Underberg – After the relaxation of the December holidays, the year’s mountain biking action kicks into gear with the Euro Steel Drak Descent getting underway in the Southern Drakensberg this Saturday.

The two-day mountain biking event has become a staple for the off-road community in KwaZulu-Natal and with some exclusive access to trails in and around Underberg town the appeal of the event is enticing.

Riders have the option of taking on the full Euro Steel Drak Descent or they can challenge themselves on the shorter Euro Steel Drak Descent MTB Challenge. Despite it being the shorter option, it is no less exciting for riders that might not have put in their hard yards in training.

The full Drak Descent includes a 44km first stage from Restmount on the Drak Gardens road to the Swartberg Road Bridge while the second and final stage is a 50km ride from the Thukeyane Farm School outside the Olde Duck to the finish at Early Mist Farm.

The shorter MTB Challenge starts and finishes at the same venue on the first day however on say two it will start and finish at the Thukeyane Farm School. The MTB Challenge covers 25km on stage one and then 20km on stage two.

Over the years the race has become an important early season hit-out for the PYGA Euro Steel team and this year they will be back for the weekend that doubles up as an important pre-Absa Cape Epic tune-up and a crucial sponsorship engagement.

Having joined the PYGA Euro Steel team in 2022 as one of their young riders, 2022 champion at the Drak Descent Michael Foster will be back to try and defend his title.

The event twelve months ago played an important role in getting Foster onto his first professional MTB team, and this year he will be hoping to repay their faith in the young rider from Ixopo who has intimate knowledge of the routes.

Foster will be riding in the individual race with the rest of the PYGA Euro Steel team taking on the team race.

The PYGA Euro Steel team has also entered two teams into the race with their experienced ace Philip Buys teaming up with new team member Alex Miller while Wian van den Bergh will ride with Pressmore Musundi.

Amongst the challengers for the team title this year will be the DriveTrain squad from Ballito. Tyronne White will be bringing a strong contingent from the North Coast and he and partner Josh Johnson as he looks to introduce the youngster into the stage racing fraternity.

The Tipping Point/Brink Academy team of David Low and Keegan Tullis will also be on the start line hoping to produce a strong display over the two days.

Durban North’s Hayley Smith will be back to race the Drak Descent again this year after finishing as the first mixed team in 2022 with partner Dale Allen. This year though the Bell Equipment star will be racing as an individual hoping to take the overall women’s title.

Drak Descent – 8:00am
MTB Challenge – 9:30am

All start at 7:30am

Drak Descent and Challenge MTB – Start @ Restmount
Drak Descent and Challenge MTB – Finish @ Swartberg Bridge

Drak Descent and Challenge MTB – Start @ Thukeyane Farm School
Drak Descent – Finish @ Umzimkulu River Lodge
Challenge MTB – Finish @ Thukeyane Farm School

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