The Munga, a 1,000-kilometer mountain bike race set to take place in South Africa this December, made waves in May when it announced a $1 million prize purse. However, the self-proclaimed “toughest race on earth” said Tuesday that the event will be postponed until 2015.
In a brief online announcement, race director Alex Harris said, “Today we face one of the race’s toughest challenges, having to postpone the event to 2015, as one of our key investors has withdrawn.”
Notable pro racers had already committed to the first-year event, including Olympic champion Bart Brentjens, Karl Platt, and Jeremiah Bishop.
“It is a disappointment to hear The Munga is postponed,” Bishop told VeloNews. “Something of this scale is never easy to pull off so it may be best to have more time to develop the event. The interest and media attention for the event is broad and global, so I am looking forward to next year. I guess it just taps into multiple things people find exciting: risk, insane challenge, and money.”
The race had been set to offer a non-stop course from Bloemfontein, South Africa to the Cape Winelands on the coastal tip of the African continent. Teams of two would vie for the first-place prize of $750,000.
“The Munga dream has not changed and is just getting stronger,” said Harris at the close of Tuesday’s statement.
“Bike-packing and expedition racing are popular now, so I think this event just builds on that interest,” said Bishop. “I’d love to make a go at the Arizona Trail Race record or Colorado Trail now that I know I can do this type of thing.”