Day three saw the first riders home in the 400km race. Nic Stathoulis was is the first home in a little under 53 hours. An incredible ride by this 26-year-old who does not have much experience in these sorts of events. He came out from the Netherlands to do the ride and thoroughly enjoyed himself, smiling the whole way through the 400km.
The first lady home was Sarah Van Heerden who arrived just one hour after Nic to finish second overall! She rode the whole with Shaun Knowles and Greg lock. Well done guys!
Mark Basel also made it home in under 54 hours, claiming it to be one of the harder rides he had ever done in his relatively accomplished Freedom Trail career.
Greg Blackwell was the final finisher for the day coming in around 7pm and was also very upbeat about life despite having had some testing moments out there.
Barclay brothers and Willie Du plessis had a very long (20 hour) day from Masakala to Ntsikeni Lodge. They should all be home by lunchtime on Thursday.
Andrew Pearson and Gerrit Van der Merwe also rode from Masakala to Ntsikeni arriving around 9pm. Gerrit is struggling with pulled muscle but looks as though he will soldier on.
The rest of the 400 field made their way from Flitwick with some stopping at Masakala and about 10 riders choosing to push through to St Bernards Peak lodge. St Bernards is 6km off route but a night there lines up an easier ride to Ntsikeni or even a possible push all the way through to the finish.
Enslin continues to lead the 700km race, albeit with some difficulties navigating the tricky route off his watch. Peter Maritz is a few hours back and riding consistently well.
Ole tagged onto Tim James for the loop out via Vuvu and back to Tinana for a sleep. Ole will learn a great deal from arguably the most experienced Freedom rider there is so he will do well to stick with Tim and almost guarantee a finish before Sat 9am. Very kind of Tim to help Ole along and sure they are both glad for a bit of company.
Words: Chris Fisher
Pictures: Llewellyn Lloyd