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Men's Category Trophy

The Men’s trophy was created by celebrated South African artist Niël Jonker and awarded to the winning team for the first time in 2010. Niël works in several mediums and is held in high regard internationally for his painting, charcoal drawing and bronze sculptures. Besides his artistic skills, he is a keen mountain biker and was a natural choice to design the most prestigious trophy for mountain bikers.

For the trophy Niël took his inspiration from the original Cape Epic logo, which included Zebra stripes, a mountain biker and the colours of the South African flag.

The sculpture is cast in solid bronze and mounted on a block of Assegai timber, the trophy stands 37cm high and weighs 8,2kgs.

The winners of the floating trophy receive a mini replica also cast in bronze and presented in a box made from zebra skin and calf leather. Details about that year’s race, including distance, climbing and date, are inscribed on a small brass plaque.



Women's Category Trophy

The current Women’s trophy, designed by award-winning young Cape Town sculptor, Isabel Mertz, is in fact the second Women’s trophy to be awarded to the winners of the women’s category of the Cape Epic. The first Women’s trophy was introduced in 2012 to coincide with the women’s race being awarded Hors Catégorie (beyond categorisation) status by the UCI and the introduction of the new African cog logo for the Absa Cape Epic.
This first trophy was considered a too literal interpretation of the new Cape Epic logo, and was ultimately replaced by Mertz’s more symbolic design in 2016. The current trophy includes bronze stones which represent the rough and unforgiving terrain that riders must overcome. It includes two stones placed on top of each other, symbolising team work between the teams of two riders. The shape of the cast bronze ‘branches’ curling around the stones are based on the structure of an adrenaline molecule, emphasising the endurance aspect of the Cape Epic.

The sculpture is mounted on wood from an African fig tree: in African mythology figs and fig trees are symbols of fertility and femininity. The Women’s trophy is the first trophy to be designed by a female artist and the foundry in which it was cast is also exclusively used by women. 


Master's Category Trophy

The likely winners of the Dimension Data Masters category at the Absa Cape Epic will have been presented with many trophies in their time: World Championship colours, Tour de France winner’s crystal, Olympic gold medals. The calibre of the competition in the Dimension Data Masters can now name some of the royalty of international cycling amongst them, with the category rivalling the elites for big-name show-stoppers.

Now these stars will race for a trophy designed by a son of one of the regions the Absa Cape Epic has visited during its 15 years. Willie Bester was born in Montagu where he first showed his artistic talent as a 10-year-old when designing elaborate wire cars. Bester, whose work has demonstrated expressions of the struggle for freedom in South Africa, is an internationally renowned artist with a reputation for his innovative use of a vast array of materials found in scrap yards and around.

He has taken his inspiration for the Dimension Data Masters trophy from Picasso, the legendary Spanish artist. Bester has breathed new life into a humble bicycle saddle, bestowing it with character and strength, embracing the untamed ethos of the Absa Cape Epic.


Grand Master's Trophy

Sculptor Guy du Toit’s inspiration when creating the trophy for the winners of the Grand Masters category was to envelope himself in the ethos and experience of riders over 50 years old: mastery, wisdom, dignity and intellect and inner strength.

The Grand Masters has become a keenly-contested race at the Absa Cape Epic, with age proving little more than a number and no hurdle to ambition and competitiveness. Du Toit, himself in his late 50s, has created a timeless trophy that speaks to the past, future and present of those who compete for it.

The trophy is a wheel or a circle with a cycle spoor running deep on the outside, with a texture that celebrates the Western Cape landscape. The choice of the circle was informed by the fact that the dot is one of the most potent design elements and is endless, which is suggestive of the Grand Master's journey. The circle functions as a lens, looking both back at that which has gone before and that which is to come.

The trophy is cast in bronze and has, appropriately enough for the Grand Masters, an antique patina.


Mixed Category Trophy

Rina Stutzer, the artist behind the trophy for the winners of the Virgin Active Mixed Category, found inspiration for her creation from her personal relationship with the Absa Cape Epic. She has followed two races from start to finish as a supporter of her partner and friends. For Stutzer, the spirit of the Epic is irrepressible.

