However the Berg and Bush will pose a whole new challenge, given the level of competition they will face.
NAD Pro’s teams, Matt Beers and Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck and Wessel Botha, as well as PYGA Euro Steel’s Matthys Beukes and Philip Buys and Julian Jessop and Phillimon Sebona, are all set to take part.
“I think it’s going to be a big tussle for the podium,” Hill told In the Bunch today.
“The PYGA guys are back up there. Philip is racing again [following his illness] but they are maybe not as strong as they were last year when they were just dominating.
“I think Nico and Matt will be the strongest; they’ve just come off a good win at the 3 Towers. Gawie and Wessel should be strong as well.
“We definitely want to finish on the podium,” Hill added.
He believes he and Bester have good chemistry. “We’ve raced together quite a bit in the past and got some good results.
“Coming out of those races we get along well both on and off the bike and that’s the main combination which usually works out.
“We understand each other’s limitations and strengths, which we try to utilise.”
Hill has taken part in the Berg and Bush several times before, teaming up with various partners.
However, this year Bester took part in the joBerg2c, which is held in a similar area to the Berg and Bush, Hill said.
From his personal experience, Hill said the first stage was usually the “decider”.
“It will be important to try and consolidate and not burn too many matches on the first day, while making sure you’re part of the leading group” he said.
“You can lose time easily so, barring mechanicals, it will be important to save yourself for the last 20 to 30km. That’s where the gaps usually open up and where you can get a bit of lead going.
“The next two days are usually fast-paced cross-country style racing, which is sort of a highlight of the whole race.
“It’s going to be tough [competition-wise] no matter what we do, but it’s a good all-round and well-balanced event.”