This weekend, the 13th edition of the Old Mutual Wild Series iMfolozi MTB Challenge took place in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, home to the Big Five and the critically endangered African wild dog. The men’s winner was Simon Rollo (2:35), while the first female rider home was Christie van der Ryst (3:13).
However, this is an event that is about more than just winning. The iMfolozi MTB Challenge allows riders to not only cycle through Big Five country, but also allows them to contribute towards ongoing conservation efforts in the park. On the Saturday night auction after the 55km ride, R135 000 was raised for rhino orphans (a partnership between Wildlands and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife). A fitting cause after participants had passed the carcass of a poached rhino during their ride. Happily, riders were also treated to the site of an elephant bull grazing in the reeds as they crossed the river at the final water point of the day.
Hayden Hutton, MD of Stihl, also conducted an auction for once off Stihl and Wildlands branded cycling tops and raised R 18 500. Stihl has been a long-standing partner and sponsor of the event.
“Congratulations to everyone who completed this year’s iMfolozi Challenge, one of the most spectacular events our country has to offer. Thanks to the vision of Wildlands, the Wild Series events provide outdoor enthusiasts with the chance to run and cycle in special parts of the country, but also to contribute towards preserving our wilderness areas and wildlife,” says Karen Thomas, Old Mutual Head of Brand. “This is why Old Mutual partnered with Wildlands and Wild Series. We strongly believe in making a difference, and building a better future for all. Through events like the iMfolozi Challenge, we are able to achieve this in a way that is unique and fun at the same time.”
This event could not be a success without the amazing partners and riders. A huge thank you to Stihl, Jonsson (the official garment sponsor of the Wild Series) and Timefreight for their unwavering support.