Overall leaders Bruce Campbell and Jay Carneiro stormed home on the final day of the Great Zuurberg Trek mountain bike race to claim their first title in the eighth edition of three-day event on Sunday.


In near perfect conditions, the Gqeberha duo crossed the line in 3:03:40 to finish the technical 50km course more than five minutes ahead of second-placed Gavin Wood and Mark Pienaar.

The latter’s steady performances over the three days saw them secure second place in the general classification.

Warren Barber and Warren Dickson were a further three minutes adrift to place third in the standings.

The champions’ broad smiles at the finish told the story of a job well done, particularly for Campbell who had recorded several top 10s in the event over the years.

They rode a peerless race to conquer a mud-shortened stage one and a string of punctures on the queen stage on Saturday.

Having taken the initiative on the opening day, they had a good game plan for the tough second day.

“It worked out perfectly – until it didn’t,” Campbell said wryly, referring to the previous stage when they spent most of the day chasing and just managing to scrape in for the victory.

“But today we were very confident in our ability on the trails.”

Carneiro credited his partner for setting a tempo that saw the opposition “just popping off the back” while encouraging him every inch of the way.

“He is quite calculated, actually. I didn’t realise it,” he admitted.

“He knows when to turn the throttle a bit – slowly, slowly, slowly and, when you look again, you’ve got a gap. Then you just go for it.”

Carneiro also praised his teammate’s skills.

“You can just judge his braking point and go there. The man was a beast.”

The pair had not ridden many of the new trails they had encountered on the final day but were full of praise afterwards.

“I felt like I was surfing on my bike, drifting through the corners,” Campbell said.


GZT 2023 - Men


Celebrating their victory in the men’s category at the Great Zuurberg Trek are Gavin Wood and Mark Pienaar (left). Jay Carneiro and Bruce Campbell (centre) were second and Warren Barber and Warren Dickson third. Photo: Full Stop Communications

The women’s title went to the Namibian pairing of Jana von Backstrom and Mimi Hough following the unfortunate withdrawal of Juanita Mackenzie, one half of the leading team after day one, due to a shoulder injury on Saturday.

“Today was very exciting. I saw great skills even if I lacked a bit of skill myself at the end. But, all in all, it was a really good ride,” Von Backstrom said.

“It’s been magnificent. The trails have been great. We learnt a lot, we saw a lot, the mud was a lot.”


GZT 2023 - Women


Namibians Mimi Hough and Jana von Backstrom celebrate their victory in the women’s section of the Great Zuurberg Trek. Photo: Full Stop Communications

Gqeberha husband and wife team Mark and Gail Willimott took no prisoners in the mixed category. The couple won every stage comfortably, even finishing among the top men’s teams on day two.

“Our game plan was pretty much to come and ride and have fun. And, if you’ve got good legs, pedal hard,” Mark said.

“It’s a very cool event. It doesn’t kill you and it leaves time to enjoy the afternoons.”


GZT 2023 - Mixed team


It’s all smiles on the podium as, from left, Andrew Ogden and Andrea von Holdt (second), Gail and Mark Willimott (first) and Hildegard Cronje and Victor Terblanche (third) celebrate a successful Great Zuurberg Trek in the mixed category. Photo: Full Stop Communications




Stage 3, 50km


1 Bruce Campbell, Jay Carneiro 3:03:40
2 Gavin Wood, Mark Pienaar 3:09:19
3 Warren Dickson, Warren Barber 3:12:25



1 Jana von Backstrom, Mimi Hough 4:08:57



1 Mark and Gail Willimott 3:17:50
2 Andrew Ogden, Andrea von Holdt 3:31:22
3 Victor Terblanche, Hildegard Cronje 4:07:19


General classification


1 Bruce Campbell, Jay Carneiro 8:21:58
2 Gavin Wood, Mark Pienaar 8:32:36
3 Warren Dickson, Warren Barber 8:46:11

Sub-vets men

1 Bruce Campbell, Jay Carneiro 8:21:58
2 Peter Lovemore, Gunther Junger 10:22:17
3 Pieter and Heinrich van der Vyver 11:45:07


Vets men

1 Gavin Wood, Mark Pienaar 8:32:36
2 Liam Graham, Fjord Jordaan 9:11:02
3 Geoff Wood, Jacques Venter 9:19:47


Masters men

1 Warren Dickson, Warren Barber 8:46:11
2 Craig Dickson, Patrick Billson 9:17:33
3 David Palmer, Michael Charlewood 10:42:09



1 Jana von Backstrom, Mimi Hough 11:17:43



1 Mark Willimott, Gail Willimott 8:54:30
2 Andrew Ogden, Andrea von Holdt 9:39:05
3 Victor Terblanche, Hildegard Cronje 10:49:47