25 June - the evening wrap up

From the rain soaked Western Cape to the windswept Eastern Cape, the riders are scattered over nearly 800km of the trail. For some its still a long way to go and thoughts of finishing are still vague and distant but for others, the end is near and their days left on the trail are few.

Anton Wood and Gert Peens celebrated their arrival in Montagu by sipping muskadel and toasting the amazing downhill that they had just ridden to get there - from the top of Ouberg Pass, the roads drops and swoops for 20km as it descends from Anysberg. They are heading out early for McGregor, then Good Hope and finally Trouthaven where they will spend their last night on the trail before taking on Stettynskloof.

Jacques Tatersall finds himself at Rouxpos tonight after heading off solo from Prince Albert early this morning - he did well to get up the Ladder in the wet and cold today but should have some sunshine for tomorrow, when he will head to Montagu.

Prince Albert for the night is where Ant Jankovic-Bessan, Mike Ward and Gary Green find themselves, they rode through from Willowmore and were spared the howling winds of yesterday. Still there after arriving yesterday, is Maarten Witters, who took a rest day and went to see a doctor to have some large splinters taken out of his foot - tomorrow he rides again.

Still on his way to Prince Albert tonight is Stu Brew - he left Dam se Drif at 2:30am and got to Willowmore mid morning for brunch. He then pushed on to Rondawel and didn’t stop, intent on getting to the luxurious Dennehof guest house in Prince Albert. He’s had a massive day of solo riding, over 250km by the time he’s done.

Willowmore is where its at tonight, a big group came through from Dam se Drif in the morning and then stopped. They have been propping up the bar for most of the afternoon. Lee Fuller, Gary Preston and Dave Telford rode in together, followed by the group of Johann Rissik, Ian Verwayen, Alan Haupt and Paul Dalton. Arriving early evening were the racing snakes Tim James, Theo Van Dyk and Tim James, with Liehann Loots and Beat Jegerlehner also pulling in a few hours later after a big double from Cambria.

The Andrews Barnes and Hunt are sleeping at Dam se Drif tonight, after a big day that began at Hadley. An early start for them would see the going through to Prince Albert tomorrow.

Still in the Baviaanskloof tonight are Andrew Blackburn, Nic Jordan and Mike Potgieter together with Mike and Ingrid Talbot. They successfully made their way through the Osseberg after starting the day at Bucklands and are staying at Kudu Kaya tonight.

Mike Roy and John Bowen came through from Hadley today and are also staying at Kudu Kaya. They will be serving a daylight time penalty there in the morning for an infringement of Rule 6, after a complaint was received from a landowner about a camp fire that was not properly extinguished. They will continue to Dam se Drif tomorrow after the time penalty has been served.

Pierre Oosthuizen is staying at Hadley tonight - he had a big day yesterday and got to Bucklands in the early hours of the morning but it seems to have taken its toll. Moving too slowly today to get to the Osseberg in daylight, he made a wise decision in staying at Hadley. Tomorrow he’ll have fresh legs and plenty of daylight to get him through the kloof safely.

Marnitz and Ivor are at Bucklands tonight, making bike repairs and readying themselves for an early start to get through the Osseberg before dark - good chance thay they'll pick up Pierre Oosthuizen on the way through later tomorrow afternoon.

Mike Glover and John Exley are at Toekomst tonight after a good double from Grootdam today. With plans to get to Hadley tomorrow, they seem to be moving well and making up time wherever possible.

And last but not least, we have Mike Devereux and Nico van Zyl, who are staying at Grootdam tonight. After their second relatively easy day in a row, they are ready to try a double tomorrow and are aiming for Toekomst.

The next few days will see the first riders arriving at Diemersfontein. There are also likely to be some decisive moves form the racers as they jockey for position and line themselves up for the finishing stages. With a brief gap in the weather, its time to ride.