Sani Dragon prepped and ready for MTB enthusiasts

Photo - Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media

The final touches are being added as mountain bikers prepare to converge on the Southern Drakensberg towns of Underberg and Himeville for the 2017 Sani Dragon for the exciting two day adventure which includes a stage up and down Sani Pass, from 30 September to 1 October.

The two stage outing starts with a popular 50km opening day that takes the riders along the flowing single track that meanders through the pristine scenery and views that the Southern Drakensberg is famous for.

The second day, however, will deliver the real test, a 42km stage that will take riders to the summit of Sani Pass and back to their starting point at the Premier Resort Sani Pass. The Sani Dragon has the prestigious honour of being the only mountain bike race that incorporates a ride up and down Sani Pass.

There are two different races under the Sani Dragon banner. The two-day team event will be another exciting showdown this year with a number of pairs chasing race favourites Team TIB’s Andrew Hill and Reinhard Zellhuber.

The event also offers a two-day Sani Dragon Solo that sees riders take on the 92km route on their own. Hill’s former racing partner Tyronne White will be one of the riders to watch out for over the two days of solo racing.

The final race will be the Sani Dragon Lite that will also cover two days but will only take riders 35km and 26km on each day respectively.

Andrew Hill is no stranger to racing in the Southern Drakensberg having spent a lot of time riding through the hills and along to trails – including summiting Sani Pass.

He is joined in 2017 by the young Zellhuber, who won the 2016 edition of the Sani Dragon with Marc Fourie, to form a formidable combination that will be difficult to beat over the two days of racing.

The solo race’s favourite Tyronne White recently returned to riding and will be looking to get back into the winners circle. The man who has ridden many races with Andrew Hill has always been at the apex of KZN mountain biking and will be a difficult man to beat this year.

Grant Lavers finished first in the solo division of the race last year, but he will be lining up with Grant Underwood, who finished third in 2016 with Carel le Roux, as Team Hattons for the two-day race this weekend.

Team Hattons will provide the pre-race favourites Team TIB with their biggest threat over the testing 92km race.

Despite having finished third in the mixed category at the 2016 edition of the Sani Dragon, Grant Cowen and Lee MacPherson will take on the two day event in the solo category in 2017.

Team Walkeroo’s Rob and Angela Walker will be back this year following their impressive showing in the Sani Dragon Lite last year. The duo will be the only team in the Lite this year, however they will be racing just as hard.

The event will be based at the Premier Resort Sani Pass and takes place over the same period as the annual Underberg Farmer’s Association (UFA) Agricultural Show.