MARCO THE MUNGNIFICENT! //
Marco Martins from Portugal greeted us at with glee at registration, and then dropped the bombshell that he would be aiming for a sub-60-hour time. Knowing the variables, I was sceptical; but I applauded his determination – especially since he’d never been to SA, and had no idea what lay ahead. I’ve seen some of the toughest riders I know succumb to The Munga.
When we first called it the ‘ Toughest Race On Earth’, the riding community baulked – there are longer races, races with much more vertical gain, races with more extremes in temperature... But what makes The Munga tough is the combination of all the factors.
As a photographer, I’ve seen many grimacing faces in many races across the world; but keeping up with Marco as he set a blistering pace across the Karoo produced one of my most iconic ‘grimace’ images. He knew I was there – I was lying sprawled across the road – and he couldn’t muster even the hint of a smile. He was leaving absolutely everything on the roads and tracks of the Karoo.
At this point, I also knew that one of two things would happen. Either he would implode spectacularly, or we were looking at a new record. It was the latter.