Bester is currently third in the series standings, having accumulated 10 616 points from the three events in which he has participated.
Courtesy of having competed in all four events so far, Fred Buter is lying in first place with 11 083 points.
Bester said in Bell’s absence he felt he could rise to the top of the standings if he finished strongly in tomorrow’s 70km race.
“Buter has completed all four events and he is not that far ahead of me considering I’ve done one less,” Bester told In the Bunch today.
“Nico and I are basically competing for the first spot in the series, but I’m now aware he is overseas.
“That should make the race interesting since there are other strong riders taking part tomorrow.”
Bester, who rides for Silverback Bikes, identified a few threats who could prevent him claiming top spot on the podium.
“Nico’s teammates Gawie [Combrinck] and Wessel [Botha] are obviously strong riders and they will try to do as well as possible.
“They will probably try to prevent me from getting too many points [for the sake of Bell].
“Philip [Buys] is starting to get back to top form again and he will definitely be dangerous.
“Stuart [Marais] is also a quality athlete but I personally have never competed properly against him since I started mountain-biking, so I’m not too sure how I would compare to his abilities.
“My goal is obviously to try and win and if I do I will without a doubt take the overall lead.”
Bester said his form was where it should be as he had been doing a lot of strength work.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve trained a lot but I’ve put a lot of my focus into strength work like I did before the SA champs [in July],” he said.
“My strength and power is looking good but I might just be lacking a bit of endurance, that’s all.”
Bester last competed in the Lionman event almost 10 years ago “in 2008 or 2009”, winning as a junior rider while still in school.
“It would be nice to repeat the same result this weekend,” he said. “It will be interesting going back there after such a long time. I’m thoroughly looking forward to it.”