uBhejane Xtreme MTB
Challenge Media Release
Written by: Kyle Gilham
give critical support to rhinos at 2016 uBhejane Xtreme
Durban – Former Springbok captain and 2007 Rugby World Cup winner John
Smit and former Sharks centre Jeremy Thomson will join a small group of
intrepid mountain bikers who will tackle the gruelling uBhejane Xtreme MTB
Challenge on Saturday, 10 December in an effort to raise much needed
festive season funding for Project Rhino KZN.
The former KZN rugby legends join the likes of globally recognized
humanitarian Kingsley Holgate, world renowned adventurer Sibusiso Vilane
and the ‘Voice of Cycling’ Phil Liggett in a star-studded line-up for
“I think it was a moment of weakness and a fair bit of peer pressure that
saw me buckle,” laughs Smit about his signing up for the challenge.
“I’ve never done 240km in one go before and it sounds like a long, long
“It sounds like a long way on a road bike, let alone on a mountain bike!”
he chuckles anxiously.
22 brave souls will start at 02h00 on Saturday morning at Cadence Cycling
Performance Centre in Hillcrest, aiming to reach the Dolphin Coastal town
of Ballito by sunrise and the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve gates by
18h00 as they head for the finish line at Hilltop Camp.
Smit and Thomson have however opted to join those doing the 240km Short
Horn – a shorter but no less challenging task from Ballito to Hilltop Camp
as they do their bit for the highly endangered creatures.
“I love the bush, when I was younger our family grew up with the bush and
now we try take my kids to the bush whenever we can,” says Smit.
“But, with how things are going, we’re not sure how much longer these
magnificent creatures are going to be around for and if I don’t do
something about it then my grandkids may never get the chance to ever see
The cause is also a close one to Thomson’s heart. “The company I work for
has been behind Kingsley Holgate’s expeditions for many years now, so we
have very strong ties to him and the Rhino Art programme – which was his
brain child - in particular.
“Now to be a part of an event that Kingsley is linked to really is going
to be very special.
“It is critical that we all get together and get involved in these sorts
of events, campaigns and projects because without them the message just
doesn’t get out there and the money doesn’t come in.
“I feel obligated as a person to do my little bit.”
Thomson, like Smit, is secretively a little worried about the distance
too. “I’m not quite so worried about the legs as I am about my bum!”
laughs the Thule/PYGA Industries ace.
“This will be more than double what I’ve ever done in a day before, so it
will definitely be tough, but it’s for a great cause and with a great
bunch of people so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Being a ride rather than a race, taking in the whole experience is
something organisers encourage, especially as riders cover the final 35km
inside the game reserve,amidst the bushveld and the Big 5.
The sheer distance alone does however make this one of the most testing
one day mountain biking challenges in the country and will take a few
brave faces and much camaraderie within the groups to get everyone across
The 2016 uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge takes place from Hillcrest to
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve on Saturday, 10 December. Donations can be submitted and more
information found via
Click to download the hi-res
uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge
Logo - jpeg
Former Sharks centre Jeremy
Thomson (Thule/PYGA Industries) and 2007 Rugby World Cup winner John Smit
will join a small group of brave mountain bikers for this weekend's 340km
uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge from Hillcrest to Hluhluwe in support of
Project Rhino KZN's anti-rhino poaching efforts.
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