Newcastle mountain bikers Rowan Bernstein and Chris van der Linde return to the 2016 Fedauto Sani Dragon in association with Mortimer Toyota on Friday 30 September and Saturday 1 October eager for another memorable two days of riding and an improved performance from their tenth placed effort last year.
With exciting young talents Reinhard Zullhuber and Marc Fourie donning Fedauto’s colours this time around, Bernstein and Van der Linde, representing Mortimer Toyota, hope for another strong showing while again focusing on enjoying their time in Southern Drakensberg.
“The Fedauto Sani Dragon in association with Mortimer Toyota is just a brilliant event that Chris and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of last and can’t wait to take part in again this year,” beams Bernstein.
“We’ve trained hard throughout the winter and made some big gains so it would be nice to improve on our top ten finish from last year, but if we could just improve on our time – ideally by about forty minutes or so – then we’d still be really pleased.”
Tackling the Sani Dragon rather than the shorter Sani Dragon Lite, Bernstein and Van der Linde are regular riding partners and return to this year’s event with fond memories from last year’s race still at the forefront of their minds.
“The Sani Dragon is one you just have to pencil onto the calendar and a race we will be coming back to every single year!” says Bernstein
“We just had a such a lekker time last year and couldn’t wait for entries to open so that we could book our spot at this year’s race.
“I talk about the Sani Dragon to absolutely everyone back at home and its great that we’re going to have another team from Newcastle joining us for this year’s race!”
While the first stage showcases the district spectacularly, the climb up Sani Pass to the first line on day two remains a stiff challenge for many.
For Bernstein and Van der Linde though, the effort on the climb is rewarded with interest upon reaching the summit and crossing the finish line.
“There is no doubt about it – the climb up Sani Pass is testing for sure.
“Chris is a bit of a mountain goat, so I just let him go and do my best to get up there as quickly as I can.
“Hopefully this year I can stick with him a bit longer than I did last year.
“Either way though, when you get to the top you realise it was worth all that hard work and more as take in that absolutely incredible view from up there!
“Also, having crossed the finish line at the top, you’re then able to make your way back down at your leisure and I don’t think I’ve ever stopped and taken quite as photos during a race as I did as we came down Sani Pass last year,” explains Bernstein.
Joining Fedauto’s Zellhuber and Fourie and Mortimer Toyota’s Bernstein and Van der Linde at this year’s Sani Dragon are Fedauto/Russell White’s Heinrich Zellhuber – Reinhard’s younger brother – and Ethan Richard.
The 2016 Fedauto Sani Dragon in association with Mortimer Toyota takes place on Friday 30 September and Saturday 1 October. Entries can be submitted and more information found at www.sanidragon.co.za.