CYCLIST taking part in the Cape Pioneer Trek mountain bike race in South Africa found themselves having to outpace a shock new rival – a spooked giraffe. The 15ft tall creature darted out of the bush and started racing with the cyclists. They soon found themselves having to pedal even faster to try to escape.
At one point the one-tonne giraffe was running alongside them – a drama captured on camera from a helicopter. Well, the cyclists certainly got their wish – they did sign up for an extreme sports event.
The funny moment was caught on camera by Zoon Cronje, 35, who was taking aerial shots of the race from a helicopter. Mr Cronje, from Pretoria, South Africa, said he often photographs extreme sport events but he’d never captured anything quite like this.
He said: “We were about 200m away when the giraffe got spooked and started running towards us and the riders, it was a complete surprise. It could have been very ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs, giraffes are massive animals and the riders didn’t have the vantage point we had to see it coming. There were three giraffes and they probably got spooked by the sound of the mountain bikes passing nearby but one of them decided to run in the wrong direction crossing paths with the riders.
“I had a front row seat to the action holding my breath and luckily instinct kicked in and I kept shooting rather than staring.” He added. “I’ve captured quite a few close encounters in my line of work, this was by far the most ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs because of the speed of the riders going downhill unable to see the rapidly approaching giraffe. I very seldom shoot sequences but I am glad I did.”