FREEDOM CHALLENGE GENERAL RULES.
The following general rules set out in detail all the requirements necessary for participating in the Freedom Challenge.
1.1. The Race Across South Africa shall have no stages. The race starts in Pietermaritzburg in mid-June. It is a non-stop race along the Freedom Trail to finish in Wellington outside Cape Town.
1.2. The Race to Rhodes shall have no stages. The race starts in Pietermaritzburg in early June. It is a non-stop race along the Freedom Trail to finish in Rhodes in the Eastern Cape.
2.1. The Freedom Challenge shall be an open race for Challengers meeting the entry qualifications as set forth by the organizers.
2.2. The number of entries is limited and is made up of persons doing either the Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa and the Race to Rhodes.
3. Allocation of places
3.1. A person wishing to participate in the Freedom Challenge must notify the Race Organiser by online entry on the official website and by completing the indemnity.
3.2. Upon receipt of an online enquiry the Race Organiser will notify the prospective challenger whether he or she has been provisionally allocated a place in the race or a place on the waiting list.
3.3.The Race Organiser’s decision on the allocation of places shall be final.
4. Entry Fee
4.1. The entry fee for the Freedom Challenge will be announced annually in advance on the official website.
4.2. The entry fee must be paid to and received by the Race Organiser within 14 days after the Race Organiser has confirmed acceptance of an entry and the allocation of a place.
4.3. Payment of the entry fee constitutes the Challenger's final intention to enter the race and acknowledges that the Challenger agrees to comply with these rules.
4.4. The entry fee covers the following:
• An electronic set of downloadable topographical maps (currently 1:50 000 or 1:1 50 000) of the Freedom Trail.
• Meals and accommodation for the competing challenger at all support stations during the Freedom Challenge.
• Sponsored supplements for the competing challenger at support stations. Challengers will be notified of available supplements and refreshments.
• Sponsored products.
4.5. Entry fees are not refundable. Entries can be transferred to another rider or rolled over to the following year. Transfers and rollovers attract a handling fee of 20%
4.6. Entries are transferable until 31 May (or later if agreed to by the Race Organiser) subject to the payment of an additional surcharge of 20% on the relevant entrance fee.
5. Submission of entries
5.1. Entries shall be effected online and shall contain all information indicated.
5.2. Entry forms received that are not in compliance with these rules shall be refused unless otherwise agreed by the Race Organiser.
5.3. Upon receipt of the entry form an Applicant will be notified whether they have been provisionally allocated a place on the Freedom Challenge or whether they have been placed on the waiting list.
5.4. An entry will only be made final and considered complete once the Race Organiser receives the following:
i. The final race fee,
ii. The Challenger’s indemnity, duly signed.
iii. Recent rider photograph.
5.5. Should the final race fee not be received within 14 days of the Race Organiser sending out a confirmation of entry and Challenger's indemnity not be received within 30 days of the Race Organiser notifying the Applicant of confirmation of entry, the provisional entry will be automatically cancelled and the Race Organiser may allocate the place to another Applicant.
5.6. The Race Organiser reserves the right to reject entries not in conformance with these rules or from entrants who do not exemplify the spirit and principle of the Freedom Challenge and Freedom Challenge mission statement.
5.7. The decision to reject any entry will be made by the Race Organiser. An entrant may appeal such a decision to the Race Organiser within fourteen (14) days. The decision of the Race Organiser will be final and binding.
6. Closing date for entries
6.1. Final entries (consisting of the completed entry form, indemnity, photograph and full entrance fee) must be submitted before the cut off determined by the Race Organiser.
7. Provisional qualification
7.1. Challengers must be 18 years of age as of the starting date of the race.
7.2. Available places will be provisionally allocated upon receipt of the duly completed entry form.
7.3. The Race Organiser will publish the names and details of provisional qualifying individuals on the Freedom Challenge web site.
8. Final qualification
8.1. Challengers will finally qualify for the Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa or Race to Rhodes upon satisfaction of the following additional requirements:
- Receipt of the final race fee
- Receipt of the Challenger's indemnity duly signed.
9. Determination of the winner
The object of the Freedom Challenge is to determine which Challenger can cover the race route in the shortest time.
