The Algoa Bay Yacht Club hosted two dinghy sailing regattas this past weekend - here are two reports from the sailing and 3 images for your use. Please credit Alan Straton for the images. Below are the two reports from Saturday and Sunday. REPORT SATURDAY 9 November 2013: The first Algoa Bay Yacht Club dinghy regatta of the 2013/14 sailing season was sailed on 9 November 2013 in the harbour. 17 boats contested this 3 race series and Fleet 1 saw a mixed bag of 9 Lasers (4.7, radial and full rig), 2 Finns 1 Regatta and 1 immaculately turned out Sonnet. Fleet 2 consisted of 2 Optimists, 1 Mirror and 1 Gypsey from Port Elizabeth’s sailing clubs – Redhouse Yacht Club and ABYC. The course was laid within the Port Elizabeth harbour in a fairly stiff West South West breeze that peaked at 20 knots. Fleet 1 sailed a triangle, sausage, triangle course and Fleet 2 sailed a triangle sausage course to finish. The breeze and flat conditions definitely favoured the 4.7 and radial rigged lasers who reveled in the short reaches at the top of the course and the long downwind leg of the sausage. A start line showing distinct port bias saw the fleet clustering at the start pin for 3 incident free starts. First regattas are always testing grounds for boats and sailors so the rescue crews were kept busy attending to capsizes and broken equipment – some of which meant a tow back to the Algoa Bay Yacht Club. The damage tally for the day included two broken masts and a number of blocks ‘exploding’. Over the course of the three races the fleet got quicker as the wind speed increased and they worked out their sailing lines – polite speak for; “they started to remember how to make their boats go quicker.” Fleet 1 was the only fleet to include boats that finished all three races. FULL RESULTS: Saturday 9 November 2013 1st: Patrick Butler - Laser 4.7 2nd: Josh Woolard - Laser 4.7 3rd: Thomas Ochabski - Laser 4th: Colin Benade - Sonnet 5th: Andrew Butler . . .
South African marathon mountain biking champion James Reid will return to defend his title in the Ultimate Quest category at The Herald VW Cycle Tour in Nelson Mandela Bay on February 1 and 2. Reid captured the inaugural title when he proved himself the best rider on aggregate over the 80km Extreme mountain bike challenge in Addo and the 106km Classic road race in Port Elizabeth. The 21-year-old said he and girlfriend Candice Neethling, who won the women's title, would once again set their sights on the R10 000 category prize purse. "We love racing in that part of the world. "I think it's a fantastic contest and it will definitely grow within cycling in South Africa; I believe a lot of events will eventually follow suit with something similar." Reid said the pros would use the Ultimate Quest to gauge their early season form against that of their rivals on the circuit. "It's a great weekend of stimulation that helps you build towards other objectives later in the season. It pushes you to the limit, which is great." He said the category tended to favour mountain bikers, as they could create larger time gaps in the off-road event than their opponents could on the road. "On a course like the Classic, where you come back along a coastal road, the wind keeps the bunch together and riders usually don't finish more than three or four minutes apart. "On the mountain bike you can have a puncture or a mechanical or a small crash and then you'll be out there by yourself and lose 10 minutes." On the other hand, missing the right moves on the road could be equally costly, said Reid. "When it comes to the big teams, the guys are fresh and they're firing, so you're possibly not going to win the road race but you can certainly go with the moves. "Matthys Beukes won the mountain bike race this year but missed the key move in the road race and lost his chance overall." The Trek rider said he was feeling confident about the mountain bike course . . .
