Former Olympic gold medallist Ryk Neethling will swop water for dirt when he competes in the inaugural Kia Val de Vie Estate Mountain Bike Challenge, presented by ASG, on September 16. As the marketing director of the polo, wine and lifestyle estate in the heart of the Paarl-Franschhoek valley just outside Cape Town, Neethling said sport played an important role in promoting its offering and he was keen to get his hands dirty alongside the other competitors. “Val de Vie is surrounded by beautiful mountains and we have been exploring opportunities to do such an event for a couple of years now.” According to him, one of their key objectives was to ensure that the event was open to all. “With this race we aim to attract everybody from experts to novices, residents and young families ready for a great day out in the winelands.” Neethling said the estate envisaged a long-term partnership with the title sponsor Kia Motors and organisers ASG Events. Val de Vie is the second in a series of four Kia-sponsored races that marks the car manufacturer’s first foray into the sport. David Sieff, marketing manager at Kia Motors South Africa, said the motoring brand was essentially young-at-heart and that the sport of cycling spoke to this key element. “That, coupled with a fantastic venue, will ensure everyone has a memorable weekend experience.” Race director Darren Herbst said the organisers had been working steadily on the project since they were first approached four months ago. “The area is so beautiful and expanding into mountain biking is obviously a natural fit.” He believed the sport was a fantastic vehicle for showcasing the more accessible side of the exclusive estate. “Val de Vie has this prestigious aura about it; it’s an awesome aspirational brand but actually very inviting.” Herbst said mountain biking in South Africa was at a crossroads, with people becoming more selective of the events in which they participated. “The trails we’ve got . . .
With their first two races already full, organisers of the FedGroup Berg & Bush are giving mountain bikers another opportunity to experience one of the top multistage races in the country. The addition of the inaugural three-day Great Trek to the seventh running of the event now gives prospective entrants three options, which also include the three-day Descent and the two-day “original” Berg & Bush. The Great Trek, which starts on October 30 near Sterkfontein Dam in the Free State before plunging down the escarpment into the valleys of KwaZulu-Natal, follows the same route as the popular Descent. Participants will once again cover the historical heartland of the province as they trace the wagon route over the Drakensberg Mountains taken by the Voortrekkers in 1837. Race organiser Gary Green said he had created the Great Trek in order to give more individual riders and two-man teams the chance to step back in time. “The area is rich in Anglo-Boer War history, which adds something really special to the race,” he said. “Riders summit Spioenkop, for example, which was the scene of a significant battle.” Green said he started the original Berg & Bush in 2006 with just 56 riders, before adding the Descent due to popular demand in 2009. The latter was named the country’s top event in its first year and its prize money attracts some of the country’s top pro riders. Last year’s event was won by Brandon Stewart and Jacques Rossouw of FedGroup-Itec Connect. The Descent gets underway on October 26 and finishes 220km later at Winterton Country Club in the Central Berg. The 110km two-dayer, for the more social rider, starts on November 3. According to Green, the routes are varied every year in order to meet the demands of the adventure-seeking mountain biker. “Although entries for the Great Trek close at the end of September, the response has been fantastic with more than half of the slots already taken up.” He said the community . . .
The South African surfing capital will see board action of a different kind when the Maloof Skateboarding for Hope road show hits Jeffreys Bay this weekend. Skateboarding enthusiasts in the Eastern Cape can look forward to an exhilarating skateboarding display at the Element Skatepark in Da Gama Road, Jeffreys Bay on Saturday, 25 August, from 10h00 to 16h00. The Maloof Money Cup skateboarding world championships will take place in Kimberley from 28 – 30 September and some of the best skateboarders in the world will be in action. The Skateboarding for Hope campaign is a joint initiative between the Northern Cape Provincial Government and Maloof Skateboarding. The community outreach programme forms part of the run-up to the world championships and is aimed at introducing the youth of South Africa to the adrenaline rush of skateboarding. Skateboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and the Northern Cape government is using the Maloof competition and road show to expose local youth to the sport as an affordable, accessible leisure activity. Spectators can expect a jam-packed programme with live music, skateboarding demonstrations by top local rider Wandile Nsomi. Fabulous prizes and R5000 in cash are up for grabs for the best trick of the day. Skateboarding fans can win great promotional merchandise and skateboarding gear including complete skateboards in the lucky draws. The best skater of the day will also receive a wild card entry into the amateur contest of the world championships in September. ENDS More Info: http://www.experiencenortherncape.com Author: Ronelda Visser from Peridot Communications. Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. No of Images Uploaded: Three To gain access to One image/s please Like, Tweet or +1 this article: [l2g] Images: Top skateboarder Wandile Nsomi will conduct skate clinics in JBay this weekend. [/l2g] . . .
Street soccer teams from communities around the country will each compete for the title of KIA Street Soccer provincial champion over the coming weeks. The winning teams will qualify for the competition’s ultimate clash – the National Festival Finale, which will determine the 2012 Kia Street Soccer champion of champions team. This year, for the first time, provincial winners from each region competing in the Kia Street Soccer Programme will be flown to Johannesburg for the National Final, which will be held on Friday 14 September in Soweto. Event organiser Brad Bing, of the youth sports development agency Sporting Chance, is calling on all the communities to get behind their local teams for the provincial finals and spur them on to the inaugural national final. “It has long been our dream to hold a national championship final,” said Bing, Managing Director of Sporting Chance. “Bringing teams together from all the participating regions to play for one trophy, symbolising South Africa’s best, gives the Kia Street Soccer Programme a huge profile boost with greater national presence. Furthermore, it’s a thrilling opportunity for the youth who make it to the finals to experience camaraderie on a national level and the excitement of a national championship final, as well as to see more of their country. It will no doubt be a high point in their young lives – and we hope the first of many.” Five months ago, Sporting Chance, in association with title sponsor KIA and associate sponsors Foodzone, Dawn Wing, Mille and Supersport Let’s Play, rolled out the national neighbourhood street soccer programme to 6000 boys and girls under the age of 13 in communities in Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban and this year, for the first time, Welkom. Already well established in the other provinces, the KIA Street Soccer programme is the largest of its kind and its great success last year propelled it into the Free State. With many rural communities . . .
