All set for SA's largest MTB festival
17 April 2012
Thousands of mountain bike riders and their families will descend on Karkloof Country Club in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands this weekend for the Karkloof Classic, South Africa's largest mountain biking festival.
There was a big boost for the festival in the lead-up to the event when local MTB stars David George and Kevin Evans of Team 360Life confirmed their entries. The duo recently finished second in the Absa Cape Epic and picked up the award for being the leading African team.
The duo's presence at the event reinforces the strength and quality that the Mr Price Karkloof Classic MTB Festival has achieved in recent years.
"We're obviously delighted to see that both Kevin and David will be with us this year," race director Stu Berry said in a statement this week. "They are two phenomenal riders who put in a really good effort at this year's Epic, and I'm sure they will bring some great form with them to our race this year."
The race received further good news when Cycling South Africa recently announced that it would be one of four events nationally to be used for the selection of the South African cross country marathon team, which will take part in the world cross country marathon championships in Ornans, France later this year.
"This is huge for us," said Berry. "It shows our event is held in high regard by key role players within the cycling fraternity and is a huge feather in our caps."
Cycling South Africa's convenor of selectors for mountain biking, Greville Ruddock, commented: "We're excited to have the Karkloof Classic on board as one of our selection events this year.
"It is a well-established event which generally attracts a large proportion of the top riders already and has a good challenging course, so it should be a great selection venue."
While racing at the front promises to be electric, the event, which is one of the oldest MTB races in the country and approaching its 20th year of existence, also gives MTB enthusiasts of all ages and abilities the opportunity to experience the pristine trails of the Karkloof area.
The organisers have once again put together a mouth-watering schedule which promises to keep each and every participant well entertained throughout the three-day affair.
"Things are all well on track for yet another fantastic Mr Price Karkloof Classic Mountain Bike Festival. Each year we get between three- and four-thousand riders and this year's pre-entries have been flying in, so we're well on track for another huge turnout," said Berry.
"Sunday's Classic is obviously the biggest draw card, and especially with its recent inclusion on the selection calendar, but there are a host of other activities on the go throughout the weekend which have something for everyone.
"Just one of the exciting aspects of this year's programme is Saturday's enduro. Enduro racing is pretty big in Europe, but is still very new to our local riders, so this really is a great opportunity for our guys to come get a feel for what it's all about and try their hand at something completely fresh," he added.
A key focus of the Mr Price Karkloof Classic MTB Festival is the inclusion of all members of the family, as well as the unique opportunity the event gives riders to experience the trails Karkloof's full time track-building team have carefully constructed over the years.
"The fact that there is a team based here full time that cuts and maintains these incredible tracks really is something special," said Berry.
"This also wouldn't be possible without the support of Sappi, who have been absolutely amazing over the years by opening up their land to our riders, not only for the event but year round as well, which is something we're extremely grateful for."
The Karkloof Classic MTB Festival gets underway on Friday evening with the Peri Night Race.
On Saturday, the Stihl Karkloof Enduro and Stihl KZN MTB Schools Lap Race takes place.
Sunday's programme includes the Mr Price Karkloof Classic, the aQuellé 40km Half Marathon, the aQuellé 20km Family Ride and the aQuellé 10km Kids Ride.
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