The Old Mutual joBerg2c has announced age category prizes to complement its overall cash offering ahead of the start of the nine-day mountain bike race on Friday.

Race organiser Craig Wapnick revealed today that the City Lodge Hotel Group had come on board to sponsor over R180 000 worth of prizes in the veterans and masters age categories.

“These categories are always fiercely competitive and, although they are not pros, we believe these are serious riders who need to be rewarded for their efforts.”

Wapnick said the hotel group would be sponsoring 140 bed nights for the overall age group winners among the men’s, women’s and mixed pairs – as well as those entered in the Tread Buffalo category.

“Many of our riders travel for business and leisure purposes and also ride other events around the country, so this lifestyle-oriented prize is a perfect fit.”

He said the first prize of five nights’ accommodation in each age group was a token of appreciation for the effort the riders put into their sport.

In addition to these rewards, he said the total prize money for the pros had increased from R220 000 to a quarter of a million rand for the fifth edition of the race.

Wapnick said the investment, which includes daily incentives, was in keeping with the event’s status as one of the top races in South Africa.

“We’ve also invested in nine days of television coverage, which is another massive incentive for pro teams and their sponsors.”

He said the accommodation vouchers could be redeemed at any of the group’s hotels, including Courtyard Hotels, City Lodge Hotels and Town and Road Lodges.

“The Courtyard Hotel in Rosebank will also be our official accommodation partner for riders attending registration on Thursday evening before they depart from Heidelberg.”

Wapnick said it would be their last chance to experience the luxury of urban living before they enjoyed the camaraderie of the tented camps at the eight rural race villages.

He said the Old Mutual joBerg2c was as much a ride as it was a race.

“We don’t have pros and amateurs, we have racers and riders.”

Wapnick said it was important for organisers to strike a balance between the two and put enough money back into the event for the whole field of 750 riders to enjoy the experience.

“On the one hand, we love watching proper dicing on our great routes and fully support those on top of their game. On the other, we love watching riders smile and grimace their way across the beloved country.

“Whether you are in the prizes or not, you will be rewarded with an inspirational journey.”

He said the Tread Buffalo category – a new national competition for riders 90kg and over – would be launched at the event.

The race starts in Heidelberg on the outskirts of Johannesburg and finishes in Scottburgh in KwaZulu-Natal on May 3.

For more information, visit Follow the race on Facebook or @joBerg2c_journo.
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The Old Mutual joBerg2c’s vets and masters category winners will enjoy luxurious hotel accommodation after eight days of tented camps, courtesy of the City Lodge Hotel Group. Photo: Kelvin Trautman

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Old Mutual joBerg2c