Beukes also won the Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge in January this year, with Buys coming third, before the PYGA Euro Steel pair finished third overall in the UCI-graded Tankwa Trek the following month.
However, their year then suffered a setback when Buys contracted a viral infection which ruled him out for almost half the season, preventing them from defending their joBerg2c and sani2c titles.
Buys, however, felt optimistic ahead of the Berg and Bush this weekend.
“It seems that both of our fitness levels are starting to come together. We raced at the 3 Towers and it looked like our shape was there,” Buys told In the Bunch today.
“We’re definitely going to try to win the Berg and Bush again. The 3 Towers was the start of quite a big racing block until the Wines2Whales [in November] and we had quite a good indication of how strong we are.
“I think we will get even stronger as we race more from now on,” he said.
Having mastered the race last year, Buys said he and Beukes had a good sense of where the key areas were.
“We sort of have an idea of where we can attack and where it won’t make such an impact even if we do attack,” he said.
“It’s nice that both of us know the route; that allows us to plan around the event and race strategically.”
He will, however, not be underestimating the competition. “It’s a prestigious event with good publicity and prize money, so all the top riders will be there.
“We’re definitely expecting quite a lot of competition, but that’s a good thing. Matt and Nico will once again be one of the bigger threats.
“But we will quickly find out after day one who the main contenders are and who we need to keep a watchful eye on. Matt and Nico will surely be one of those teams.”
Both PYGA Euro Steel and NAD Pro will be sending two teams to take part in the race.
Buys said having a back-up team was quite crucial. “Last year we stuffed up one of our wheels and they provided a spare wheel.
“We’ve definitely come prepared with two teams,” he said, adding that at the 3 Towers last week their chances were hindered when Beukes missed a flight the day before the race started.
“We struggled a bit on the first day, but on the second day we discovered that we do have the form.” They subsequently won that stage.
He added that they were confident about the things they could control.
“We want to win and we are confident. We’ll see if our legs keep up with our confidence.”