Event Report: CrankChaos 2018 - Lesotho, Africa

Nov 8, 2018
by Eric Palmer  

On the 1st of November, over 250 CrankChaos riders and spectators from across Southern Africa descended on Afriski Mountain Resort in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Excitement around this years 3 day CrankChaos event has been building all year with the announcement of major new sponsors, and the return of South African World Champion Greg Minnaar to the Afriski trails in Lesotho.

CrankChaos takes place, every year, high up in the heart of the Drakensberg-Maluti Mountains, Lesotho and is one of the most unique biking events on the continent. Bringing together the biggest brand names in mountain biking as well as the experience of the only Mountain Bike Uplift/ T bar in Africa.

From the first day, CrankChaos had an instant sense of community and electric atmosphere. After riders grabbed their goodie bags it didn’t take long before kit was thrown on, bikes were loaded onto the bike lift and everyone headed off to take advantage of every second possible on Afriski’s network of trails.

With the beauty of the surroundings you would be forgiven for forgetting the real reason for the trip to the Mountain Kingdom, but by the time the starting gun had sounded, nobody was under any illusions as to why they were there. With over R40 000 worth of prizes across the 5 formats.

Faith Race Dual Slalom

Afriski’s main slope came alive for this eliminator style competition, featuring a custom built start gate, tightly packed berms, speed bumps and a final launch to the finish. After a neck and neck battle between Greg Minnaar and Tim Bently, it was Bently who came out on top as the Faith Race Dual Slalom champion.


1. Tim Bently
2. Greg Minnaar
3. Johan Potgieter

1 Tim B 2 Greg Min 3 Pottie
1. Sabine Thies
2. Frankie Du Toit
3. Steffanie Grossman

FOX Racing Enduro

The 3 stage FOX Enduro, totalling 6.3km, proved to be the ultimate test of endurance and riding ability for even our most battle-worn competitors. Riders were called upon to combat the gruelling altitude of the majestic Maluti mountains all while manoeuvring the technical downhill trails that come with it. Theo Erlangsen battled hard to be the first across the line followed by Greg Minnaar in 2nd.


1. Jasper Barrett 11:59
2. William Luxford 12:53
3. Ike Klaasen 13:13

1. Stephanie Grossman 13:06
2. Frankie Du Toit 13:25
3. Sabine Thies 13:35

1. Theo Erlangsen 11:10
2. Greg Minnaar 11:23
3. Johan Potgieter 11:27

1 Theo 2 Greg Min 3 Pottie

Norco Downhill Eliminator

Casual berm blasting at Crank Chaos

The Norco Downhill Eliminator was not merely a race against the clock. In fact, it was the ultimate challenge requiring not only technical skills, but stamina and just the right amount of luck. Four riders, each on a separate downhill run of equal distance, but all with their own twists and turns, raced to be the first through the Redbull arch. Navigation of berms, jumps and bridges up the ante – and the excitement. In the end, the Greg Minnaar came out as the king of the Norco Downhill Eliminator:


1. Jasper Barrett
2. Ike Klaasen
3. William Luxford

1. Beanie Thies
2. Frankie Du Toit
3. Stephanie Grossman

1. Greg Minnaar
2. Johan Potgieter
3. Tim Bently

Johan Potgieter, 2nd in the Norco DH eliminator comments on his final, “I slipped my pedal at the start, and then down there I went off track, just kidding, I had a good run! Greg and I swapped lanes from the previous round I thought if I went off and let it loose and risk a bit but when we got to the bottom the man was in front of me - so well done to him!”

Strava Challenge

Coming to completely dominate, 7 time Xterra winner Conrad Stoltz, took the top of the leaderboard for the Avalanche & Goldilocks Strava challenges during the event. His times were so impressive Stoltz now has the fastest time ever recorded on Strava on the Black Mountain Pass route and 2nd fastest ever on the Goldilocks trail.

Hill Climb

The rules of the CrankChaos Hill Climb are simple. As the name suggests, this event dares riders to race directly uphill in the fastest possible time. Should a rider’s feet stay grounded just a little too long, they are automatically disqualified. Thighs and buns of steel, double the riders decided to enter and there was a record breaking distance from the winner of the Hill Climb, Conrad Stoltz.

Whip Off

With the sounds of bells, Talon chainsaws and vuvuzelas, the vibe surrounding the Whip Off competition was nothing less than electric. The Whip Off competition is judged on technicality, amplitude and, of course, style. The title of King of the Whip was awarded to the rider with the highest scores.


