You can race it or just go along for the ride but the question everyone is asking ...

“Why is it called Midnight Express?”

Here are 2 great reasons for the midnight start on the 26th of January 2019.

The Poort

The magnificent Groot Rivier Poort, which leads into the Antoniesberg Pass, is 94km into the journey.

This means that you exit the Karoo as the sun is rising and enter the extension to the Baviaanskloof in the early morning. With only 37km left of the journey (the last 20km being mostly a downhill run to Patensie), arrival for breakfast/brunch is perfectly timed.

The Karoo

Starting at Midnight and riding through the Karoo is a star studded experience. The Karoo at night takes on a whole new dimension:  shooting stars, moonlit roads, animal calls – a thrilling new experience on your bike.  Arrive before 11pm on Friday night, in the quaint Karoo town of Steytlerville, enjoy the strong coffee and vibe on the start line, jump on your bike at midnight and 129km later, breakfast will be served in Patensie .… No accommodation needed.   

The race is open to all riders, entry fee is R1250 for Team of 2.   If you’re not CSA registered, a day license is required, at R45 per person (you can include this in your entry fee).  We are also offering a No Hassle Car Transport option  – we’ll arrange to get your car from Steytlerville to Patensie at R850 per vehicle.

The Midnight Express package includes a great goodie bag, entertainment and drinks at Steytlerville, and breakfast/brunch in Patensie.  The reputation of event specialists, Red Cherry Adventures, guarantees you a most incredible 129km MTB adventure.

This is one great MTB event - so add it to your BikeIt List and don't miss out. Entries are limited to 800 riders so ENTER NOW!!

Sub 5hr Challenge

This is for the Pro’s. Our best time to date is 5hrs21 by Marco Joubert & Shaun Glover.  Now with 5km shaved off the distance we believe a sub 5 hr ride is possible but it will take some team work and tonnes of effort. The reward is massive at R40 000 and that prize money is shared equally amongst the Sub 5 hr riders. The Team rule of 2 min gap will be enforced till the 95km mark and then its every man (or woman) for themselves.

The Strategy will be to get a Echelon going for the 1st 95 km and try and steal 10 min and then give it a go up the Grootrivier Pass and make up that other 11 min as you go up and over to Patensie … it will be close.

2017 Results

2018 Results

The Route

Steytlerville to Bucklands WH1 – 45km / 150 m Elevation.
Departing Steytlerville on a gravel road with a gradual descent to our first Waterhole at Bucklands Farm. Slowest riders should do this section in 2.5 hrs max.

Bucklands to Grootrivier District Road – 20 km / 415 m Elevation.
Leaving Bucklands farm the riders head into some awesome Jeep Track that forms part of the Freedom Challenge route. Very rideable with some gentle climbs. Watch out for Kudu!

District Road to Grootrivier WH2 – 30km / 372 m elevation.
This gravel road hugs the northern side of the Baviaanskloof. It is a roller-coaster of ups and downs all the way to the Poort waterhole. This waterhole will prepare you for the climb out the Poort.

Poort to Tower – 20km / 866m elevation.  
This is the toughest piece with the route taking you up and over the Antoniesberg Pass. The main pass is only 5.4km and the vistas over the Cockscomb and Baviaanskloof are truly amazing. Once you have conquered the tough climb out, you can fixate on the Tower in the distance. It’s a gradual uphill with some nice places for a little walk if you wish. There is a water table at the top and you are truly on top of the world and 99% of your day is done.

Tower to Patensie – 14km / 170 m elevation.  
It is mostly a descent of 943m but there are a few sharp climbs that tend to take you by surprise so be aware of it. It is also a rough road so you could let tyre pressures down slightly to make a smoother ride.  The town of Patensie and the orange orchards await.

Race Info


All entries must be done online and no entries on the day will be allowed.

Once payment is made, you’ll assure yourself and your partner a spot on the start line.

On arrival in Steytlerville, go straight to Registration.  There will be a ‘Tuck Shop’ running should you require some last minute snacks.    You will also hand your keys in at Registration if you’ve opted for the No Hassle Car Transport package.

Race Registration is Friday

25 January 2019

 20:00 – 23:00

at The Show Grounds.

F A Q 's

  • When does the race actually start?      At midnight – Friday night / Saturday morning, so you need to be in Steyterville on Friday night, registration closes at 11pm and the race starts an hour later.
  • Is there a shuttle service up to Steytlerville or can we catch a lift with the Red Cherry team?    Afraid not – riders need to make their own way there.
  • Is the route marked or do we need GPS?     The route will be well marked with reflective arrows.  
  • Can I have a supporter follow me on route?    Unfortunately not, there are 3 great waterholes – at 44km, 98km and 120km – so you will be well looked after.  The climb out of Grootrivier is narrow and 4×4 so there is no option through.
  • Do I need my own lights?   Yes definitely.  Although the Karoo nights are star-studded and visibility should be good – a good headlamp and red taillight are essential.
  • Is there a time limit and how fit do I need to be?    You have 12 hours to complete, that’s an average of 11km/h.  The first 100kms is relatively flat with mostly Karoo regional roads.  Then a 18km climb with the remaining 15km mostly a downhill into Patensie. Weekend riders could complete it.

Refund Policy

The event organisers, namely Red Cherry Adventures, reserve the right to cancel the race at any time and the race can be cancelled due to any circumstances. Serious considerations will be taken before this happens and the decision will not be taken lightly. If the event is cancelled, an alternative date will be offered. No refunds.

If you, for any reason, wish to cancel your entry, request must be made in writing via email and the following cut off dates are applicable. The amount refunded will be based on the date we receive your written request for refund. This will determine the percentage of refund you will be eligible for.

No credit towards another event will be given.

  • 100% Refund – 3 months prior to event
  • 50% refund – 2 months prior to event
  • 0% refund – Within 2 months of event

Contact Us

PO Box 15710
Emerald Hill
Port Elizabeth

Email Red Cherry Adventures
T +27 41 581 5335
F +27 41 581 5334

About Us

Red Cherry Adventures core expertise lies within the creation of unique adventure events.

Fat Attack, PEPlett, InnerCity Enduro, Rallye Raid, Weekend Warrior and Enduro Africa (which saw the Princes William and Harry participate)  are just some of the events that the Red Cherry team tackle year in and year out.