The Freedom Challenge

The Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa is an "unsupported" non-stage mountain bike race of approximately 2,300 km across South Africa. While recent winners have won in around 11 days, the race cut-off is 26 days. The race starts in Pietermaritzburg in early-to-mid-June, and ends in Paarl near Cape Town. Temperatures are known to drop as low as minus-10 deg. Celsius. While there are periodic "support stations" which will feed and accommodate riders should they require, the race is unsupported in the sense that riders must carry their own clothing and equipment, are responsible for their own maintenance and navigation (without the aid of GPS), and there are no marshalls or safety officials on the course (Race monitoring is done by satellite tracking). Estimates of cumulative ascent are around 37,000 metres, and the highest point on the route is approximately 2,700 metres above sea level. See the following link for an introductory slideshow by Mike Roy -

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Rider progress stats as at 29 June - Still 26 riders out on the course

What a race it was to the finish at Diemersfontein yesterday between Martin Dreyer and Alex Harris, with Dreyer setting a new race record of 10 days, 16 hours and 40 minutes, one that will be hard to beat.

On his way to achieving this feat, Martin Dreyer averaged a speed of 8.47km/hour, and that is a continuous measurement from start to finish, including al rests/sleeps (and collisions with trucks) etc.

The 2nd placed Alex Harris also beat his prevous record, coming in 3 minutes less than 11 days, and averaging a speed of 8.24km/hour.

So the memorable excitement created by the 2 race leaders is over, but the rest of the riders still have some way to go before Diemersfontein.

Third-placed Merrell Adventure Racer Graham Bird is averaging 6.6km/hour, and is currently somewhere in Die Hel, 300+ kms from Diemersfontein. Although well-behind the top 2, he could conceivably end the race in 13-14 days, not far outside Harris' last year's record - not to be scoffed at. He looks fairly comfortable in 3rd place, while Trevor Ball and Mike Woolnough  have 2 chasers in the form of Allen Sharp and Richmond McIntyre not far behind so the 4th place could be more hotly contested.

And in the ladies' event, the sole survivor Dawn Bell keeps soldiering on, having reached Willowmore yesterday. She rode the Baviaans from Cambria yesterday, skipping Damsedrif, and is now on 25 day pace, having been behind 26 day schedule earlier in the race due to some mishaps.

20 riders have withdrawn during the race, leaving a potential 28 finishers, of which 2 have finished.

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