10.1. The rewards for completing the Freedom Challenge are entirely personal.
10.2. At present there are no financial rewards for the winner or any Challengers completing the Freedom Challenge.
10.3. All challengers successfully completing the Race Across South Africa will receive a Freedom Challenge blanket and be admitted to the Illustrious Clan of Blanket Wearers.
10.4. All challengers successfully completing the Race to Rhodes will receive a hand-crafted Basotho cattle whip and admitted to the illustrious Clan of Whip Bearers.
11. Challenge Start Function
11.1. Unless prior arrangement is made with the Race Organiser, all Challengers must be present for the full duration of the Challengers’ supper and pre-race briefing to be held in Pietermaritzburg on the evening prior to commencement of their start batch.
12. Race start
12.1. The official starting date and time for the Freedom Challenge will be in Pietermaritzburg at 06h00 with the departure of the first batch. Subsequent batches will start at 6h00 on their morning of departure.
12.2. From the start Challengers are required to ride as a peleton until they enter the Bisley Nature Reserve - unless directed to do otherwise by the Race Organiser.
13. Race route
13.1. The Freedom Challenge follows the route of the Freedom Trail – the route is subject to seasonal changes. Challenges will be given the latest maps in electronic format and will be required to follow the intended route indicated on those maps. Challengers will be notified at their race briefing of any late route changes.
14.1. Challengers shall only use accommodation at support stations and other officially authorized interim and emergency stops.
14.2. The Race Organiser will endeavour to ensure that adequate meals and sleeping facilities are available at every support station.
14.3. Support stations will offer meals, bathing facilities and a bed, with bedding.
14.4. Challengers should note that although some accommodation at support stations is very comfortable, other accommodation may be very rudimentary being located in areas without running water or electricity.
14.5. Sleeping facilities at support stations and interim stops will be allocated to Challengers strictly on a first-come-first-served basis.
14.6. Accommodation at interim stops will comprise a bed only. Meals and ablution facilities may not be available. If a Challenger intends to make use of an interim stop, they need to notify the Race Office at least 6 hours beforehand.
14.7. A Challenger may not make demands for food and shelter along the route.
14.8. In addition to using the authorised accommodation a Challenger may use unofficial or commercial accommodation on only ONE occasion during the race.
14.9. A Challenger using such unauthorised accommodation MUST pay the accommodation provider before leaving, the minimum amount set by the
Organiser prior to the commencement of the event.
15. Mandatory stops
15.1. The race is non-stop, it being within the discretion of a Challenger to determine where on the race route they wish to rest. Unless directed to do so by the Race Organiser for reasons of personal health or safety, a Challenger is otherwise not obliged to make any mandatory overnight stops in the course of the Freedom Challenge.
15.3 Challengers are required to sign in and out of each support station and inform the Race Office of their intended riding plans on a daily basis by SMS.
15.2. Due particularly to the movement of buffalo and black rhinoceros as well as terrain that may be dangerous at night, certain points on the Freedom Trail may not be accessible at night or in bad weather. The Race Organiser may determine daily cut-off times that apply at points along the race route. Any Challenger reaching a point after the cut-off time will not be allowed to proceed beyond it until the time determined by the Race Organiser.
15.4. Challengers shall be notified of the details of these restricted areas.
16. Shipping of food and gear
16.1. A Challenger must comply with any shipping directions issued by the Race Organiser.
16.2. Unless otherwise directed by the Race Organiser, a Challenger may forward additional food and gear to each support station along the route.
16.3. Additional food and gear must be contained in a sealed container which shall not exceed 2 litres in volume. Each container must be clearly marked with the Challenger’s name and the support station to which it must be delivered.
16.4. It is not the responsibility of the Race Organiser to ensure the safety of the equipment, gear or goods and as such the Race Organiser accepts no responsibility for any loss of or damage to them.
16.5. Any charges relating to the handling or transportation of equipment, gear or goods must be paid for by the Challenger prior to the commencement of the Freedom Challenge.
17. Adverse weather
17.1. The Freedom Challenge will be held as scheduled regardless of weather conditions. Occurring during the southern hemisphere winter, Challengers should anticipate bad weather. Snow and early morning temperatures of –10 degrees Celsius have been experienced during most previous races.
17.2. Challengers are again warned that the Freedom Challenge is an extreme endurance event requiring high levels of fitness and prudence.
