Bekkenk completed the 361km route in a time of 14 hours and five minutes – just under an hour more than his time last year.
The Dutch mountain biker said it was really hard and he suffered from stomach problems early on in the race.
“Eating and drinking was tough. Luckily I got over that just about half way.”
Bekkenk made an early break with Dusty Day and Kevin Benkenstein. The latter eventually finished in second place.
“The plan was to stay with them at least until Volmoed at checkpoint two. Dusty then had a mechanical, so I said to Kevin that the two of us would go to the foot of the Rooiberg Mountain,” said Bekkenk.
“From the crossing of the big river it was actually all the way uphill from there, so I told Kevin that I would find my own way.”
Bekkenk said he tried to make a big gap right away, but that he put too much energy into it and found Rooiberg much harder compared to last year.
“I couldn’t find my pace. After the downhill there was a 20km flat section and it was really hard, so I just stopped for a bit of food. I also had to sleep to get my concentration back.
“I then just tried to enjoy the sun coming up and the ride to the finish.”
An exhausted Benkenstein said it was the hardest 80km that he had to endure on his way to the finish.
“It is so rough and relentless. It’s just climbs and climbs and climbs. There are just rocks and corrugations.”
In the women’s race, Dreyer felt that she might have rode a bit too hard on her way to the finish.
“We are here and that’s all that really matters in the end. I’m just inspired by the 700-odd people who have taken on this enormous challenge. To see people wanting to prove themselves is empowering.”