Her design has focused on the ascent, an aspect that, for many, is the essence of the race. It is the climb that challenges the athletes, taking them to a world unseen to complete a journey of self-discovery and mutual awareness. As the Virgin Active Mixed Category is one in which team members must find the perfect balance and harmony between strengths and weaknesses, both mental and physical, Stutzer has depicted the poetic beauty of a winding, steep incline with a thin sliver of a path that is dotted with riders winding their way to the top.

The trophy is designed around the route to the top of the mountain or the end of the race, a chosen path where the team can consciously commit themselves to expand and transform with every level of ascension. 


Exxaro Trophy

Exxaro Resources is a South African mining company which has been the main corporate sponsor of transformation at the Absa Cape Epic, if not in all of South African mountain biking. It is therefore appropriate that its name is enshrined in the trophy that is awarded to the winners of the Exxaro Development special jersey – for the highest placed team of historically-disadvantaged South African riders under the age of 26.
Exxaro introduced the special jersey race-within-a-race to the Absa Cape Epic in 2012 and the trophy two years later. Lwandiso Njara, protégé of acclaimed sculptor Angus Taylor, designed the trophy to resemble the transformation and progression of two ordinary young potential stars from the township into dedicated, victorious, mountain bikers. All the materials used in the sculpture were sourced from various Southern African Exxaro mines and include coal, iron ore and titanium. The result is a trophy that weighs in at 9,4kgs and which often gives the winning riders a surprise as they hoist it above their heads at prize giving.



Burry Stander Memorial Trophy

The Burry Stander Memorial trophy, created in 2013, is awarded to the winners of the Absa African special jersey for the highest placed team from the continent.

The trophy was created by renowned local artist Angus Taylor in dedication to Burry Stander, the former U23 World Champion, World Cup winner and first South African winner of the Absa Cape Epic. Stander was tragically killed in a collision with a taxi while training on 3 January 2013. He had been scheduled to ride the 2013 event with his Swiss partner Christoph Sauser as defending champion. Angus has himself completed the Cape Epic four times and has an intimate feel for the race. He used exclusively South African materials in the design of the trophy. It was inspired by a Chiwara, a styled wood-carved antelope used in African ceremonies, which in this case is sculpted out of haematite from Thabazimbi. The Chiwara is depicted running on the base’s rugged Matumi wood, sourced from South African watercourses.




Hannele Steyn Trophy

The Hannele Steyn Trophy was created in 2017 and will be awarded to the first all-African women’s team to cross the finish line as of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic.

Hannele Steyn is the only women to have finished every Absa Cape Epic since the inaugural race in 2004 and is part of the four Last Lion’s, all of which have ridden every race. The trophy touches on the strength of women at the Cape Epic, and this new trophy and category is vital in promoting African cycling.

Pretoria artist Kgaogelo Mashilo’s designed the trophy, which includes the Adinkra symbol of the Wawa Aba, the seed from wawa tree from West Africa.

Mashilo says: “The seed from the tree is renowned to be extremely hard and strong. The symbol of the seed, which is very distinctive, speaks of toughness and persistence. It is a really tough seed. I wanted to use that to show that female Absa Cape Epic riders have the same toughness of the seed”


Last Lion Trophy

Dylan Lewis has created a work that captures the noble majesty and regal bearing of the king of Africa’s big cats for the Last Lion trophy. His sculpture, which will be presented to the last rider to have finished every Absa Cape Epic, exudes the respect and strength that the competitors and the lion have in common, celebrating their legendary status.

Lewis has forged a reputation as one of the foremost figures in contemporary sculpture. Born into a family of artists, he followed the path of his father, Robin, himself a renowned South African sculptor. He is one of a select group of living artists who have had more than one solo auction at Christie’s in London. Lewis takes wildlife as his inspiration, and has focussed on the cat in his work, imbuing his bronze sculptures with power and movement, using texture to represent Africa’s primeval, rugged and beautiful landscapes and the ancient, unforgettable rhythms of the continent. His sculptures work on an abstract as well as physical level.

For the Last Lion, Lewis has sculpted a lion lying on a rock as he looks across the plains, king of all he surveys.



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