17.3. Should the Race Organiser deem it necessary they may:
i. prevent a Challenger from progressing past any point on the mountain bike route; or
ii. direct a Challenger to take an alternative route.
17.4. Should the Race Organiser direct a Challenger to take an alternative route, the Race Organiser may add such additional time penalty as he deems appropriate to ensure fairness between Challengers.
18. Basic Equipment
18.1. A Challenger has a choice of bicycle.
18.2. Unless otherwise authorized by the Race Organisor, only one bicycle may be used by a Challenger during the Freedom Challenge.
18.3. If required by the Race Organiser, each Challenger shall carry an emergency tracking device during the Freedom Challenge such as an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) or other similar satellite tracking device. Should such a device be issued, it is the responsibility of the Challenger to ensure that the device is charged and switched on at all times when they are moving.
19 – Minimum equipment, clothing and safety requirements
19.1. Challengers will be required to retain throughout the Freedom Challenge the mandatory clothing and equipment required by the Race Organiser.
19.2. The Race Organiser may carry out random checks during the course of the Freedom Challenge to ensure compliance by Challengers with the minimum clothing and equipment requirements.
19.3. Failure to comply with minimum equipment and clothing requirements may result in disqualification.
19.4. The Organisers may further regulate the wearing of promotional clothing or use of promotional equipment by Challengers.
Rule 20 - Route and Navigation
20.1. The Freedom Challenge will follow the general route of the Freedom Trail, the precise route wil be indicated on the current set of race maps and made available in electronic format to confirmed participants of Freedom Challenge events.
20.2. The Race Organisor has the power to change the route at short notice.
20.3. A Challenger is expected to stay on the route. If for any reason, planned or unplanned, the challenger leaves the route, he should re-enter where he left the route to continue.
20.4. A Challenger failing to re-enter the route at the point where he left it should notify the Race Organiser as soon as possible after re-entering the route. The Race Organiser may direct the rider to return to ride the section or to serve a time penalty (which will generally be three times the time that it would take to ride that section or a minmum of one hour).
20.5. The Race Organiser shall have the authority to withdraw a Challenger whose conduct, in the Race Organiser’s sole and exclusive judgement shows a disregard for the intended race route, or when continuous deviation from the race route is made without reason.
20.6. During the Freedom Challenge, Challengers are restricted to the use of traditional forms of navigation. This includes the use of the official race narratives and race maps, a magnetic compass and any device which measures time, distance and speed without the use of GPS technology (i.e. a simple bike computer). Any device onto which a GPS track or route can be loaded and followed is prohibited. Use of such devices will result in immediate disqualification.
21. Support and Motorized Vehicles
21.1. Part of the goal of the Freedom Challenge is that Challengers should be unsupported and should not receive outside assistance other than provided for by the Race Organiser.
21.2. Challengers may not receive personal support or outside assistance at any stage during the Freedom Challenge.
21.3. During the Freedom Challenge support will only be as officially provided for by the Race Organiser. Generally, official assistance will be provided at the various support stations along the route.
21.4. After the commencement of the race, Challengers may not be transported at any time by motorized means. Any rider taking a lift forward, backward or off the trail with a vehicle will be automatically disqualified.
21.5. Any rider automatically disqualified for taking a lift with a vehicle during the race may launch an appeal. Appeals relating to automatic disqualification as a result of taking a lift must be made to the Race Organiser at the next support station and will be dealt with within twenty-four hours of filing the appeal.
21.6. After the commencement of the Race, personal gear, equipment and supplies of a Challenger may not be transported along the trail by mechanized means without the consent of the Race Organiser.
21.7. No vehicles seconding individual Challengers will be permitted during theFreedom Challenge.
21.8. Vehicles meeting up with a Challenger/s or delivering gear or equipment may cause the Challenger to be disqualified. This includes meeting family, friends or supporters along the route.
22. Sportsmanship and conduct on the trail
22.1. Any Challenger must use civil conduct and act in a sportsmanlike manner throughout the race. Abusive behaviour toward fellow riders, support station hosts or any other people encountered along the route will not be tolerated and could result in disqualification.
22.2. A Challenger may not tamper with another Challenger, their food or gear or interfere in any manner with the progress of another Challenger.
22.3. You are a guest in the areas through which you pass and the places where you stay. Regard your entry fee as a donation rather than a payment and ensure that your attitude and behaviour accords with that.
