Marais did not participate last year as he was competing in the African MTB Continental Champs cross-country race in Egypt, where he placed second.
“I haven’t done it for the last year but obviously it’s a goal for me. I’d be keen to repeat my win.”
“I’m going in a bit blind having done it two years ago, but hopefully I’ll remember some of the course.”
Marais, who placed fourth in the elite men’s race at the African cross-country champs in Windhoek earlier this month, said he hoped the course would dry out after the recent heavy rain.
“Hopefully things will dry up because that could be a bit of a challenge.”
Marais, who has been focusing on preparing for Olympic-style cross-country racing as he targets team selection for Tokyo next year, added that he expected “some great competition” from Tyronne White and Andrew Johnson.
White, on the other hand, has been concentrating on marathon-style riding and therefore they have not raced against each other this year.
“Overall, my season has been alright. I had two great races in Cape Town. Well considering the field that was there I was happy with how it went,” said Marais, who also placed third overall in the men’s team race at PE Plett.
“I had a three-week racing block for cross-country and now I’m building up for the rest of the season.”