Former champion Kevin Evans and new partner Max Knox will be aiming to stay the course to victory in the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race that starts on the outskirts of Johannesburg on Friday. Evans, who rides in the colours of FedGroup-Itec, is aiming to make amends for last month's Cape Epic disaster where an illegal shortcut cost them an hour time penalty and their lead in the African jersey category. "Staying the course will be a relative term this year," said Evans wryly, "especially in a race that's now self-navigated. I can apparently hardly find my way around a marked course!" The 880km race from Heidelberg in Gauteng to Scottburgh on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast will employ GPS navigation instead of traditional route marking for the first time this year. "This could be the biggest factor to influence our race upfront," said Evans, who won the 2012 event alongside former teammate David George. "Whether it's a good change or not, we're sure to find out soon enough. But given my apparent fondness for 'shortcuts', this new format might just be right up my alley." The fifth Old Mutual joBerg2c will see 750 riders roll out from the Karan Beef feedlot and cross the Vaal Dam on a 400m pallet bridge during the neutral opening stage. The journey continues across the Free State before dropping off the escarpment into KZN and finishing on Scottburgh's main beach next Saturday. The last three days trace the world famous Nedbank sani2c route but Evans, a five-time winner, said the race could be won or lost from the outset. "In 2012 we arguably won the joBerg2c on the first stage. But I do think that endurance counts and you need to conserve over the nine days." With the national and world marathon championships still in their sights this year, Evans and Knox are set to adopt a more conservative approach. "From a form point of view, it's a bit of a balancing act but I think we're both on the same page in terms of what we . . .
Lee-Anne Pace, South Africa and Europe’s top female golfer, and First Car Rental are collaborating with some big names and brands in golf to bring to Franschhoek the inaugural First-Pace Golf Day for Girls, which will happen on 14 May 2014, at the award-winning Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate, Franschhoek. The First-Pace Golf Day for Girls is a fully-sponsored event for girls who attend schools near the Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate. The aim of the golf day is to spot natural talent and attitude, and finally, to award two of the participating girls a large sponsored prize package valued at R500 000 per winner, which will see them being coached and mentored by the best in the golfing industry for 12 months to develop their skills. Eleven schools (including government and private) from the surrounding Franschhoek area have been identified from which 40 young girls from the ages of 9 to 18 years old will be nominated by their school heads, coaches and teachers to take part in the fun but testing afternoon playing different golf shots. There will be tutoring on the day by well-known names such as: • Lee-Anne Pace, South Africa and Europe’s No. 1 female golfer, and also winner of the recent Investec Cup, the Compleat Golfer’s Golfer of the Year Award, and of the Women’s Professional Golfers Association (WPGA) Player of the Year Award; • Lol Jones, the President of Boland Ladies Golf, which is very influential in women’s golf development and have created many a champion; • Pro golfer and Stellenbosch coach, Anna Becker-Frankel, who also runs the Girls Love Golf programme; • Rae Hast, current WPGA President, pro golfer, author, and full-time Teaching Pro at Erinvale Golf Estate; and • Cherry Moulder-Williams, former Springbok golfer and winner of the 2002 Telkom Classic on the Nedbank Ladies Tour. Says Melissa Storey, Executive Head: Strategy, Development & Marketing, at First Car Rental, “We are very excited to be . . .
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 . . .
Organisers of the Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race have unveiled a brand new Vaal Dam crossing on the opening stage of the nine-day mountain bike race, which starts near Johannesburg on April 25. Race co-ordinator Craig Wapnick said this year's event would feature a 400m floating bridge across the dam in place of the traditional Chinese dragon boat crossing. "It's probably one of the longest mountain bike pallet bridges in the world," said Wapnick. "The dragon boats will be missed but we felt it was time for a change, because the riders want to get going as soon as possible." He said the stage would remain untimed, as participants prepared themselves for the 880km journey ahead. "It's still a chilled day for people to unwind, get used to the GPS and just enjoy the first day away from normal life." Wapnick said organisers had also introduced pure satellite navigation instead of traditional route marking this year. "The idea stemmed from the success of the inaugural Dusi2c race. The sense of adventure is incredible and the route remains pristine, with zero impact on the environment." He described the route as "quite linear" and therefore fairly easy to navigate. "Riders can't really take short cuts as they will be off the route, so it's not in their interest to cheat. "If they try to take major detours by missing whole sections, they will be very embarrassed when we give them the Birzman Tool of the Day award and they will be disqualified from the race." Wapnick said the commitment of route sponsor N3 Toll Concession for the third year in a row had made a number of additional route changes possible. "There's a whole new section on day two and a big change on day three that eliminates 15 kilometres of district road and replaces it with some awesome backcountry riding." He said riders would no longer go over the top of Spioenkop on day six but through the "nek" instead, which offered the reward of more bush . . .
