The Shesha Fuels Val de Vie MTB Expedition 3-Stage Race is now widely regarded as the complete package as far as mountain-bike trails and event hospitality is concerned. However, there is something that transcends these elements which has catapulted the race to the top of the pile in South African mountain-biking, believes respected South African rider HB Kruger (Team Valley Electrical Titan Racing).

“There is an alure about the race that I hadn’t experienced before, something that has positioned it on a different level compared to other races,” says Kruger, who lives down the road from Val de Vie Estate in Paarl.

“There was something really special about the engagement between riders; it was as if a bunch of seasoned elder statesmen in the sport came together; riders who had done and seen everything before. The delightful warm atmosphere at the Pearl Valley race village didn’t have its equal in any other event I’d experienced.”

HB is not usually one for many words or for being outspoken (he does all his “talking” on the bike!), but he believes the Val de Vie MTB Expedition will become the most popular MTB stage race in South Africa.

“The positioning of Val de Vie Estate and the essence of its incredible value offering, linked to the trails and the beauty of the surroundings, serves up a match made in heaven.

“All the stages start and finish in one spot. Val de Vie Estate is nestled in the epicentre of a cauldron surrounded by mountains on all sides that host an abundance of some of the best trails in South Africa, and it’s situated in one of the most beautiful valleys in the country.

“The kicker is that it’s only a half hour’s drive on the freeway from Cape Town!

“Another important factor is that Paarl is probably the fastest growing and one of the most sought after suburban areas in South Africa. A number of people are moving from Gauteng and other parts of the country to come and settle here.”

“I suppose another reason for its quick rise is that the offering came at a time when many riders were perhaps becoming bored with other races, which hadn’t changed much over the years,” he says.

“The conceptualisation of the race in the midst of Covid-19 was a remarkable brain wave and Wynand (de Villiers) has enough experience and expertise to build it into a sought after commercial proposition for sponsors.”