“The Imana Wild Ride was extremely exciting and possibly one of the best racing events I’ve ever competed in.”
4 days Kie Mouth to Umgazi River: 9hr00min
The Imana Wild Ride is possibly the original stage race in South Africa, the race took shape some 15 years ago and to this day has held the longest waiting list out of all the races in the country. This is due to the huge demand for people wanting to race through such an amazingly beautiful section of our coast line. I joined up with Nick Floros, a 5 times winner of the event and undoubtedly the most experienced racer in the peloton. His navigational knowledge is really the key to his success as the race is 75% fitness and 25% navigation. The navigation aspect is critical as there are no route markers, no check points and no marshals, only the instruction to keep the sea on your right hand side always and head north.
The race starts at the Kie river mouth in the most southern point of the wild coast and finishes at the Umgazi River 4 days later.
The over night points are:
DAY 1: Kobb Inn
DAY 2: The Heaven
DAY 3: Coffee bay
DAY 4: Umgazi River
The racing upfront was incredibly tight with a mere 14 seconds separating the first and second place over 3 days of racing. My team mate and I took 2nd place on day 1 but managed to catch up and pass the overall leaders Warren Price and Craig Stone on day 2 and hold the leaders board for 2 consecutive days of racing going into Coffee Bay. The final day was the decisive day of racing and we managed to hold onto our lead up until 10km to go where Warren and Craig managed to break away from us on a series of climbs going towards Umgazi and the final river Ferry crossing. Tactically this was a good move as the ferry choice was critical as the larger the engine the faster the crossing. Out of 5 or so ferries 1 seemed to have a large engine and the first to the water would be silly not to take it. The leaders reached the water first some 60seconds ahead of us and we knew then our race was officially over as the last two beaches were fast and flat and fairly short. The race was extremely exciting and possibly one of the best events I’ve ever competed in. The scenery was mind blowing and this is why I’ve decided to make this report more of picture diary then a race report.
1st Craig Stone and Warren Price (SAFIRE)
2nd. Andrew Hill and Nick Floros (TIB insurance/Husqavarna)
3rd Wille Brink and Mike Smith