Drak Descent 2019 News

Euro Steel Drak Descent and GWK Run the Rivers Final Newsletter

16 January 2019

The Spoors Team has completed the preparation for what is surely one of SA’s most spectacular MTB and Trail Run races. The single tracks are sure to challenge and thrill the most widely travelled cyclist and runner. Whilst the distances of the days are not huge, the single track will traverse terrain that is spectacular and challenging! You are guaranteed to feel a sense of accomplishment when you reach the finish!

The Euro Steel Drak Descent has reached the 450-rider cap and entries are now closed.

The shorter MTB Challenge and two Trail Runs still have entries available and can be entered online until Wednesday, or at registration on Friday or on the day.


Our principal sponsors, Euro Steel have been absolutely amazing in their support of this event and thus mountain biking in general in our area. We as the Sani Spoors team and the Euro Steel organising committee would really like again to thank Colin and David Wilson and their team for assisting us in making this event a possibility.

First National Bank

We are proud to have FNB on board as a sponsor and encourage you and your families to support an afternoon of top class music entertainment at the Underberg Country Club on Saturday 19 January 2019.  Glen Haw has donated one free entry into the 2019 Sani2C 2019 MTB event. This prize is only available to a person who has taken part in the weekends MTB races. There will also be two Salomon vouchers to be won. The lucky draw recipients must be present at the FNB Drak Music Experience Concert on Saturday to receive the prizes in person – no substitutions will be allowed.


All participants in the N3TC Drak Challenge, Euro Steel Drak Descent and GWK/Sani Spoors Run the Rivers Trail Run will get free entrance for themselves and one seconder/family member. Please remember to take your own blankets and camping chairs to sit on.

Public tickets will cost R100 (adults) and R50 (children under12) and can be purchased at the gate on the day or on www.webtickets.co.za beforehand.

Also, to GWK for their involvement in the Trail Run.

To all our other sponsors, we would like to thank the following:

Spar – assistance with the coke, ice, cups and the goodie bags

Goodersons Leisure – sponsoring teams, accommodation prizes and compostable cups

Kalbo – prizes

Pyga – roving mechanics and draft beer

Berg 100 – for the free entries into their race

TWK – wire for the bridges

Glen and Mandy Haw – for the donation of a free Sani2C entry

Ola Ice creams – sponsorship of ice-cream for all competitors at the end of Day 1 as well as ice-creams which Pevensey Place will sell to raise funds

Tip Top Dairies – for the stainless-steel containers for water and refreshments at the end of the days riding and running

Some important news regarding the 2019 Euro Steel Drak Descent, MTB Challenge and GWK Run the Rivers Trail and Lite

Race Information

Registration for the MTB and Run:
Friday 18 January

12:00 – 20:00

Glencairn (Sani Pass Road)
This will be followed by a meet and greet with local landowners and Sponsors at Glencairn

Braai packs and bar facilities will be available from 18:00.

Emergency Registration: – if you REALLY could not make it to normal registration!!

Saturday 19 January

07:00 – MTB – at Restmount Children’s Home (23km along the Drakensberg Gardens Road)

05:30 – Trail Run – at Rainbow Farm (7km along the Drakensberg Gardens Road)

Euro Steel Drak Descent MTB:
Day 1 – 41km – Start @ 08:00

Saturday 19 January
Restmount (23km along the Drakensberg Gardens Road)

Day 1 Finish

Swartberg Bridge (at the R617/Drakensberg Gardens Road turn off intersection)

Day 2 – 47km – Start @ 07.30
Sunday 20 January
Glencairn (Sani Pass Road)Day 2 Finish

At Early Mist /Hopewell Farm, along the second Coleford Road

Euro Steel MTB Challenge:
Day 1 – 25km – Start @ 09:30

Saturday 19 January
Restmount (23km along the Drakensberg Gardens Road)

Day 1 Finish

Swartberg Bridge (at the R617/Drakensberg Gardens Road turn off intersection)


Day 2 – 17km – Start @ 07:30

Sunday 20 January
Glenhaven Camp along the first Coleford Road

Day 2 Finish

At Early Mist /Hopewell Farm, along the second Coleford Road

GWK  Run the Rivers Trail and Lite Runs:
Day 1 – 25km or 12km – Start @ 06:00

19 January
At Rainbow Farm (7km along the Drakensberg Gardens Road)

Day 1 Finish

Swartberg Bridge (at the R617/Drakensberg Gardens Road turn off intersection)

Day 2 – 16km or 8km – Start @ 06:00 (and Finish)

20 January
At Early Mist Farm/Hopewell Farm, along the second Coleford Road



Restmount – 29°45’31.41”S 29°20’41.89”E

Swartberg Bridge – 29°46’30.45”S 29°27’51.90”E

Glencairn – 29°42’02.96”S 29°29’33.49”E

Early Mist Farm/Hopewell Farm – 29°53’05.25”S 29°34’47.17”E

Cut – Offs: 12.30

Cut off for day 1 will be at 12.30 at the Euro Steel’s waltzing bridge and 11 .30 at Glenhaven on day 2. We request that riders who are stopped or redirected onto the shorter course respect the decisions made. It will be for your own health and safety.  Please note that our sweeps are familiar with the course and the physical demands required, they have our full support to arrange for competitors, that they know are not going to complete the event or may be putting themselves at risk from a health perspective, be removed at various other selected cut off points along the route. 

