The rapid entry uptake for the Val de Vie MTB Expedition has created a lot of expectation for the 2nd edition of South Africa's new signature 3-Stage Mountain-bike race, which takes place on 7-9 October at Val de Vie Estate in Paarl.

The excitement has further been fuelled, so to speak, by the announcement today that Gauteng based wholesale fuel supplier Shesha Fuels has agreed to become the headline sponsor of the extremely popular event.

The race will now be known as the Shesha Fuels Val de Vie MTB Expedition, which is a fitting new title with Shesha meaning "hurry" in Zulu. The Expedition has certainly been in a hurry to position itself among the top mountain-bike stage races in the country and already sits comfortably among astute company after just one year of presentation.

"Many industry commentators were apprehensive when we launched the event amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Races were in turmoil and no other race organisers were contemplating new events," said race organiser Wynand de Villiers, who has also managed and pioneered stage race events such as TransCape, the Cape Winelands Encounter, Waterberg Encounter and Sanlam Invitational in recent years.

"The event had been in the making for more than a year, though. When we launched in March last year, we were quietly confident that the offering would set a new benchmark for mountain-bike stage races. We were overwhelmed. It immediately resonated with seasoned mountain-bikers, even amidst the challenges of Covid-19."

"We are delighted to welcome Shesha Fuels on board. We look forward to working with them to further craft the offering and ensure they gain traction in the Western Cape," said De Villiers.

Shesha Fuels supply low sulphur diesel of any capacity to a wide range of corporates, including a host of logistics and construction companies. Besides priding themselves on quick turnaround times, a big differentiator is that that have their own transport fleet, meaning they deliver efficiently and on time.

One of the Shesha Fuels directors, Sergio da Costa, took part in the inaugural Val de Vie Expedition and says the event is unequalled as far as the dynamic networking environment it presents. "Riders get to know each other on the bike on the challenging and rewarding trails of the Paarl-Franschhoek Valley, and off the bike at the luxurious Pearl Valley Hotel and Clubhouse.

"The offering is slick and truly high end. It's incredible what the race achieved in the first year and it's a perfect fit for our brand. We are branching out into the Western Cape in the coming year and the race presents a powerful vehicle to position our brand in this area," he said.

"My experience at the event was top class. It really runs like a well-oiled machine, just like our business," he smiled. "We believe in and are committed to the organisation's vision for the growth of the event."

According to De Villiers the Expedition sets a new benchmark for mountain-bike stage races. "Although we already had 400 riders who entered the inaugural event, we believe it's still very much in its fledgling phase. We are already busy with the planning of a duplicate event in the week leading up to the race weekend, which we will introduce once we reach the allotted 400 rider entry total for this year.

"To attract significant sponsorship this early in the event's journey is amazing. Some established stage races are having to box clever at the moment to reach their historic participant totals and to attract sponsorship."

According to De Villiers, his team put a lot of thought and research into the format, venue, hospitality and routes for the Expedition. "We feel that we have created an incredibly user friendly and comfortable off-the-bike experience, coupled with unequalled trails over a solidly challenging and rewarding 3-day racing format," he says.

"The allure of the incredible weekend offering is accentuated by staying, starting, finishing and eating at the same world-class venue every day. We couldn't ask for a better venue than the Pearl Valley Clubhouse and Pearly Valley Hotel by Mantis inside the award- winning Val de Vie Estate.

"It saves costs, time and logistical hassles. Many riders don't realise that tented accommodation, mobile kitchens etc provide similar logistical costs compared to staying at an upmarket venue with good food," he says.

Entries for the 2022 Shesha Fuels Val de Vie MTB Expedition are limited to 400 riders, and the 2nd edition of the event has seen an overwhelming uptake.


DATE | 7-9 OCTOBER 2-22

Friday 7 October Stage 1 Time Trial: 13h30
Saturday 8 October Stage 2: 07h30
Sunday 9 October Stage 3: 07h30

ROUTE: 3 Stages | 172km | 3850m ascent.

Stage 1: 20km Time Trail. Trail inclusions - Drakenstein Mountains | Val de Vie and Pearl Valley trails | 450m ascent

Stage 2 - 75km. Trail inclusions: Val de Vie Estate | Hawequas | Welvanpas | Beulha | Drakenstein Mountains | 1650m ascent

Stage 3 - 77km. Trail inclusions: Val de Vie Estate| Helshoogte| Banhoek | Boschendal | Plasir de Merle | Idas Valley Dam | Skyfall | Camissa | Klipwerf | Afterburner | Inferno | Sugarbowl | new Plaisir descent | ascent 1800m

Released by De Villiers National Cycling (Pty) Ltd