Winter Trail Riding Pilgrimage to #3 Van Gaalen, 10 June 2023

The annual pilgrimage of trail-riding fanatics to Van Gaalen Cheese Farm for King Price Trailseeker #3, 2023, was another epic one for the books.

Winter was in the air on the morning of 10 June when 2000 mountain bikers, another record-breaking turnout since Covid, arrived for a fabulous day of riding at Van Gaalen Trail Park. But soon, the sun was out in full force, and we were graced with a balmy winter’s day, perfect for winter cruising!

Once riders found themselves out on the route, bombing down super fun single track, cruising along speedy gravel straights, powering up Snake Bite and holding on for dear life down the other side, or blasting through thick reed tunnels along the River Trail, that they realised, yet again, why they keep returning to the magic that is Van Gaalen.

The trails are simply that alluring! 

A rider from Team Exxaro going up Snakebite
The famous reed tunnel

The superb riverside race village overlooking the Skeerpoort River lent itself perfectly to hosting a happy day of cycling festivities. Live music by Christiaan Baartman, a vibey Barrel & Beer tent and exciting kids activities provided wholesome family entertainment. 

“It’s so cool out there. The riding is really lekker!” – Sam Sanders
“The nice thing about Van Gaalen is that it has everything: the open power sections, the long gravel strips, and then the technicality at the end. I mean, who doesn’t wanna be here?” – Sarah Hill

Elite Racing

The Elite Men raced superbly. Michael Foster set a blistering pace from the start, but after crashing, getting back onto the lead group, only to be halted yet again by a technical issue, had to concede the race to Johan Fourie De Villiers who rode brilliantly. Herman Fourie followed within seconds, with our Series leader Jan Withaar in third.

The Elite Ladies’ race was also not without mishaps. A bunch of four ladies, containing Sam Sanders, Sarah Hill, Cherise Willeit and Steph Wohlters, took the lead early on, Sam Sanders pacing them steadily up the first climb. She cranked up the pace on the second big climb managing to open up a gap, and raced home to win comfortably 5 minutes ahead of Sarah Hill. Cherise Willeit and Steph Wohlters had unfortunate crashes allowing Nicolette Griffoen to step in and claim the third spot on the podium in a strong ladies’ field.Β 


70 km Elite Men

πŸ₯‡ Johan Fourie de Villiers | 02:41:13

πŸ₯ˆ Herman Fourie | 02:41:29

πŸ₯‰ Jan Withaar | 02:42:51

70 km Elite Ladies

πŸ₯‡ Sam Sanders | 03:12:39

πŸ₯ˆ Sarah Hill | 03:17:55

πŸ₯‰ Nicolette Griffioen | 03:26:21

40 km Men

πŸ₯‡ Beon Van Staden | 01:31:31

πŸ₯ˆ Stephan Aldum | 01:31:38

πŸ₯‰ Zane Czepek | 01:32:06

40 km Ladies

πŸ₯‡ Nika Duffin | 01:41:58

πŸ₯ˆ Rachel Jane Green | 01:55:36

πŸ₯‰ Gizelde Strauss | 01:55:44

20 km Boys

πŸ₯‡ Michael Kanis | 00:45:13

πŸ₯ˆ Liam Espach | 00:45:22

πŸ₯‰ William Pienaar | 00:45:23

20 km Girls

πŸ₯‡ Bella Grobler | 00:52:42

πŸ₯ˆ Danika Lombard | 00:52:58

πŸ₯‰ Aimee-leΓ« Lotter | 00:53:00

Congratulations on conquering arguably the toughest Trailseeker in the Series. Time to celebrate!

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone in the Trailseeker community for coming out and spending the day with us! #3 Van Gaalen was a true celebration of outdoor adventure, trail riding and being active together.

We hope you loved it as much as we did.

Next up is #4 Sondela, 1 July 2023. See you there!

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