Friday 18th January – 6.00pm: “Meet the Sponsors” and Landowners Evening

“Meet the Sponsors and Landowners” evening will be held at GLENCAIRN – Home of Sani2c (on the Sani Pass Road) on Friday 18th January at around 6.00pm. It is hoped that after Registration, which is at the same venue, riders and runners will stay and mingle with our sponsors, landowners and other riders and runners and enjoy a few drinks and food that will be for sale at Glencairn.

You will be able to select your meat supplied by our local butchery, Underberg Meat Supplies, and then braai it yourself on the fires provided.


S.A. Seeding will be doing the batching for Day 1. It is for this reason that we encourage all entrants to make sure that if you have changed or plan to change your partner that the substitution is completed by midnight on the 16th January 2019

Batches will go off at 5 minute intervals.

Should you feel that you are batched incorrectly please will you bring proof to substantiate your claim, to the registration on Friday so we can consider your concern.  NO changes will be made on race day.

Any rider moving up a batch without prior approval will have a 1(one) hour time penalty added to their team time.

Late Substitutions

Substitutions after close of entries at midnight on the 15th will cost R200. These will be entertained from 16h00 on the day of registration.

It is critical that should you change your partner that the substitution is done on the system as the full race entry file containing Medical and Ice numbers are given to the medical team.

Medical and Safety

IPSS under Doctor Grant Lindsay will be handling any medical issues.

ICE arm bands with contact telephone numbers will be issued to all competitors at registration.

We must stress that the race is challenging and technical in nature and we request that riders ride at speeds suitable to their capabilities. We really want to avoid any accidents.


We would like to request that you all install the MySOS app onto your phones so that in case of emergency, whether it is for yourself, your partner or fellow participant assistance can be called.

How to install MySOS

1.      Download MySOS SA emergency app onto your smartphone, by using

Google Play or the App Store

2. Check that you see the MySOS icon on your phone

3. Register yourself on the MySOS app on your phone

4. After registration you should see the MySos icon

How to use MySOS during the event

NB – Ensure that location services are enabled on your phone

1. If you have an emergency at any stage during the race, open MySOS

2. Clear the automatic emergency countdown timer

3. Then press the Drak Event logo

4. Choose for whom the emergency needs to be placed from the icons

5. Call starts (011) 123-4567

6. Explain your emergency to the emergency coordinator

7. After speaking to the emergency coordinator, stay where you are and keep calm.

Help is on its way.

8. An SMS with your location and type of emergency will be sent to the emergency coordinator and your emergency contacts.

You have to download MySOS to your phone – if you only register on the mysos.co.za website we cannot help you during the event!

For any further details or queries please contact: support@mysos.co.za or Albert van Urk on 0829090900

Administration Issues

Unfortunately, as with most matters in life, there are the inevitable admin issues to be handled

Cycling SA – Day Licenses

As the Drak Descent is a Cycling SA sanctioned event there is a legal requirement on Sani Spoors, as the race organisers, to collect CSA Day Licenses at R35 per day (or R70 for the event) from anyone who is not licensed with Cycling SA for 2019 It is up to each rider to be able to prove at Registration that they have purchased a 2019 Cycling SA license – or they will have to pay the R70 prior to us being able to issue them with a race number board.

Prizes and Prize Sponsors

As advised on the Sani Spoors webpage there will be no cash prizes awarded.  There will however be product prizes handed out at the end of day 2 for the top Men’s, Women’s, Mixed and Junior winners and second positions.

Sani Spoors is also sponsoring product prizes on both Day 1 and Day 2 – to the first two men and women in both the Trail Runs.


The good news is that the Pyga Team will be joining us again for the race. They will have three roving mechanics to assist riders who have mechanicals during the race and will also have a limited number of bikes available should a rider have a serious issue with their bike which cannot be repaired on the day.

Emergency Spares and Bike Repairs

Good news is that Hattons will be present at Registration, Starts and Day 1 Finish to assist you with bike maintenance and repairs. They will have a whole shop setup, workshop, spares and accessories.

Farm Equipment and Garden Centre (033 – 701 1119) in Underberg (next to the Shell Garage and KFC) also stock basic cycle spares and equipment.

