After a week of adventures, injuries and some of the toughest horse riding in the world South African Craig Egberink who led the field for most of the race crossed the line in first place. In what turned out to be a nail bitting finish Sanbayier who had been catching up over the last few days of the Derby crossed the line just 2 minutes later to claim second place.
Dairy farmer Craig Egberink, 44, has won the longest and toughest horse riding competition in the world.
The Mongol Derby 2011 covered 1 000 km on tough ponies, with plenty of bruises and drama along the way.
The derby is organised by a UK-based company, The Adventurists, whose mission is “to work tirelessly to make the world a little bit more interesting”.
Competitors were dropped “in the middle of nowhere” on the Mongolian steppe near the capital Ulan Bator and had 10 days to travel 1 000km, with only a pony, GPS and five kilograms of essentials.
Egberink took up the challenge with his riding buddy from Underberg, Kevin Pricemoor.
Egberink’s wife, Sally, said she was worried about her husband, who left home for the challenge on July 31.
“I haven’t had contact with him since he got to Mongolia. He only called me when he arrived there to tell me that he was safe.”
She has still not spoken to him, and she learnt of his success via the race’s website.
Egberink has a fierce passion for horses. He owns four and has been riding since he was a young boy.
He has also taken part in endurance races locally, but decided to take it to another level when he entered the derby. Egberink went through nine months of training and read a lot to prepare himself mentally.
Riders endure river crossings, hills, dehydration and sunburn, and eat whatever the local Mongolian herders do. After every 40km travelled the riders are given a new pony.
Sally said Egberink, a father of three, is “quite tough” and she is proud of his achievement.