinetyOne’s Samara Sheppard, as well as Danielle Strydom, Sarah Hill and a number of other fiercely competitive women ensured a tremendous race.

Michard Meets

Michard Meets launching his E-MTB into the fibertime™️ Speed Trap descent. Photo by Max Sullivan.

Skarda led an elite group, which formed on the opening lap, though the start/finish straight. This group included Terpstra, Nicole Koller, Looser, Sheppard and Strydom. After three laps of racing the Ghost Factory Women began to exert their dominance and it became clear the battle for victory would be fought out by Terpstra and her teammate, Koller. Only after the bell rang for the final lap did the two-time UCI Mountain Bike World Cup winner edge away from Koller, and secure the top step of the podium by a narrow but definitive margin. Behind the Ghost Factory Racing squad Skarda rounded out the podium.

In the men’s race the pace was high from the off with the various Specialized team riders taking turns to push the tempo. Initially Namibian XCO, XCM and Road Champion Alex Miller dictated the pace, with Howard Grotts. As the race wore on Beers pulled an elite selection, which included Konny Looser, Jaroslav Kulhavy, Arno du Toit and young Toyota Specialized racer, Johan van Zyl across the 50 metre gap which Miller and Grotts had established. Once Beers hit the front there was no stopping the double Absa Cape Epic winner.

Matt Beers

Matt Beers leading Alex Miller into the penultimate lap of the race. Photo by Max Sullivan.

He forced his way to the fore and thinned the pack to just himself and Miller. Behind Du Toit, Grotts and Van Zyl were locked in a three-way battle for third. On the final lap Beers created a half-second gap on his factory teammate which he held to the line. Having passed through the bell in fifth place, dangling dangerously off Insect Science’s Du Toit and Toyota Specialized’s Van Zyl, Grotts powered through the last lap and secured a hard-fought podium place alongside Beers and Miller.

To relive more of the excitement from the 2024 Champions Race, presented by fibertime™️, follow @songoinfo on Instagram and like the Facebook page. The charity is now gearing up for the 2024 Absa Cape Epic where they will be represented by six teams. Headlining the squads at the Untamed African Mountain Bike race are the dual champions squad of Beers and Grotts, who will be racing as Toyota Specialized NinetyOne. They will be supported by Miller and Van Zyl, of Toyota Specialized. The Toyota Specialized NinetyOne elite women’s team, of 2022 Absa Cape Epic winner Sofía Gómez Villafañe and Oceania XCM Champion Samara Sheppard, will also be wearing the logos on their sleeves.

Champions Race

Women’s podium (from left to right): Christoph Sauser ( Founder), Nicole Koller, Anne Terpstra and Alexis Skarda. Photo by Max Sullivan.

The main charity drive from at the Absa Cape Epic will be conducted by Programme Manager Sipho Madolo and Charity Trustee Nic Lamond. Madolo is racing alongside former BMX coach, Darryn Stow, and their efforts can be supported via GivenGain. Lamond is partnered by Peter Calitz and is also raising funds on GivenGain. also boasts an Exxaro Jersey competition team in the 2024 race. Zizo Tshingana will be making his Absa Cape Epic debut with defending category champion, Ntlantla Nonkasa. The race will be a learning and growing experience for Tshingana as both he and Nonkasa will be eligible for the Exxaro competition for few more years.

Ntlantla Nonkasa

Ntlantla Nonkasa (leading) will race the Absa Cape Epic in the Exxaro Jersey competition alongside debutant Zizo Tshingana. Photo by Troy Squires.

2024 Champions Race, presented by fibertime™️, Results:

Men’s Champions:

  1. Matt Beers: Toyota Specialized NinetyOne
  2. Alex Miller: Toyota Specialized
  3. Howard Grotts: Toyota Specialized NinetyOne

Women’s Champions:

  1. Anne Terpstra: Ghost Factory Racing
  2. Nicole Koller: Ghost Factory Racing
  3. Alexis Skarda: Efficient Infiniti Insure SCB SRAM
Champions Race

Men’s podium (from left to right): Christoph Sauser ( Founder), Alex Miller, Matt Beers, Howard Grotts and Sipho Madolo ( Programme Manager). Photo by Max Sullivan.

E-MTB Champions:

  1. Matt Lombardi: Trek
  2. Michard Meets: Daisyway Coaching Systems Specialized
  3. Tim Wilkins: Specialized Bicycle South Africa

For more information on the charity and their impact on the community of Kayamandi please visit