Water Tables

We will have two water tables on day 1 and three on day 2 as well as the river along a large portion of the route. This is a lot for the distances but once again we must stress it is a challenging route.

We do warn that we have in the past experienced days of extreme heat and request that riders and runners take their own liquid and not to rely solely on the water tables.

The river is also a real option for filling up water bottles if desperate, and a real way to cool down if you feel you are overheating. (Just watch out for canoeists who definitely have the right of way in the river)

Vehicle Shuttles

We would like to encourage participants to once again make use of the Shuttle Service offered by Noah’s Ark Pre-School. It alleviates traffic and contributes to the bursary fund for less privileged Learners that attend the School.
For more information: Bonny Cole +27 72 216 648

Alien Plants

The Sani Spoors team would like to thank all competitors who have made a contribution towards eradicating alien plants along the route. We would also like to thank Mike Streetfield at Farmers Agricare for the chemicals he has donated


The Euro Steel organising committee would like to appeal to all riders / runners to refrain from riding or running on any of the route other than the tracks forming part of Sani Spoors.

We have got permission from landowners along the route to use the tracks on the race days only and persons using the tracks illegally are putting the whole race in jeopardy.

Restmount Children’s Home

Restmount Children’s home will be selling coffee and Bacon and Egg rolls at the start of day 1 MTB race for fundraising. Please take some money along and support them. They are Sani Spoors principal beneficiary.

Sani Spoors encourages our cyclists to make a donation to the Restmount Children’s Home in Underberg. The Home provides opportunities for less fortunate children to spend time in the Southern Drakensberg. Many of the children have never been on a holiday. Please make donations directly to Restmount using the Account details below. Reference all donations as Drak Descent with your name.




ACCOUNT NO. 051072807

Kynoch’s Krantz – “You Have Now”

This challenge is in honour of a committed member of the Sani Spoors family, Ian Kynoch.  Ian was taken from us at a very tender age, doing what he loved best, being on his beloved Mountain Bike.

In order to qualify for this award, riders must take a selfie with their partner, or on their own if they are solo riders, from the Memorial Bench on the Krantzes at Sani Spoors.  The idea is to take time to stop, appreciate your surroundings, those dear to you and to contemplate the life that you live.  The bench is set up in a spot that Ian marveled at as it took in the beauty of our beloved trails in the mountains.

All selfies are to be sent, with relevant Race Numbers, via WhatsApp to +2784 604 2711.

The winning picture will receive a voucher at the finish.  Please note you do need to be present to receive this award.

In conclusion

Thanks to you all for the wonderful response to the Euro Steel Drak Descent and GWK Run the Rivers. Interest in the ride and run has been fantastic and we are sure that all will be in for a great two days of riding, running and fun.

If you hear that your team mate has not received an email Newsletter please ask him/her to email me their correct email address. We have had a fair amount of difficulty with some of the emails coming back “Undelivered”.

Otherwise, 2 days to go (no festive season excuses anymore!!) and watch your emails and Facebook and website for more updates. We are looking really forward to hosting you in Underberg for a ride and run that promises to be challenging, exciting and beautiful. Our target again at the start of preparation for this year’s route was to prepare a route that we felt 90% of riders and runners would be able to ride or run 90% of the way. We think we are achieving this!

The Sani Spoors Team

Email: drakdescent@sanispoors.co.za

Local Charities supported through your involvement in this event:

Noah’s Ark and Asifunde Sonke Teacher’s Training College:

 Noah’s Ark has been serving the Early Childhood Educational needs of the Underberg and Himeville Low-income Housing developments for 25 Years.  In this time, they have received numerous awards as ECD site and Practitioner of the Year Awards at the annual ABSA award ceremonies.  They rely on donations and support from the local community to be able to run their beautiful school of 100 students from 2 to 6 years of age.

Asifunde Sonke – Let’s all learn together – emerged from a need to provide support to local rural and township Crèches and Pre-Schools that had no chance of ever upgrading the skillset of their dedicated Educators.  A nationally recognized Teacher’s Training College was started to provide locally based, affordable, further education opportunities, of the highest standard, to aspirant Educators.  They College is run on a nonprofit basis and relies on donor support.

Family Literacy Project – www.familyliteracyproject.co.za

The Family Literacy Project (FLP), a registered NPO, Section 21 not for profit organization, was established in 2000 to address the concern raised by findings of research conducted by Khulisa Management Services that showed no improvement in the early literacy levels in preschoolers, despite training and support provided through the national Department of Education. To explore the role of families, the FLP held workshops in rural sites in southern KwaZulu-Natal for adults caring for children at home. These workshops provided opportunities for adults to discuss, learn and experiment with ways they could use every day experiences and materials to build early literacy skills in their children. A participatory rural appraisal conducted late in 2000 showed that the adults also wanted to improve their own literacy.

