karoo south africa mountains munga bike race mountain bike
The mountainous, desert-like region of South Africa that the Munga takes riders through is known as the Karoo. (Mfotophile/Thinkstock)

Million-Dollar Bike Race Postponed Until 2015

1,000-kilometer Munga loses key sponsor

karoo south africa mountains munga bike race mountain bike

The Munga, an uncommonly difficult single-stage endurance mountain bike competition set to debut this December in South Africa, has been postponed until 2015, following the loss of a key sponsor. With a 1,000-kilometer (621-mile) nonstop course from Bloemfontein to the Cape Winelands, near the southernmost tip of the continent, the Munga is touted as “the world’s toughest mountain bike race.” The event made a big buzz in the bike racing world in May 2014, when directors announced a $1 million purse for the winning two-member team.

“Today we face one of the race’s toughest challenges, having to postpone the event to 2015, as one of our key investors has withdrawn,” race director Alex Harris wrote in a press release on the Munga website, adding, “The Munga Dream has not changed and is just getting stronger.”

Among the competitors expected to appear at the starting line were two-time Olympic medalist Bart Brentjens, four-time Cape Epic champion Karl Platt, and Jeremiah Bishop, a former U.S. National Champion of Short Track and Marathon Mountain Biking, who described the postponement as “a disappointment.” 

“Something of this scale is never easy to pull off,” Bishop told VeloNews. “It may be best to have more time to develop the event. The interest and media attention for the event is broad and global, so I am looking forward to next year. I guess it just taps into multiple things people find exciting: risk, insane challenge, and money.”

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: Mfotophile/Thinkstock