Michael Foster
Photo Credit: Supplied

22-year-old Michael Foster will be competing as a professional racer in this year’s sani2c after years of volunteering at the finish line.


South Africa (17 April 2024) – Michael Foster ‘grew up with sani2c’, and later this month the 22-year-old heads to the 20th edition of KAP sani2c as a pro rider with the PYGA Euro Steel team of Phil Buys, Pieter du Toit, and Jaedon Terlouw, who he will partner with for the Race. He says: “I just want to ride my bike fast.”

This motivation to be fast hit him at an early age, where, as a schoolboy volunteer standing on the finish line of day 1 at Mackenzie Club handing out Super Ms, he heard the announcer say that the record had just been broken for the first stage:

“I think it was 2 hours 40 something, and I remember so clearly thinking that I would break that record one day.”

Foster’s family are neighbours of the Haw family in Ixopo, and living next door to sani2c founder ‘Farmer Glen’ Haw and attending Lynford school, he was bound to be exposed to the excitement of the event from an early age. Lynford school is the original beneficiary of sani2c, started in 2005 to raise funds for the school that Haw’s children attended at the time.

Foster says that in the early days, the school closed for the week during sani2c so that the whole community could help:

“When you got to grade 5, 6 and 7 you could help at a water table, but when I was younger, we were not in school so I went with my parents to help. My dad delivered drinks to the water stations really early in the morning and I can remember nodding off in the car. Once I fell asleep and fell off the tailgate of his bakkie, into the icy trough filled with Super Ms and water! From when I was in Grade R to now, the school has changed so much because of sani2c. Classrooms were built, and then a pool, and now there is a big hall, it’s a different place.”

Glen Haw says:

“Michael lives next door to us so I see him often – every day I see him training and working very hard. My first memory of him showing an interest in riding was when he was still at Lynford, and he was lubing chains all day at the seconding tables one year at sani2c. His mom said to me that he just loves it, and that he wants to be a professional mountain biker one day.”

Foster then went to Maritzburg College for high school and as a border in Pietermaritzburg was less involved at sani2c for a few years, as he pursued hockey and other school sports. Maritzburg College is also a beneficiary school of sani2c, they have run the water table at St. Josephine Bridge from the beginning. It wasn’t until he joined the school canoe club that Foster was back at sani2c:

“I remembered the excitement from those days, and was in awe of the front guys who raced past and did not even stop for our sweets or water. I helped lube bikes again and chatted to the mechanics who were at the water table.”

Foster was in his matric year in 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions saw him at home on the farm, where he rode his bike, a lot:

“When we eventually went back to school, team sport was not yet allowed but we were able to run or bike around the school property. Brandon van der Walt, the canoeing coach, was a talent scout for Euro Steel, and he noticed that I was riding about 40 kms most days, and he introduced me to the PYGA Euro Steel guys.”

In 2021 and 2022 Foster began competing at as many races as he could, including his first KAP sani2c in 2021, when there was a solo category. He came third in the solo race, with Nico Bell and Tristan Nortje ahead of him, both of whom have won sani2c in the past. He enjoyed local successes like winning the KZN XCO title in 2022, the Karkloof Classic, and the Ilovo Eston Classic. After Foster placed U23 at the African XCO Champs in Windhoek in 2022 and then won the title in 2023, PYGA Euro Steel invited him to join their Development Team. Foster partnered with Terlouw at Wines2Wales last year where they placed 9th and established a solid partnership, which continued at the Cape Epic in March, where the pair were 25th overall.

Glen Haw looks forward to seeing Foster compete in the front of the field:

“It is great to see that he was driven and inspired by the guys who were riding sani2c, because it’s a big part of what we do, inspire people to do big things and to lead a healthy lifestyle. Never did we think it would inspire someone from that young age to become a professional mountain biker. Everyone is very proud – he’s a bright prospect for the future.”

Phil Buys says that Foster’s history with sani2c is special:

“It’s where his love of mountain biking started: “I am sure he will soon be a rider that will win the race, and he will have a nice ending to the story of how things started for him.”

Visit www.sani2c.co.za for more information and to follow the Race

Sources: Maryann Shaw Communications 
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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