We support four community libraries which are open every day and run holiday programmes for children in these remote villages. We also facilitate a home visiting programme to promote child and maternal health and early childhood development.

Building on the success of our work we are now working in 15 villages in Ingwe, Mzimkulu, KwaSani and Impendle municipalities, in the Sisonke District. The Family Literacy Network was started in 2010 to encourage long standing FLP adult groups to use their literacy skills to improve their lives through income generating projects and savings clubs.

Clouds of Hope – https://cloudsofhope.com

Clouds of Hope relies heavily on individual and trust donations. We are a registered non-profit organisation in South Africa, and a registered charity in the UK (number 1114506).

To find out how your donation is helping, subscribe to our newsletter below.

Clouds of Hope is a children’s care centre in Underberg, South Africa. We are home to 64 children, the youngest now 18 months and the oldest 20. The children come from desperately poverty-stricken backgrounds, many come from circumstances of unimaginable neglect and abuse and some have compromised immune systems.  And all of them, after extensive investigation, have no-one to care for them and so are legally placed in the care of Clouds of Hope.

Clouds of Hope is all about giving these children a better start in life and hope for the future.

It is our aim to reduce the impact of the current HIV/AIDS pandemic by providing support for children affected by the virus, and through outreach work within the community.

Restmount Children’s Home – www.restmount.org

RESTMOUNT nestles in a beautiful mountain setting on the slopes of Bamboo Mountain, 17 kilometers out of Underberg. It is a 522ha playground dedicated to the underprivileged and needy children of KwaZulu Natal, and is supported by the people of KwaZulu Natal. Here the children can enjoy the great outdoors in a safe environment in complete contrast to the heat and humidity of our crowded coastal towns. Restmount caters for children aged seven to fifteen years.

RESTMOUNT was founded in August 1942 when the late Dr Fred Cluver told members of the Durban Rotary Club of his dream.

Drakensberg holiday resort for underprivileged children.

The club accepted the challenge and raised the necessary funds to build the first complex of thatched bungalows. The first group of children arrived on the 6th October 1945.

The Durban Mountain Homestead Association now guides this magnificent project. This is a registered Non-Profit Organisation and is steered by a voluntary team of workers who form the Management Committee.  Restmount receives no Government subsidy or assistance.

A swimming pool was built with funds raised by the Sani Pass Hotel.

After a devastating fire in 2000 which destroyed much of the complex, funds were raised once more and new buildings were erected. The Homestead is fully functional again. This has all been due to the generosity of many friends of Restmount and the people of KwaZulu Natal.

Restmount has continued for seventy years and has provided holidays for well over 25 000 young guests. Restmount is able to fulfil the dream of its founder in taking children out of overcrowded and stressful environments and giving them a break amid the mountains where healthy appetites are born and wholesome, nutritional food is provided.

At Restmount there is no time for boredom and so much to see and do.

There are mountains to climb, a beautiful waterfall to splash under, a crystal-clear river to swim in and pine forests to walk and play in.  Others remember the fun, laughter and camaraderie of Restmount concerts, carol singing and other forms of home entertainment, realising television has not been missed. Still others keep in touch with the leaders of their groups, remembering the love, care and fair discipline shown to them.  The resident House Parents and farm workers are the only paid employees; all other workers and the group leaders are voluntary helpers.

To support RESTMOUNT is to invest your interest, time and money in a child, giving that child the opportunity to see life in a new dimension as well as helping to mold his future,

If you would like to help we would love to join your efforts with ours.

You can do this by:

  • adopting a project or donating cash or kind toward it
  • sponsoring a child or a full group
  • sponsoring transport for the holiday
  • becoming a member or life member of the Association
  • helping with fund raising, street collections, etc
  • becoming involved in the re-building project

Pevensey Place – www.pevenseyplace.co.za

The land on which Pevensey Place resides, used to be part of a farm owned by Ralph Hardingham. Tucked away in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg, Ralph Hardingham, a local to the Underberg district and who coincidentally was responsible for establishing numerous schools in the same district, found himself mulling over what to do with some 84 hectares. Having more than enough land to do his farming, he felt this section of his land could be put to better use and so placed an advert in the local papers calling for proposals.

Round Table South Africa and the Natal Cerebral Palsy Association heeded his call and so, in 1972 Pevensey Place was officially opened with Sani 152’s chairman – Ko Egbrink – cutting the ribbon.

To this day, all that were involved still believe the project’s success was due to Pevensey becoming a national project for Round Table at that time. Remarkably, a farmer’s goodwill to an urgent need for a settlement caring for cerebral palsied adults became a reality for the whole of South Africa.

Pevensey Place has now been running for 44 years. It is testament to the invaluable work done by Round Table South Africa and the value those young men and women can contribute to their communities when they pull together.

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