Women of all ages are counting the days to the Eastern Cape's most beautiful road race, the SPAR Women's Challenge, which hits the streets of Port Elizabeth during the first week of May. The festival of running starts with the SPAR Little Ladies' Race for girls nine years and under on Thursday, May 1, and culminates in the traditional 5 and 10km road races on Saturday, May 3. SPAR Eastern Cape marketing manager Abri Swart said organisers were preparing for a bumper turnout for the 21st edition of the event, which starts and finishes at Pollok Beach in Summerstrand. Swart said at least 14 000 runners and walkers were expected, making it the biggest road race in the Eastern Cape. "Due to the runaway success of our inaugural Little Ladies' Race last year, we've decided to make it an annual fixture," said Swart. He said the 2km junior event would take place at 9am on the public holiday, which was also the official start of registration for the senior races. "Parents can register their children from 8am at the venue and collect their own registration info, race numbers and T-shirts until 7pm." Swart said the children's race would follow the pedestrian walkway towards Hobie Beach and back and that the route would be fully marshalled to ensure their safety. While a female adult could accompany her child, he said no boys or men would be permitted. "We'll also have lots of lucky draw prizes and finishers' medals for the little ladies after the race." Registration for the senior races would continue from 9am to 7pm on the Friday and late entries would still be accepted from 5.30am on the morning of the race, said Swart. He said the 10km feature race would start at 7am, with the 5km fun run kicking off 45 minutes later. "We'd like to ask residents to be patient as there will be heavy traffic in the area on the morning of the race and certain road closures will be in effect." Brighton Drive will be closed completely, as will Marine Drive . . .
The FedGroup Berg & Bush is set to give talented youngsters their first real taste of stage racing by allowing teenagers to participate in the two-day mountain bike event in the Central Drakensberg on October 18. According to Cycling South Africa regulations, riders aged 15 to 18 may only participate in a maximum of three stages, which cover no more than 60km per day. Race director Gary Green said organisers had decided to shorten their first stage slightly to meet the maximum permissible distance and allow more families to take part. "We are really excited about being able to cater for teenagers at this year's event." Green said the two-day event had always been a family occasion, as children would usually accompany one parent as supporters, while the other rode. He said the demand from eager parents to include their teenage children in the racing had become an annual issue. "Previously the first stage was 63 kilometres, so special permission had to be obtained and many were disappointed." Green said there were very few other stage races on the national calendar that offered this opportunity for youth category riders. "The two-day route is a perfect mixture of farm and cattle tracks, a few swooping smooth descents, some long climbs which aren't too steep, and shorter technical sections that are rideable for the average cyclist." Free bike washes, roving mechanics, sundowner tours and a festive race village atmosphere round out the weekend experience. He said the two-day option took a more light-hearted, sociable approach than the event's two senior signature races - the three-day Descent and Great Trek. "We've always had fun categories, with trophies presented for the top parent and child, husband and wife, and sibling teams. "This year we are introducing a parent and teen prize category, as well as the Tread buffalo category for heavies!" As parents of three children who had all competed in provincial sports, Green said . . .
Former national time-trial champion James Perry showed his natural flair when he launched a solo attack with kilometres to go to take an unchallenged victory at the Emperors Palace Classic in Johannesburg on Sunday. The 34-year-old Team Abantu rider claimed his maiden win in the 102km feature race, which passed by OR Tambo International Airport, in 2:17:55. Calvin Beneke (Team EuropcarSA) and defending champion David Maree (Team Abantu) finished more than 30 seconds back in second and third respectively. Perry said the racing started at a furious pace, with Team Abantu putting two of its riders - Reynard Butler and Myles van Musschenbroek - into the first break of the day. "This put Team Bonitas under pressure and we let them chase for about 50 kilometres. "I noticed that they were starting to tire just before the break was caught, so I told my team to start the attack." This resulted in a select group of about 15 riders going clear with about 30km to go and chasing down the two leaders, Van Musschenbroek and James Fourie (Team EuropcarSA). "Just before we caught them, with about 12 kilometres to go, I launched my final attack and nobody was able to follow me," said Perry. "So I managed to ride solo to the finish due to the efforts of my team." He said they had originally planned a sprint finish for teammate Nolan Hoffman - who had won the points jersey in the Bestmed Tour de Boland and Mzansi Tour in recent weeks - but mechanicals had put paid to this strategy. "I had the best legs on the day, so the weight fell on my shoulders." Perry rode himself into form during last week's Mzansi Tour and also took the Wilro 100 Lions Cycle Challenge earlier this month. In the women's race, Lise Olivier (Time Freight-Velo Life) held her nerve to win a small bunch sprint to the line. Olivier - who was runner-up in the Tour de Boland after winning the final stage - crossed the line in 2:47:40, one second ahead of Anriette Schoeman (Africa . . .