The highly successful Spur School Mountain Bike League has shown tremendous growth over the past five years and is one of the sport development programmes on the Official Shortlist for the Discovery Sport Industry Awards 2014. The Discovery Sport Industry Awards acknowledges the greatest achievements across the entire spectrum of sport, including the most outstanding and innovative work in marketing, PR, advertising, community investment and sponsorship. Category winners will be announced at a gala event in February 2014. Key industry figures gathered at the offices of the independent adjudicator Deloitte in Johannesburg for hours of intensive judging over two days. The panel analysed and debated the merits of a record number of entries and produed a list of nominees representing the very best that the South African sport industry has to offer. The entire process was overseen by Deloitte to ensure absolute transparency. “The standard of work produced by the South African sport industry continues to improve year on year and to make the Official Shortlist for the Discovery Sport Industry Awards is a huge achievement. To make this shortlist, a brand or agency must be producing genuinely innovative and industry-leading work,” said former Springbok Bob Skinstad, chairman of the official judging panel. “Congratulations to all those shortlisted – and I look forward to celebrating with the winners at the Awards ceremony on 13th February.” The other nominees in the sports development programme category include The Dreamfields Project, Powerade Performance Sessions with John Mitchell, NBA Royal Bafokeng Jr. Programme, SARU – Vodacom Cup 2013 'Tjovitjo' and SuperSport Let's Playlisted. The Spur School Mountain Bike League, which was launched in 2009 as a joint initiative between Spur and Amarider, has exceeded all initial projections in terms numbers and reach and has grown from 900 entries and 20 events in 2009 to 7506 entrants taking part in 52 events hosted in . . .
Between ravaging fires and devastating floods, Mother Nature did her best – or worst – to derail this year's EAI Val de Vie MTB Challenge in September. But the hardy organisers from ASG Events pressed on and the event, presented by Bestmed, will finally roll out across 21 farms in the Cape Winelands between Franschhoek and Paarl on November 24. "It was a very difficult decision to postpone the event but a necessary one," says event director and route planner Darren Herbst. "This truly is a special race, but to ensure the safety of riders and the quality of the event, we had to call it off." The new date means the event will act as the ideal curtain raiser for Africa Bike Week, which follows in Stellenbosch. "The Western Cape will become a cycling Mecca for that week – it's going to be an amazing time." Herbst says the trouble started earlier this year with runaway fires that destroyed the trees and vegetation on the mountainsides. "This affects not only the ecosystems but also water retention capabilities." Add to that a few hundred millimetres of rain in the two weeks leading up to race day and the scene was set for a disaster of epic proportions. "We spent months searching and manicuring trails in the area and about 70 per cent of these were washed away or damaged beyond repair. "Sections of the route just disappeared under water – it was crazy!" The intrepid route builders adopted an appropriate c'est la vie attitude and pressed on with the necessary repairs and changes as soon as the ground began to dry out. "This event has so many special features and we're confident that 99 per cent of them will be ready in time for the event," says Herbst. "This area is like an oil painting." He says a special feature is that the race crosses fenced private property, which is not accessible at any other time. Herbst says both the 30km and 60km routes, which start and finish at the exclusive Val de Vie Polo Club, are aimed at the . . .
Port Elizabeth-based Francois Geldenhuys earned his spot at the 2014 UCI World Cycling Tour when he clinched a double victory in the Msunduzi Road Challenge just outside Pietermaritzburg last weekend. Geldenhuys, who rides for local club Shukuma-NMMU, won the time trial in the 30-34 age category and the overall road race in the only African qualifier for the international event. He will take part in both disciplines at the UWCT Finals, which start in Slovenia at the end of August. Previously known as the UCI Masters Road World Championships, the competition will see the world's best amateur riders competing for the coveted rainbow jerseys in the various age categories. "I only found out about this qualifying event just over a month ago," said Geldenhuys, who returned to competitive cycling in August last year after a three-year hiatus due to injury and work commitments. "I've been doing a lot of mountain biking in the winter months, so I immediately went back onto the road, which is my favourite discipline, and started training specifically for the Msunduzi race." While mountain biking had increased his strength and power on the bike, Geldenhuys said he had had to refocus on his speed work. "I actually just went for the road race but thought I'd do the time trial as well. I knew, having good form, I would do reasonably well and if I had a good result it would make me feel more comfortable for the road race." The surprise double victory gave the 30-year-old, who raced semi-professionally for the now-defunct Team Omega, the confidence boost he needed. "I'm very confident that I can improve a lot more leading up to the worlds. Now I've got a year's base behind me and I can just build on that." Geldenhuys, who gained his national track colours as a junior, said the time trial would be his main goal in Slovenia. "If I train for that, it will give me good form for the road race anyway." He previously also represented SA in a tri-nations . . .
