The Maties’ MTB team taking part in the Varsity Sports MTB race this year has a deadly weapon in new recruit Frankie du Toit. The SA Under-23 cross-country champion will join Maties stalwart Nicky Giliomee as she takes part in her first Varsity Sports MTB event, a prospect she is thrilled about.
“I’m quite excited,” said Du Toit. “I’ve heard that it’s a fun race and that it’s quite a nice vibe with the whole team there. We’ll be racing local trails around Stellenbosch and I’m so excited for that because these trails are amazing.”
The Maties ladies dominated the inaugural event in 2016, beating second-placed UCT by just under an hour over the course of the two stages. The team will implement a similar approach to last year’s race, with the added quality of Du Toit.
“It’s going to be the same [approach] as last year, because it worked and we’re hoping it will work again this year. It’s always better to know what to expect. Obviously I haven’t done it before but Nicky has and she’s given me some pointers.”
Varsity Sports MTB takes place within a larger event, the Varsity MTB Challenge, which is open to the public and geared towards alumni returning to represent their alma mater, something particularly close Du Toit’s heart.
“It’s a great concept because it brings people who have been at varsity back to varsity. I’m actually a fourth-generation Matie. Both of my parents went to Maties and they are both thinking about coming down for the race. My sister is also at Maties and she’s thinking about doing it too, so it’s something that brings the whole family together, or even reunites a bunch of friends who studied together. I think it’s a very cool concept.”
While this particular event will be new to Du Toit, she is no stranger to the trails. Despite being just 20-years-old this year, she has been racing competitively since the age of 15. The mountain biking bug bit Du Toit early on and hasn’t let go.
“When you’re on a single track and you feel absolutely one with the track it’s magic. You can’t explain that feeling to anyone. It’s a really social sport. I love the people in the sport, it’s more like a family than a bunch of friends.”
At the end of the month Du Toit will compete in the Varsity Sports MTB race, but before then she heads to Australia to compete in the UCI MTB World Championships in Cairns. Having won SA titles in four different cycling disciplines in 2015 alone, there is no doubting her drive to succeed in the sport.
“I have goals in this sport and I want to achieve them. I want to reach my full potential. World Cup series and World Champs are my first goals.”
Keep an eye out for this rising star on the Varsity Sports MTB trails on 30 September and 1 October this year.