Illovo Eston MTB Challenge Media Release

No: eston1907

02 Aug 2019

Embargo: None

      Written By: Nick Tatham

Classic Eston MTB Challenge expected this weekend

Eston – The local farming community is gearing up to welcome athletes and their families to the 17th edition of the famous Illovo Eston MTB Challenge and mountain bikers and trail runners alike can look forward to the trademark Eston Farmers Club warm hospitality on Sunday, 4 August.

The weather service is predicting a pristine winters day for the men and women making the journey into the KwaZulu-Natal sugarcane belt to take on one of the six events that are on offer during the day.

With four different options of the two-wheeled variety, there is something for the racing snakes and the more leisurely weekend warrior.

The Illovo 60km Marathon has always been seen as one of the jewels of the KZN mountain biking calendar and this year it will follow it’s iconic route, with the province’s top mountain bikers set to fight for honours.

2018 champion Stuart Marais will be on the start line once again this year. The Howick resident cantered to victory by over six minutes last year and will be hoping to repeat his efforts from twelve months ago.

If Marais was to win this weekend it will be a hat-trick of Eston titles for the star who also won in 2017.

Current Quattro ROAG Series, presented by Momentum, leader Tyronne White has already wrapped up the series title but to have the title of Eston MTB Challenge winner adds an extra level of prestige to the seasons credentials so you could well see him on the start line too.

Young Julian Jessop has been focusing on the cross country format for much of the year but could be a presence at the event having not won it before. He was in line to win in 2017 until he was pipped at the post by Marais.

From a ladies perspective one would be hard pressed to look further than Titan Racing’s Tiffany Keep to find your winner.

The Under-23 star is coming off a recent victory at the South African XCO Championships and will be licking her lips at the prospect of winning a maiden Illovo Eston MTB Challenge crown.

Earlier in the season she had to settle for second at the Sappi Karkloof Classic after she took a wrong turn during the race, however she will be slightly more cautious this weekend.

Karkloof winner and national junior XCO champion Frances Janse van Rensberg will be a contender should she be racing; however she will need to ride the race of her life if she is to beat Keep.

Christie-Leigh Hearder has all but wrapped up the women’s title in the Quattro ROAG Series but will need a strong finish at Eston if she wants to claim the honours with two events to go after the Eston leg.

From a trail running perspective the ROAG Series honours are still very much up for grabs with a title-chasing quartet still fighting it out.

Mdu Zondi, Nomore Mandivengerei, Linda Zondi and Innocent Skhumbuzo are all in with a shout for the overall series prize purse and the 18km trail run at this weekend’s Eston MTB Challenge will shed some light on who the overall champion might be.

From a ladies running perspective Sarah Gray has all but wrapped up the ROAG Series title, however she will need to take part in one of the final three events starting this weekend at Eston.

Su Don-Wachope dominated the ladies race in 2018 winning by just under two minutes; however we might have a first-time winner at this year’s event.

There are a number of other events on offer with a aQuellé 40km Half marathon for the mountain bikers, the STIHL Tala Fun Ride for those wanting to get close to nature in the Tala Collection Private Game Reserve.

There is also a 10km Omnia Kids ride for the little ones cutting their teeth in the mountain biking world.

There is also a shorter 9km trail run on offer for those that aren’t quite prepared for the full 18km showdown.

The event channels it’s proceeds into the local community in collaboration with its sponsor Illovo, targeting Gcewu High School who will receive new school uniforms, and Putellos Combined School and Sibusisiwe High School which have started vegetable gardens and will receive training and skills development.

More information can be found at


Sunday, 4 August 2019
Venue: Eston Farmers Club, KZN
Start Times, Distances & Entry Fees:
06h30 - 18km Trail Run (Pre-entry - R140, Late entry - R160)
06h45 - 9km Trail Run (Pre-entry - R100, Late entry - R120)
08h30 - 60km Illovo Eston Marathon (Pre-entry - R220, Late entry - R250)
09h00 - 40km aQuellé Eston Half Marathon (Pre-entry - R180, Late entry - R210)
09h30 - 18km STIHL Tala Family Ride (Pre-entry - R140, Late entry - R160)
10h00 - 10km Omnia Kids Ride (Pre-entry - R70, Late entry - R80)


Enter via ROAG ( Late entries will be accepted at the venue on the day.

Each race is limited to 800 riders so make sure that you get that entry in ASAP!

At Eston Farmers' Club on Sunday, 4 August from 05h30-09h30.


Photo Caption Photographer
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Expedient Africa's Stuart Marais will be hoping to claim a hat-trick of wins at the 2019 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Despite never winning the Illovo 60km Marathon, Titan Racing's Tiffany Keep will be back to go one better at the 2019 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Trail runners will be in for a treat as they take on the trails just after sunrise at the 2019 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Good, wholesome family fun is the order of the day at the 2019 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

The Tala Collection Private Game Reserve will once again play host to the STIHL Tala Fun Ride, a massive hit with the young riders and families alikeat the 2019 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

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