The Herald VW Cycle Tour will offer something new for participants and spectators alike when the 106km Classic rolls out from Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth on February 2. Organisers have introduced the new Lake Farm climb in favour of the traditional 5K Hill, which will also be the site of a dedicated spectator zone. Road race director Julie Briggs said the viewing point would bring the public much closer to the action and that the short, steep climb was one of the points on the route where the race could be decided. "We would love to see the roads lined with spectators enjoying the atmosphere with their camping chairs and skottelbraais. "We'll also be giving away a fantastic lucky draw prize to one lucky spectator on the climb." Briggs said the public would be able to access the clearly marked spectator zone from Kragga Kamma Road. The route over Lake Farm opens up the possibility of adding an additional element to the 2015 route, she said, but this will be confirmed at a later stage. Briggs said her team from Mountain Events were excited to be handling South Africa's second oldest national classic, after managing the mountain bike side of the tour for the past two years. "Our aim over the next few years is to grow this event into one of South Africa's leading cycling weekends and, by doing so, attract more out-of-town participants." Briggs said organisers were also upping the ante in terms of rider safety for the 2014 event. "We designed the course so that there will be no dual traffic or crossing of riders on any road to ensure maximum rider safety. "We will be increasing the number of marshals on the road, with the help of Achilles Running Club. The traffic department will also be assisting us again with rolling road closures." The feature race would once again be an official seeding event for the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, she said. "This is an excellent opportunity for riders to test their legs ahead of South . . .
The Herald VW Cycle Tour's return to Addo on February 1 is set to confirm this area's status as the mountain biking capital of the Eastern Cape. According to race director for mountain biking Brad Jackson, events like the tour had been responsible for a mini economic boom in the Zuurberg region over the past few years. Jackson said the area offered some of the best and most diverse mountain bike riding in the province and landowners had begun to capitalise on the burgeoning sport. "The owners of Hayterdale Trails, for example, are local farmers who have invested a huge amount of time, effort and money in training and employing local labourers to build and maintain the mountain bike trails throughout the year. "These labourers have become so skilled at building proper mountain biking singletrack that they now need little to no supervision." Jackson said this was a win-win scenario for all as events like The Herald VW Cycle Tour, which traverses these trails, were able to keep people employed while growing the sport in the province. He said participants in next year's 80km Extreme event could look forward to some top-drawer singletrack, as well as newly built features like the Rabbit Hole, Corkscrew, Berm Lane and Zorr's Rollercoaster, which were previewed at the cross country and downhill national championships in July. "We had some phenomenal feedback from riders this year, so we've made very minor changes to all three routes." Because the feature race was extremely demanding physically with very challenging technical sections, Jackson said only skilled and fit mountain bikers should consider it. He said it was compulsory riding for those who were up for the Ultimate Quest title, which required competitors to complete both the road and mountain bike feature races. "For those who have reasonable fitness and medium skill levels, the 60km Adventure would be a better fit." Jackson said the 30km Powerade Leisure Challenge on the other . . .