With a R50 000 prize purse, luxury accommodation and challenging three-day route, organisers of the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek have signalled their intent to elevate it among the top mountain bike stage races in the country. According to race director Brad Jackson, the Eastern Cape event - which takes place near Addo on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth from May 30 - had what it took to rival the best of the established stage races. "By offering increased prize money we're hoping to entice some of the top riders to experience the race while it's still a young event." But, said Jackson, the organisers' emphasis would be on delivering a quality experience for the whole field. "Although we would like to see some big names in the race, it's certainly not only for pros." He said the sponsors and organisers had invested heavily in exceeding riders' expectations and that the exclusive field would be limited to 150 two-person teams to ensure a comfortable experience. "All riders who enter this year will get first option for an entry next year, and we believe that 2015 is going to sell out fast once word gets out of what's on offer." Jackson said Hayterdale Trails, which formed the highlight of the final stage, already offered some of the best mountain bike trails in the country, having hosted the national cross-country and downhill championships. "We've also invested months of labour and expense to build another two stages that will be worthy of a stage race of this calibre. "We didn't simply look for existing roads and tracks but have gone in with an experienced team of trail builders and constructed kilometres of new single-track." The spectacular trails now traverse a number of pristine private farms, the world-renowned Addo Elephant National Park and ox wagon trails over the historic Zuurberg Pass. At the end of a hard day's riding, he said, participants could look forward to relaxing in comfort. The Zuurberg Mountain Village would be the . . .
Madibaz judo star Matthew Chase was included in the South African student team after claiming two gold medals at the Ussa championships at NMMU's Missionvale Campus in Port Elizabeth over the weekend. Chase, who won gold in the U/60kg and U/66kg divisions, led his team to their first overall title in the annual competition contested by the country's top six tertiary institutions. The Madibaz's medal tally of 16, which also included four silvers and 10 bronzes, saw them finish ahead of Tuks and Maties after two days of intense competition. Chase, who was named the most promising male athlete, said the event was one of the major ones on the calendar and featured the top judokas in the country. "I am very happy with my results," said the 20-year-old, who had trained twice daily in the lead-up to the tournament. "To keep my sports bursary, I need to perform at my best." The first-year electrical engineering student is no stranger to success after placing third at the African Junior Championships in 2013 and 2014. According to NMMU martial arts manager Bernard Petersen, the Madibaz's success could be attributed to "a collective effort" and the hosts duly received the most spirited team award. Issued by: Full Stop Communications Coetzee Gouws 082 575 7991 041 368 4992 email@example.com www.fullstop.co.za Media enquiries: Anica van Wyk firstname.lastname@example.org 079 875 4299 On behalf of: NMMU Sport Author: Coetzee Gouws from Full Stop Communications. No of Images Uploaded: One More Info link: http://sport.nmmu.ac.za Twitter: https://twitter.com/fullstop Facebook: Images: For high res version/s of One image/s please contact: Full Stop Communications. Madibaz's Matthew Chase has secured a place in the South African student team after winning two gold medals at the Ussa championships at NMMU's Missionvale Campus in Port Elizabeth over the weekend. Photo: Supplied CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
The 12th Columbia Triple Challenge, which took place on Sunday, 6 April, saw SA’s top athletes Lance Kime, Jane Swarbreck, John Ntuli and Jeannie Bomford-Dreyer all finish in top positions. The Multisport Challenge – considered to be one of South Africa’s toughest endurance races – saw competitors first take on a 20km trail run from Pietermaritzburg to Camperdown, followed by a 53km mountain bike race from Camperdown through the Valley of a 1000 Hills to Inanda Dam, and finally a 18km canoe race around Inanda Dam (which included two portages). Lance Kime, the 2013 Dusi Canoe Marathon Singles winner, claimed his first victory in the gruelling 93.6km Multisport Ultra in a time of 5h42m36 but faced his toughest competition in the form of Nhlanhla Cele, winner of the 2011 and 2012 Multisport Challenge. In the end though it was Lance Kime first in 5h42m36s with his friend and training partner Andrew Houston, second in 5h47m16s, and Nhlanhla Cele in third in 6hr11m56s. In the women’s Multisport race, Gauteng athlete, Jane Swarbreck, who narrowly missed podium in 2011, raced to victory this year in a time of 7h29m50s. In second place was Jessica Dicks (8h56m2s), with Jane’s sister, Kate Swarbreck in third. The 80.6km Multicross Challenge, following the same format of the Multisport but replaced the paddle with a 7km trail run through the Msinsi Inanda Dam Reserve and valley-bottom. This event saw the most heated action of the day, when John Ntuli (the 2011 Multicross winner) finished just over a minute ahead of Brand du Plessis (Multiple South African Duathlon champion) in a time of 4h15m07s. In third position was Sizwe Mkhasibe in 4h24m28s. A cracking pace! In the women’s Multicross, Jeannie Bomford-Dreyer raced to her 5th victory, equalling that of Columbia Triple Challenge legend, Dan Hugo. Dreyer won well ahead in a time of 4hr50m41s with Sarah Gray in second place in 6hr05m24s and Terry Pellow-Jarman in 7hr07m34s. Dreyer has now won three Triple . . .