1. Tim Bently
2. Ike Klaasen
3. Andrew Neethling

What is CrankChaos without the infamous final night party? The theme this year was Day of the Dead and riders certainly did not disappoint with their fancy dress for the occasion. The highlight of the night was the performance by electro DJ duo Veranda Panda who had the Cranksters on their feet all through the night bringing down the curtain on yet another spectacular event.

“It’s our third one now and it’s by far the biggest one yet, three times the amount of riders than last year. The field was big in all the different events, the stoke levels were so high most riders ended up participating in every format. The dozen of local riders that compete internationally including; Greg Minnaar, Andrew Neethling, Johan Potgieter and other recognisable names like Hayden Brown, Tim Bently and Theo Erlangsen definitely raised the level of riding. Everyone upped their game and went faster and higher.” comments Peter Pyper, Operations Manager and Event Organiser.

“We hope to grow this event in the years to come, with riders calling it one of the best local events they’ve been to. Riders are already asking for when entries open for next year, so we’ll be rolling that out over the next few weeks. So, if you love gravity and rubbing handlebars with your idols then keep your eyes on our website for the 2019 editor.” concluded Peyper.

Marking his much-awaited return to the Afriski slopes after a year away, when asked what’s the one thing that makes CrankChaos so special, the Maluti Mountain Goat Greg Minnaar had this to say. “I don’t think it is just one thing; the Afriski venue itself obviously it’s very unique I don’t think this event would happen without it. That and the people that come to do it, everyone is here to have a good time and ride bikes. Some guys just wouldn’t stop riding all day. Even some of the youngsters said to me, ‘Hey that guy has been lapping all day’…it’s just like that! We’re already planning for next year and can’t wait to be back.”.

CrankChaos will be back in 2019 so keep your eyes locked on www.crankchaos.com or follow us on the #CrankChaos or Afriski Mountain Lodge Facebook pages and be the first to get your hands on a set of tickets next year.


* CrankChaos took place between the 1th - 4th of November 2018
* For more event and accommodation information, got to: https://www.crankchaos.com
* Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CrankChaosMTB/
* Follow Afriski on https://www.facebook.com/resort.afriski/
* For more information contact Peter Peyper at peterp@afriski.net


  • + 33
 Is Eric Palmer the photographer as well on this article? Whoever it is, they got some really great shots!
  • + 27
 Yeah, they're all mine. Thanks man!
  • + 7
 How good must it feel to beat the GOAT
  • + 2
 Is it just me or is there a man with three red eyes staring back at the camera in the 17th photo...!?
  • + 2
 Lesotho has different laws, a bit like Canada Wink
  • + 3
 Africa, and only white folks!
  • + 0
 Exactly what I thought.
  • + 5
 Exactly what I thought, too. But that Rasta FF helmet is great!
  • + 0
 Well it is South Africa ( England )
  • + 13
 Doesn't warrant a response but seriously, lose the freakin' race card. I raced in that area last month and the winners and second place were..... not Caucasian. So, really people, look in your own countries and then call the race card. you can down-vote as much as you like. There is absolutely no racism in the sport and the event I participated in was to fund schools and other development in the rural areas. So, get a grip and stop always associating the modern South Africa with Apartheid. That shipped sailed over 20 years ago.
  • + 1
 @MMOF: Yup. SA definitely has it's issues but it's more progressive racially speaking than the vast majority of the USA currently is IMHO.
  • + 4
 @Beez177: Well actually it is The Kingdom of Lesotho. An independent country (and not white ruled) since 1966.
  • + 0
 @Dustfarter: and Europe and the UK...
  • + 4
 ..and those white folks are as African as the black folks, your point being?
  • + 2
 @Dustfarter: yeah, it's so progressive you can't even work for the government if you're white. Soon they'll be as enlightened as Zimbabwe.
  • + 3
 ^ Gooi Mielies
  • - 1
 Maybe each pro can sponsor and mentor a black SA youth for a year, and then they can enter the youth division for 2019 for whatever discipline they choose. It would be cool to see.
  • + 10
 They do already do that, but with the risk for injury in DH & the slim chance of getting anywhere near making a living from it, they rather focus on getting people into XC.
  • + 1
 @ericpalmer: great to hear, thanks for the insight. Great shots and write up! Minaar is a beast.
  • + 1
 oooooooof. Wishing I went now Frown
  • + 1
 Throw Corn, throw it hard!
  • + 0
 Where's the video?
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