Eastern Cape educational establishments will take the fight off the beaten track for the honour of being crowned the top mountain biking school at the third Mondi Herald Ado Mountain Bike Challenge on Sunday, October 31.
According to race director Shane Bradfield the Schools’ Challenge has become an integral part of the annual mountain biking festival, which takes place in the Addo Elephant National Park just outside Port Elizabeth.
“The idea behind the challenge is to promote the sport with a younger target market, which gives it a broader base to grow from.” He said cycling in the province tended to be “top heavy” with proportionally more riders in the older age groups.
Bradfield said the interschools competition encapsulates performances by schools’ riders in the 60km Herald Challenge and the 30km Capespan Schools’ Challenge & Family Fun Ride.
“The winner is determined by way of a formula that takes into account the number of entrants per school and relative performances across the two events. Smaller schools that may field fewer entrants will therefore not be penalised.”
Aside from the status of being the top mountain biking school in the region, he said the champions would also receive a floating trophy and financial reward towards developing the sport in-house.
Eastern Cape Cycling president Louis Rossouw said there was a huge need to get schools involved in the sport as these institutions were the traditional breeding ground for tomorrow’s stars. “The next Kevin Evans or Burry Stander could be in our midst, so I urge schools to make use of this opportunity.”
Rossouw said the Mondi Herald Addo Mountain Bike Challenge was, as far as he was aware, the only mountain bike race in the country to receive a “clean” commissaire’s report last year. “In essence that means the race is run in a safe and fair manner, which will give parents peace of mind.”
Eastern Province junior champion Ruan van Staden (Grey High School), who finished sixth in the 60km event last year, said George’s Gert Heyns would probably set the pace among the schools’ riders. “He won (the 60km) overall last year and the smart money will again be on him.”
Bradfield said riders could enter the Schools’ Challenge at registration at the Addo Polo Club between noon and 8pm on Saturday, October 30. He said those who had already entered online could also put their names down at registration.
Apart from the 30km and 60km races, the event also offers an 85km Extreme Challenge, a 5km Kiddies’ Challenge and 1km Toddlers’ Dash.
Prize-money of over R60 000 is up for grabs.
Online entries close today (October 25).
Full Stop Communications
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