Sport – Plan your feast of Garden Route mountain-biking

Buco Dr Evil Classic // 19 – 21 September 2019

The Buco Dr Evil Classic 3 Day Stage Race turns eight years old this year and has matured into “the best reason to head to the Garden Route on the Heritage Day weekend”. With Heritage Day falling on Tuesday 24th September, it’s the perfect excuse to take a few days off in September and enjoy a mountain-biking long weekend with friends and family.

The Buco Dr Evil Classic three-day stage race is a feast of natural beauty and challenging riding around Plettenberg Bay. Riders are treated like royalty for three days with amazing services on the route, delicious meals and some of the best single-track riding in the country.

Many riders utilize the Dr Evil Classic as a warm-up for the Buco Lions Karoo to Coast (22 September 2019), the one-day, 100km race from Uniondale to Knysna via Prince Alfred’s Pass. Overall, its an ideal long weekend to visit us!

Buco Dr Evil Classic riders get an automatic second batch seeding for the Buco Lions Karoo to Coast 100km Mountain Bike Challenge – entries sell out for this event so be sure to enter soon.

The Dr Evil Classic’s namesake, Leon Evans, received this nickname from his days designing some of the gruelling Absa Cape Epic’s routes. However, his approach in designing this event in his own backyard is more focused on fun and adventure than testing riders to their limits.

The route was designed as an introduction to stage racing, and has developed into a fun, relaxed event with manageable distances each day. It’s a non-intimidating race and the riders had a wonderful time last year”, says Leon.

This is one of those races where it makes sense to include the whole family because there is so much to do in the area other than ride a bike. If you are the only rider in the family or amongst your friends, everyone else can enjoy a host of activities while you take the morning to ride. If you are a serious rider but have been looking for a race to encourage your partner to ride with you, this is the one.

There is no tented race village, which means you and your family can stay together, in budget accommodation, or a self-catering cottage on a farm, or a luxury hotel, while eating out at amazing restaurants each night.

Nikki Biesheuvel, winner of the 2018 Dr Evil Classic solo women’s race for the second year in a row, says this aspect of the event worked really well for her and her friends. “It’s a lovely way to see Plett; it really feels like you are on holiday, with a bonus of going for a really great ride every day. We hired a cottage at the Crags and had a braai each night and my two friends who were there for the scenery and the vibe got as much out of it as I did.”

With a different start venue for each stage (but all within 20kms of each other), riders experience a very different type of landscape each day. The first stage leaves from Plett Game Reserve with wildlife such as zebras, wildebeest and even elephants on view from your bike before heading out on a scenic 70km mountain ride.

The second day starts at Kurland Hotel and Polo Estate and is mostly made up of indigenous and plantation forest covering a distance of around 45km. A 15km trail of single track is currently under construction on the estate, which will add significantly to the 2019 experience. The routes of the Buco Dr Evil Classic have been designed to challenge less experienced riders, create flowing trails for the racers and provide a spectacular all-round experience.

The final day is roughly 50kms, starting at Cairnbrogie Dairy Farm with its renowned network of single track along a stretch of coastline included in the Robberg Coastal Corridor.

Oli Munnik, ex-pro mountain biker, enjoyed the event with his wife, Alana, last year and says the three different environments you ride really make this a special experience: “Despite being relatively close geographically, the riding of the three areas is distinctly different. It allows you to enjoy a new route each day without having to ride a certain distance before you get to the new section,” he says. “The last day’s single track, where you pop out on the coast is remarkable, with breath-taking sea views and the sound of crashing waves, is really worth experiencing.

Leon Evans’ partner in organising the event, Zandile Meneses, says: “We are building a sustainable event; we want this to remain a small successful event where riders feel they have been well looked-after and have received a great-value experience. We kept the entry fees very similar to 2017 last year but have increased the spend on goodie bags by at least 35%, because we have seen how our riders appreciate these extra touches, including an amazing meal after a long ride.”

A three-course meal is provided each day by Knysna Hollow Country Estate’s chef, Grant Ludski, and riders rave about the treats in store each day. As Oli Munnik says: “The food was absolutely world-class, something I actually started looking forward to when we got to about 10kms to go on days two and three. The organisation was seamless – you never noticed The Dr Evil team or needed to ask for assistance, and this results in a very relaxed vibe in the race villages.


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