The fourteenth Imana Wild Ride took place on the full moon between 22nd – 25th July. The race was dominated by the formidable pairing of defending champion Warren Price and four-time previous winner Nick Floros. Team Safire led from start to finish, proving to be in a class of their own as they claimed the honours in an accumulated finishing time of nine hours, forty-seven minutes and 39sec over the four days of racing the tide. Cape Town duo Craig Woods and Tim Osrin (Harvest Foundation) held firmly onto second position some forty-three minutes back. The race was on for third place as positions changed constantly over the four days. In the end it was the talented Smith brothers, Pete and Mike, who claimed a deserved third place after a tough battle with Team Imana ‘Ballie & Broken’, Steve Stamp and Roan Exelby. The rookie team of Werner Moolman and Ivor Jones (Cycle & Sport) did well to claim fifth place in their first year when navigation plays a key role in determining race strategy.
In the Mixed teams, it was top veteran racer Ann Harrison and partner Russel de Jager (Dawn Wing) who claimed the title from defending champions Lindsey Chicken and Bjorn Vye. Placing seventh and tenth respectively in the general classification gave indication of the calibre of their racing. Bridgette Trollip and Craig Saunders (NH1) finished a solid third.
For the majority of the small field of one hundred and sixty participants, the Imana Wild Ride is not so much about the racing but more about the rare exhilaration of riding on pristine beaches and unspoilt coastline. There may be few places left on the planet where this type or riding is possible, making this race unique as a mountain biking adventure experience.
A large part of the success of the event can be attributed to the community give back policy instilled by the race organisers, together with title sponsor Imana Foods, right from the event’s inception fourteen years ago. This year, as a result of race proceeds and funds raised through the Wild Ride Education Company (WREC), three new classrooms equipped with desks and chairs, were donated to Qatywa Junior Secondary School in the remote Xora district. This totalled twenty-five classrooms built along the race route since 2006. It was a moving and humbling experience for several of the participants to be flown by helicopter to the classroom handover on the second day of the race, where they witnessed first-hand the joy their contributions have made.
RESULTS – OVERALL: N Floros & W Price (Team Safire) 9h47.39, C Woods & T Osrin (Harvest Foundation) 10h31.12, P Smith & M Smith (Smith Brothers) 11h25.14, S Stamp & R Exelby (Imana Ballie & Broken) 11h30.38, W Moolman & I Jones (Cycle & Sport) 11h52.45.
MIXED TEAMS: A Harrison & R de Jager (Dawn Wing) 12h20.01, L Chicken & B Vye (Vye Cycle Kit) 12h52.57, B Trollip & C Saunders (NH1) 14h46.26.