21 April 2019


Botha, Strydom shine at FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic

by: Jacky McClean   date: 08 june 2018

Wessel Botha and Danielle Strydom claimed the coveted title of FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic Champion at the ATKV Buffelspoort on Saturday, 2nd of June 2018, crossing the finishing line in impressive times of three hours six minutes three seconds and three hours 44 minutes 42 seconds respectively.

The men’s race was hotly contested by Tyronne White and Philimon Sebona (2017 FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic Champion) firmly in the mix.  

“I finished 2nd at the FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic in 2017 after experiencing a technical issue with my bike in the final kilometres,” said Botha.  “After 2017 the plan was to come back to the Monster to win, but I’ve been ill and literally only started training again two weeks ago. So, today I was only going to test my fitness level. I felt good on the Monster Climb though managing to open a small gap.  

“I pushed hard until I had a one minute lead. I then decided to ride my own race, keeping my tempo.  I didn’t ride too hard, always keeping something in the tank in case someone managed to catch me. Winning is a great confidence booster as I will be taking part in the upcoming SA Mountain Bike and Cross Country champs. The FNB Magalies Monster is a fantastic race.  The route is great and the last 20km is really tough. It’s a real monster,” admitted Botha.

Making his Magalies Monster debut on the day, White is really happy to be the runner-up.  “My father-in-law competed last year and couldn’t stop talking about how hectic it is.  This year we decided to make it a family weekend away. The event was fantastic, really rough and tough.  I’ve never seen so many rocks before.  

“My plan was to hold my power, ride within myself and finish strong. It worked.  I am very happy to finish 2nd. I would recommend the FNB Magalies Monster to everyone.  You experience a real feeling of accomplishment when you cross the finishing line,” said White.

Defending champion, Philimon Sebona, was hoping for a successful title defence, but was happy to round off the podium.  “Wessel Botha came back stronger and had a brilliant race. He once again broke away at the top of the Monster Climb, the same spot as last year.  I was 30 seconds behind him, but then I crashed and bent my bike’s derailleur. As a result, only nine of the gears were working. I did, however, have a good race and am happy with my position. The FNB Magalies Monster suits my riding style. This year we definitely had more competition, which made it interesting. I am looking forward to coming back in 2019.”

Danielle Strydom smashed the field in the women’s race. “This is the first year that I am riding under-23 and am old enough to take part in the full FNB Magalies Monster (70km).  

“I think I might have left my legs up on the Monster.  My plan was just to see how it goes and then take it from there.  I really enjoyed the race.  Crossing the finishing line first is an amazing experience. It definitely makes up for all the climbs,” said Strydom.

Sanet Coetzee crossed the finishing line in 2nd place.  “We take part every year and really enjoy the FNB Magalies Monster. It’s the best MTB race on the calendar.  My plan was to have fun and see where I finish. Crossing the finishing line in 2nd place is a bonus.”  

Nicolette Griffioen rounded off the women’s podium.

Keagan Bontekoning completed the +-35km FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic in 01:30:04.  Brendan van Eeden came in 2nd, while Wicus Breytenbach finished 3rd.

Jone van Eeden claimed gold in the women’s +-35km FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic in a time of 01:58:20.  Sunique van der Walt came in 2nd, while Rozalia Kubyana finished 3rd.

Shaan Immelman was the first rider home in the men’s +-15km FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic in a time of 00:37:31.  Ruben Gombos came in 2nd, while Christo Lombard finished 3rd.

Christina (Christelle) le Roux secured top spot on the podium in the women’s +-15km FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic in a time of 00:44:24. Nicole Botha came in 2nd, while Karla Mari Venter finished 3rd. 

“Well done to all participants and cycling enthusiasts who came out in numbers and put in sterling performances to continue making this event an outstanding success. This flagship event continues to gain prominence on the South African MTB calendar by not only providing an adrenaline-packed adventure to professional athletes, but also a fun memorable experience for clients, family and friends, along diverse routes with breath-taking scenery. Congratulations to the winners for a well-deserved victory. We look forward to seeing all of you again next year,” says FNB Private Wealth CEO, Eric Enslin.