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26 Jul, 2016

African Wild Dog Wins Big at the 2016 Old Mutual iMfolozi MTB Challenge

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After a 55km battle for the title of the 2016 Old Mutual iMfolozi MTB Challenge, Klaas Meintjies and Neville Schuit chose to cross the line together as joint winners.Ideal weather conditions presented themselves which saw riders burning up the course through the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve and shaving more than an hour off the 2015 winning time.

Klaas and Neville finished in two hours and 32 minutes, a whopping one hour and 18 minutes faster than last year’s winning time.Third place went to Michael Montgomery who completed the course in two hours and 43 minutes.

The women’s race of 2016 was won by Elaine Carter-Brown in three hours and 21 minutes, with Jenni Soutar second in three hours and 41 minutes. Sophia Rollo would round out the ladies’ podium in a time of three hours and 43 minutes.

The conditions on the ride were overcast and a bit windy, with the rain holding off until the event was finished and only sprinkling during the prize-giving. As always, the annual race’s biggest winner was conservation, with the 300 riders contributing to saving the critically endangered African Wild Dog.

The race’s long term legacy is the sustainability of the park and the animals that roam in it. The beauty and diversity of South Africa’s flora and fauna is one of our country’s greatest assets, and we should all help conserve it.

“With funds raised through the iMfolozi Challenge, the rangers can ensure effective behaviour-based management and rapid response around any illegal activity, incidents or threats to wildlife,” from the rangers,” said Dr. Andrew Venter, CEO of Wildlands.

The race takes riders through spectacular scenery and gives them the experience of seeing game up close and personal. The park is home to the Big 5 and this year some of the riders had to make way for a herd of elephants.

“Few things are as thrilling as being within arm’s length of a wild animal, especially one of the Big 5,” says race organiser Stu Berry. Dr. Andrew also managed to raise a further R67 000 from participants during a spontaneous bid to increase iMfolozi’s capacity, Management and Maintenance to protect the precious wildlife that inhabit the reserve.

Stihl, keeping with the spirit of donations, also handed over R20 000 worth of equipment as well as training (to use the equipment effectively) to the Impi Foundation, and will be used by the Hluhluwe iMfolozi field rangers that work day and night to protect our heritage.

“Wildlands would like to thank the dedicated Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff, Honorary Officers, the event organisers - Impi Concept Events, Old Mutual, Mondi, Stihl, Time Freight, The Sunday Tribune and Powerade,” says Andrew.

“And last but definitely not least, the riders that make this event a sold-out success year after year.”

If you would like to participate in one of the unique Old Mutual Wild Series events, click here.

Kyle Deeley

Kyle Deeley

Editorial Assistant |

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