Sebona’s cycling career started in school when, tired of asking for lifts, the intuitive youngster started selling peanuts to raise funds to buy his own bicycle.
“From the money I raised running my own business I bought my first bike – a Gary Fisher Mamba,” said Sebona, who grew up in the historical village of Botshabelo just outside Middelburg.
“From grade four I used that bike to travel the 40km to and from school and I continued to do so until my final year.”
The 25-year-old was on the verge of hanging up his cleats at the start of the year until a call from his former Cape Epic teammate William Mokgopo convinced him to join the Diepsloot MTB Academy instead.
“I was glad to join the academy as I love seeing the way the kids train with their bikes and the way cycling can change a community,” he said.
“It has the power to really help those from poor backgrounds and assist those wanting to reach that next level of racing.”
Despite starting the year with just a handful of sponsors, Sebona and Mokgopo teamed up again for the Cape Epic, where they won the Exxaro category and finished 42nd overall.
The pair went on to win the Sabie Xperience in April after which Sebona soloed to victory in the 50km Centurion Mountain Monster at the end of last month.
“I knew I wanted to grab a spot on the podium but, after seeing the starting line-up, I didn’t know how it was going to be possible.
“It was definitely a hard race, perhaps one of the most difficult one-day events,” said Sebona, who added that it reminded him of the Epic.
“There was a furious pace from the start and I couldn’t get to the front, like I wanted to. I knew it had to slow eventually, and that’s when I decided I’d make my move.”
“Wessel was at the front for the whole day and I had to keep telling myself that anything can happen in racing, that it isn’t always about who is the strongest. It’s also about who is willing to wait until the time is right to make a move,” said Sebona.
The Pretoria resident said it was a triumph that meant a lot to him.
“It’s the best feeling to win.”