Those who take part in windsurfing world speed record attempts have to be more than a little crazy, almost fearless and driven by some impulse that most people will simply never understand.” This comment was made recently by Mark Grinnell who is one of South Africa’s old hands at the speed windsurfing game and, one of only two South African entrants in the forthcoming world speed record attempt championship. This is scheduled to take place at a unique site in Luderitz, Namibia on 28th November over a 500 m course with an acutely angled 100 m approach (enabling the surfers to hit the start at full speed). The venue, especially selected because at this time of year Luderitz experiences trade winds gusting at up to 130 km per hour, has been specially bulldozed out of the desert sands for this event. It is, however, only 30 cm deep and 5 m wide. Last year Mark Grinnell, aptly nick-named, The Rocket, came out top with the South African and African speed record with a speed of 49,66 knots. This equates to over 90 km per hour. The World Speed record is 52.06 and is held by Antoine Albeau, known as the Michael Schumaker of windsurfing. Mark is currently ranked 8th in the World. “If you come off your board at that speed or if you hit the bank or overshoot the small 50 m pen at the finish, all of which are very easy to do,” said Grinnell, “an injury is almost guaranteed and believe me it will not be minor one.” Grinnell was speaking from experience. He has been knocked out at least four times while windsurfing in his speed sailing career, and last year, in the first week of the event, broke three ribs. He was then patched up and ‘tied together’ with duct tape and in the second week (bolstered by anti-inflammatory pills) he managed to achieve his top speed, which secured for him the seventh place in international rankings and top place in South Africa and Africa. Not the best at stopping, at the end of his last run, Mark hit the sand and flew up into the air . . .
After a strong showing in last week's Tri-Nations netball series, the Spar Proteas will have another bite at the cherry when they take on Zambia and Zimbabwe in the Diamond Challenge in Port Elizabeth from Sunday. The reigning African champions will play their two northern neighbours in the second helping of international netball in as many weeks at the NMMU Indoor Sports Centre. PE-based star Zanele Mdodana said her team was on good form after the international series against England and Trinidad and Tobago. "I think we've been doing very well. We've just come back from playing England on their turf and comparing our performance there with the Tri-Nations, there's already a great improvement." With 67 test matches under her belt, Mdodana is the most-capped player in the SA squad. However, the wing defender who also turns out for the local Spar-Madibaz side, said she would miss the Diamond Challenge due to work commitments. "Every bit of international netball that one can get in is good – the more you play, the better you become. "We're preparing for the Commonwealth Games, which is next year, so we must play as much as we can." She said the Diamond Challenge was important from a continental perspective, as South Africa needed to prove that they really were the number one team in Africa. Although Zambia and Zimbabwe currently rank 20th and 25th in the world respectively, Mdodana said neither team would be a walkover for the sixth-placed champs. "We played them when the Diamond Challenge was first launched in Pretoria last year. "Because they have a totally different style of play – they favour short balls and bounce passes between players – it's actually very difficult to counter that. You're more on the ground than you are in the air." She said local spectators could look forward to an exciting all-African encounter. "Both teams have very versatile, quick attackers and they play 'fancy' – they've got skills. They'll look one way . . .
Hundreds of Garden Route residents will don their running or walking shoes in aid of people with special needs when they take on the Heather Park SUPERSPAR Sunrise Challenge in George on Saturday. Store owner Duncan Brown said organisers were aiming to double last year's field to over a thousand participants for the sixth edition of the event. "We'd really like the whole of George to support this race for a great cause." Race beneficiary Up with Down's is a local school that caters for children and adults with Down's syndrome and other special needs. "We became involved with the school about two years ago and help out where we can," said Brown. "A major portion of the entry fee and any other profit generated goes to the school. "In addition to this, the adults from the school visit our shop every Thursday between 11am and 1pm to sell their baked goodies and help pack customers' bags. "They enjoy the outing and our customers also enjoy having these wonderful people in our store." The event now offers 1km, 5km and 10km options, with increased prize money for serious competitors and medals for the first 500 finishers. "It was a 21km race for the first four years but now we are focusing on the shorter distances to make it more accessible to all." While it was billed as a women's race last year, this edition will be open to everyone. "So there's no excuse for not taking part," said Brown. For their efforts, Sunrise Challenge participants stand to win a variety of lucky draw prizes. "We have a hamper for the school with the most entries and a R2 000 voucher for one lucky individual, as well as free gym memberships and other prizes." The route takes runners and walkers from the store, through Heather Park, around Kingswood Golf Estate and back to the SPAR. Hot and thirsty participants will receive free Ola ice creams, with plenty of other refreshments available. To enter, collect an entry form from Heather Park SUPERSPAR and . . .