22.4. Do not hand out sweets, goodies or supplements to children along the trail.
22.5. Do not hand out goods, clothing or donations to people along the trail – if you want to do something for the people direct it through the Race Organiser.
22.6. No outside assistance is permitted so you should not need to pay for this.
22.7. Comply with the guidelines for support stations as published in ‘Freedom Challenge Support Station Etiquette’
22.8. Be courteous and willing to greet people and talk to them;
22.9. Always close any gate that you open yourself, even if there are riders 100 metres behind you.
22.10. The Race Organiser shall have the authority to withdraw a Challenger whose conduct, in the Race Organiser’s sole and exclusive judgement constitutes an unreasonable risk of harm to either himself or herself or to other persons.
23. Good Samaritan Rule
23.1. A Challenger will not be penalized for aiding another Challenger in an emergency. Incidents must be explained to race officials at the next support station.
23.2. The Race Organiser may, in their discretion, adapt times accordingly. The decision of the Race Organiser is final.
24.1. Drafting is permitted during the Freedom Challenge.
24.2. The Race Organiser expressly reserves the right to review this rule and to alter it on short notice to all Challengers.
25.1. No litter of any kind may be left on the trail, in support stations, or in checkpoints. In support stations rubbish must be placed in a bin.
25.2. All material remaining in support stations and interim stops must be left in designated areas.
26. Use of Drugs and Alcohol
26.1. Use of illegal drugs as defined by law or excessive use of alcohol by Challengers during the race is prohibited. The use of any banned performance enhancing substances is prohibited.
26.2. The Race Organiser has the right to conduct random drug testing. A Challenger is subject to collection of urine samples at any point from the start until one (1) hour after the finish.
27. Advertising, Public Relations & Publicity
27.1. The Race Organiser has the unqualified and unrestricted authority to authorize the photographing and collecting of information about the race and all participants therein, and to use such photographs and information for its use in advertising, public relations or other publicity purposes.
27.2. Each Challenger shall sign any and all documents as may be requested by the Race Organiser.
28 - Media
28.1. Interviews and/or videographic opportunities shall be granted to accredited members of the media at the discretion of the individual Challenger prior to, during, and following the Race, utilizing the following as specific guidelines:
i) Only the broadcast rights holder shall be granted live interviews and/or videographic opportunities from 2 days prior to the start of the Race and until one day has elapsed following arrival at the finish.
ii) In the event that more than one camera crew is present in any checkpoint, the first opportunity for an interview shall be granted to the rights’ holder.
iii) No special arrangements for the carrying of the broadcasting and/or recording equipment of any sort may be made by any Challenger without the express written approval of the Race Organiser.
28.2. A Challenger will use his/her best personal effort to ensure that the spirit of these guidelines is adhered to. Alleged violation(s) will be reported to the Race Organiser. Flagrant or knowing violations of these guidelines shall be subject to penalties assessed by the Race Organiser, but not limited to, disqualification.
29 - Scratched Challengers
29.1. The Race Organiser will provide transportation to the nearest public transport hub for any Challenger who scratches from the race, including his or her equipment, bicycle and accompanying gear. Due to the remoteness of the trail, Challengers should not expect immediate transportation, however it will be arranged at the earliest convenience for race management and support station hosts.
30 - Cut offs
30.1. Challengers must complete the race distance within 26 days.
30.2. The following interim cut-offs will apply:
a) RASA Challengers must reach Rhodes in 8 days or less; RTR riders are to reach Rhodes in 7 days or less.
b) RASA Challengers must reach Hofmeyr in 12 days or less
c) RASA Challengers must reach Willowmore in 18 days or less
d) RASA Challengers must complete the race distance in 26 days or less
30.3. The Race Organiser shall have the authority to withdraw a Challenger who is out of the competition and is no longer making a valid effort to compete.
30.4. Challengers who fail to make the relevant cut-off are required to leave the trail.
30.5 If a rider continues along the trail after the 26 day cut-off he or she will be directly responsible for all costs associated with their continuation.
31. End of Race function
31.1. All Challengers who have completed the Race Across South Africa will be entitled to a pizza sponsored by the Race Organiser on arrival at the finish.
31.2 Unless advised to the contrary, Challengers will be provided with accommodation on the evening that they complete the Freedom Challenge.
