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Berg & Bush Trail Technicians

Can you believe it's 2 years since the last Berg & Bush. It's all going down in the Berg this weekend.

If you can think back to 2019, pre lockdown, which seems forever ago, you'd remember we released a special Berg & Bush edition for Spring 2019.

We took a deep dive into the authentic saffa mtb experience. A memory that stands out for the team is an interview with master trail technician Mbhekseni Kunene.

Get stuck in to it & fire up your race juice flow for the upcoming Berg & Bush starting this week!

Over the years, Mbhekseni has honed his skill and perfected his craft, creating some of the most iconic trails in South Africa. The fact that he’s also a keen mountain biker means he gets to test all the trails to ensure they’re just right for you.

How did you get involved with Berg & Bush?

When I was in school, I helped Gary mark the routes during my holidays. We used lime and it took us almost an entire day just to mark 5km. When I finished school I took up a job in the Green’s stables for three months. Gary sold the horses and then in 2010 I helped Bruce Frost build JoBerg2C and some Berg & Bush routes for the year. In 2011 I got my driver’s licence and took over the role as Main Trail Technician. I work full-time on the routes all year, with my team (Masoka, Khumalo, Mlambo and Sizwe). We built some of the routes, such as “Longdrop Pass”, by hand. Now we have a few machines to assist us! I’m just so grateful that my work is also my passion. I get to build new routes and ride them!

What is your favourite part of the route?

Riding off Spioenkop mountain, and the new “Zig-Zags” trail we’ve created. I love the challenge of trying to stay on your bike riding up and down Spioenkop and I like “Zig-Zags” because I made them [laughs].

What are the biggest obstacles you encounter when building a trail?

Moving big, heavy rocks and clearing thick bush out of the way. It’s also important that we don’t create any erosion.

How long have you been riding?

I started riding when I was 11 years old. Three years ago I received a Pyga bike and I just love riding whenever I can. I’ve competed in some stage races across South Africa, like sani2c and Wines2Whales, and I often ride in one day races.

What do you do when you’re not riding or building trails?

I enjoy playing soccer with my friends and love spending time with my daughter.

If you could choose your dream race, what would it be?

JoBerg2C – nine days on my bike!

Which year has been your favourite edition of Berg & Bush?

Most definitely 2016, when I received my Pyga bike! There was a competition during the event held by Centriq where riders had to post photographs to win the bike. The winner of the competition already owned his own great bike and asked the organisers to choose a rider who was worthy of this bike. My Pyga changed my life – I can now compete in races and it enables me to test out our new routes properly.


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