Portugal's mountain bike rider Marco Martins will defend his 2017 Munga title later this year. Photo: The Brand Factory

BLOEMFONTEIN – With the fourth edition of The Munga MTB race taking place from November 28, the defending champion, Marco Martins from Portugal, has confirmed his entry.

This will the first time in the race’s history that an overall winner returns to defend his title.

This mountain bike race is for the toughest of riders. It consists of a 1 060km route from Bloemfontein to Doolhof Wine Estate in Wellington in the Cape and is non-stop, with a 120-hour cut-off time as competitors travel through the desolate Karoo and Tankwa valley.

Having set a new course record of 58 hours and 5 minutes in 2017, Marco will not be resting on his laurels. 

“I’m going to try (better my time). With my experience, I have understood what did not go too well for me and where I can do better. But with such a long race like The Munga it will not be easy," he says. 

Marco has been in high demand on the European endurance circuit with several invitations to races there. Still, he remains humble and continues to ride his Trek Top Fuel that took him to Munga victory. 

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He admits though that there will be a few small modifications to the dual-suss machine. 

Marco believes that more European riders will journey south for the 2018 edition and several top local riders have The Munga in their sights. This makes for a great prospect of tight, fast racing at the front of the field.

Marco’s advice to first-time ‘Mungateers’ is to never underestimate the route or the climate and to stick to a good nutrition and hydration plan. 

With entries closing at the end of October, riders should get their entries in soon, as over two-thirds of the race is already subscribed, showing continued growth for The Munga. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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