31.3. Attendance at the end of race Finisher’s Dinner is optional although encouraged.
32 - Race Officials
32.1. The Race Organiser and nominated officials are responsible for the enforcement of all race rules.
33 - Protests
33.1. A Challenger may protest any action of a Challenger that they feel is contrary to the intent of these rules.
33.2. To be recognized as a legitimate protest, any infraction observed by a Challenger must be presented in writing at the next support station and in no case more than twenty-four (24) hours after a Challenger finishes the race.
34 - Penalties
34.1. Rule infractions may result in the issuing of warnings, time penalties, censure or disqualification.
34.2. Warnings may be issued by any official. Censures and time penalties require a majority decision of a three-member panel of race officials appointed by the Race Organiser.
34.3. Disqualifications require a unanimous decision of a three-member panel of race officials appointed by the Race Organiser.
34.4. Warnings: Written warnings may be issued by digital text (email/WhatsApp/SMS) for first time or minor violations.
34.5. Censure: The Organisers, following completion of the race, may censure a Challenger. A censure may include a warning, either public or private and may eliminate the Challenger from future races. A written warning (see 34.4) or disqualification must have occurred before censure.
34.6. Time Penalties: Challengers will need to serve time penalties during daylight hours. Unless otherwise directed by the Race Organiser such time penalty must be served at the support station immediately following the imposition of the penalty. Daylight hours are between 7am and 6pm.
34.7. Challengers deviating from the main race route for any reason will incur a time penalty (which will generally be equivalent to three times the time that it would take to cycle the omitted section of the route in the prevailing weather conditions). If the deviation is forced by the race director, the time penalty may be adjusted to ensure that no Challenger is unfairly prejudiced.
34.8. Challengers deviating from the race route between the penultimate support station and the finish will automatically incur a 24hr penalty that will be added to their race time.
34.9. The race director has the authority to override any time penalty should he deem that no significant advantage has been secured by the infringement.
34.10. The winning time and race record will be recognized, provided all time penalties imposed have been served along the route.
34.11. Withdrawal: Withdrawal is a process that may be imposed by a panel of three race officials, either by a majority or unanimous vote, and which has the effect of involuntarily eliminating the Challenger from the race but which does not imply any deliberate misconduct or violation. The Challenger must leave the route and will be assisted by the Race Organiser.
34.12. Disqualifications: Challengers shall be disqualified for rule infractions involving for example, cheating or deliberate rule infractions that give a Challenger an unfair advantage over another Challenger. It is intended that the nearest involved officials be included on the panel. The Challenger will be given the opportunity to present his or her case to each member of the panel prior to the decision. Disqualified and withdrawn Challengers must leave the route or forfeit the right to enter future races.
35 - Appeals
35.1. Challengers may appeal race official decisions.
35.2. Appeals pertaining to warnings must be presented in writing to the Race Organiser within ten days following the End of Race dinner. Appeals pertaining to censure must be presented in writing to the Race Organisor within ten (10) days after receipt of the censure by the Challenger. Appeals pertaining to withdrawals, disqualifications or time penalties must be presented in writing to the Race Organiser within 10 days following the End of Race Dinner.
35.3. Appeals are at an informal hearing before an appeals board appointed by the Race Organisor which will be held within forty-five (45) days of filing the appeal.
35.4. Review by the appeals board is the exclusive, final and binding remedy for any dispute regarding application of the rules by race officials to a Challenger and that the decision of the appeals board is non-reviewable either in court.
35.5. The Race Organiser shall appoint a rules committee immediately after the race. The rules committee shall be mandated to complete the rules for the following year’s Race.
36.1. Challengers understand the severity of the Freedom Challenge and the necessity for survival skills, endurance running and mountain biking.
36.2. Challengers therefore do not hold the Freedom Challenge, the Race Organiser or any of its agents responsible for any damage or injury sustained to the Challenger or his or her property during the event.
36.3. It is accepted that Challengers have read the Rules and conditions and agree to abide by them.
37. Policy Intent
THE INTENT OF THESE RULES IS TO ENSURE FAIR COMPETITION DURING THE FREEDOM CHALLENGE.
OFFICIALS APPOINTED BY THE RACE ORGANISER ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR INTERPRETING THE RULES IN KEEPING WITH THAT INTENT.