Waterberg Traverse

Respect Ramashia finished fourth in the solo men’s race, representing Summerplace. Photo by Justin Reinecke for ZCMC Media.

Sarah Hill and Jan Withaar won the inaugural Glacier Waterberg Traverse, in Summerplace Game Reserve; on Sunday, 5 May 2024.

The three-day Biogen-backed stage race featured a shorter distance Ride and a longer Race event to cater for a wider range of riders across varying skill and fitness levels. E-bikers were welcomed to the Limpopo Province too, and enjoyed the superb single track alongside their analogue companions.

A weekend of action

On Friday, stage 1 provided a hint of the riding on offer and showcased Summerplace’s newest trails. 

On Saturday, the Queen Stage presented more of a challenge as the route took in more of the reserve’s cross-country and even one of the Enduro lines. 

Sunday’s final stage wrapped up the riding with a spectacular day on the bike, complete with more singletrack and beautiful bushveld riding.

A clean sweep

Hill and Withaar both won all three stages in the solo women’s and solo men’s categories, en route to their overall titles.

For Hill the Glacier Waterberg Traverse was her first visit to Summerplace. “Stage 1 was a great scene setter for what was to come,” Hill started. “Then Stage 2 really showed off why mountain bikers rave about the riding here. It’s tough and technical at times, but so well built that even though I took some of the gap jumps blind it wasn’t a problem. I was also lucky to be racing Respect [Ramashia], who works at Summerplace, for most of the three days, so I had a local wheel to follow.”

“Today [Sunday] was just the best,” Hill continued enthusiastically. “In the final loop I heard Respect say ‘wow’ and then I saw a herd of giraffe running alongside us. I asked him what we should do because they were really close, and he said we should slow down. I thought they were going to cross the trail right in front of us, but then they veered off at the last second and eventually galloped off. They were so majestic!”

2024 Glacier Waterberg Traverse Results:

Solo Women’s General Classification:
1. Sarah Hill (7:46:15)
2. Yolande de Villiers (8:16:41)
3. Adrienne Moolman (8:25:45)

Waterberg Traverse

Glacier Waterberg Traverse women’s general classification podium, from left to right: Kim Smith from Glacier by Sanlam, Alan Gordon, Jan Withaar, and Shaun-Nick Bester. Photo by Sage Lee Voges for ZCMC Media.

Close racing

Withaar was pushed a little closer than Hill had been by Alan Gordon and Shaun Nick Bester. The former was the eventual champion’s closest competitor on Stages 1 and 2, but Withaar’s Summerplace experience told and he was able to distance the Insect Science rider on both occasions in the closing kilometres.

On Stage 3, Bester pushed Withaar all the way, but the Security 24/7 man was unwilling to concede defeat on even one day. He outsprinted the Bester Performance rider to take a clean sweep of stage victories and the overall title.

The solo men’s champion exemplified the Glacier Waterberg Traverse spirit. Not only did he win the race, but Withaar then pedalled back to a water point, on Stages 1 and 2, to indulge in the Dryland Event Management treats. This included steak, fresh off the braai, home baked banana bread and even a beer. Withaar also turned translator during prize giving on Saturday evening, translating French to English for the crowd.

“The trails here are incredible,” Withaar smiled. “But it’s also great to be able to enjoy the other side of the events, which I don’t usually get to do. Knowing Summerplace I could ride back to the water point and cheer on some of the other riders. And of course, to see what I miss every time I don’t stop at a water point!”

2024 Glacier Waterberg Traverse Results:

Solo Men’s General Classification:
1. Jan Withaar (6:37:11)
2. Alan Gordon (6:44:47)
3. Shaun-Nick Bester (6:46:11)

The Glacier Mountain Bike Series picks up again, in the Eastern Cape, in August. The Glacier Storms River Traverse takes place from 9-11 August, from the Tsitsikamma Village Inn. As the founding event in the series, it serves as the template for social mountain bike racing. To find out more about the race visit www.stormsrivertraverse.co.za.

Waterberg Traverse

The Glacier Waterberg Traverse provided thrilling trail riding in the Summerplace Game Reserve. Photo by Sage Lee Voges for ZCMC Media.