The newly-announced Moon to Noon endurance race around Knysna will keep adventurous mountain bikers quite literally in the dark when they ride out at midnight on Friday, October 26. In contrast to other long-distance events, which start in the day and finishes at night, the inaugural 170km race will set out under the stars and roll on into the early hours of Saturday morning. “It’s all about seeing that there’s a different way to ride these events,” said race organiser Patric Mosterd of Garden Route Events, who is also the mastermind behind the Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300 and RE-CM Knysna 200 three-day stage races. “It really levels the playing fields for pros and backmarkers alike, because from 12 to five o’clock they’ve all got to deal with the darkness.” He said night racing offered some special challenges for riders. “You are essentially riding in a bubble and have to learn to trust yourself and your partner.” Because of safety concerns, the field is limited to 300 and Mosterd said no solo riders would be allowed. According to him, the event also presented a range of logistical challenges for organisers. “The race is divided between dark and light, with a compulsory halfway stop at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains. “We go over at first light and no vehicles or lead bikes can follow. So our whole safety and support infrastructure is split in two on either side.” At 1 100 metres above sea level, riders would summit on a section of a hiking trail belonging to Garden Route National Park, said Mosterd. “On the other side, there’s a 10km downhill, so we want everyone to be fresh and make sure that their brakes are working.” Mosterd said the route started in Rheenendal just outside Knysna. “It goes through indigenous forest and then there’s a nice open road for about 10km so everybody will have a chance to find their positions.” He expected the racing to start in earnest on the descent into the well-known Hydro, which is part . . .
Local skateboarding enthusiasts will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get first-hand coaching from the top vert skateboarder in the world in the run-up to the 2012 Maloof Money Cup world skateboarding championships. Pierre Luc Gagnon, also known as PLG, was crowned as vert world champion after an amazing skateboarding display at last year’s contest in Kimberley and will be back to defend his title this year from 28 – 30 September. PLG has not only dominated the vert contests of the world’s greatest skateboarding event, the Maloof Money Cup, each year, but has also won numerous other contests like X Games and the Dew Tour. He is considered to be the most prolific winner in vert skateboarding history. PLG will be conducting two vert half-pipe clinics at the amazing Maloof Skate Plaza in Kimberley on 24 and 25 September for anyone keen to get some insider info on the challenges of vert skateboarding. The youth clinic will be offered free of charge, but will be limited to the first forty entrants to sign up via the website on www.maloofmoneycup.com. Twenty entrants will be accommodated for each of the 1-day clinics. Successful participants will receive confirmation and will have to be on site from 16h00 – 18h00 daily. Clinic attendants will not only receive personal attention from the world champion, but loads of cool prizes are up for grabs as well. “This is an unbelievable opportunity for young skateboarders to receive personal training from the best vert skateboarder in the world. This is what the Maloof championship is all about – paying it forward, exposing South African youth to the incredible sport of skateboarding and allowing them to hone their skills. By getting world-class skateboarders to actively assist in helping these youngsters will definitely be a huge boost for the sport in the Northern Cape and the rest of the country. It’s like getting training tips from an Olympic gold medal winner,” mentions Tim McFerran of Maloof . . .
The University of Johannesburg added to its medal tally during the University Sport South Africa championships that took place at tertiary institutions across the country in July. The university’s men’s hockey side and first squash team took gold in their respective tournaments, while its Soweto Campus came out tops in the rugby C-section. UJ’s netball and men’s and women’s basketball teams also featured on the podium, claiming bronze in these disciplines. The results take the university’s mid-year USSA tally to 14, including four gold, five silver and five bronze medals. In March, the academic institution opened its account with three silvers at the USSA rowing sprints at Vanderkloof Dam near Colesberg in March. The UJ crews claimed runner-up spots in the men’s, women’s and overall categories. The university hosted the track and field events the following month, winning the men’s section and taking third in the women’s. Their collective results gave UJ a silver medal overall. Manager of sports clubs Adrian Carter said UJ’s position as one of the top-rated sporting institutions could be attributed to the university’s investment in infrastructure and coaching, as well as the calibre of student it attracted. “We have many structures in place that create a very enabling environment for student-athletes.” Although the university placed an emphasis on academic ahead of sporting achievements, Carter said it provided support and flexibility on an individual basis. “We promote the complete ‘student experience’, which helps to prepare our student-athletes for the pressures of both the university and outside world. A student-athlete who performs well in the lecture hall will invariably perform well on the sports field.” Furthermore, he said university sport played a critical role in developing sport at national level. “If one looks at the athletes selected for the 2012 London Olympic Games, a high percentage was developed by the university . . .
Brandon Stewart turned on the afterburners to claim his maiden victory in the Kia Walkerville Mountain Bike Classic, presented by ASG, in sub-zero conditions in Johannesburg on Sunday. The FedGroup-Itec Connect pro, from Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal, made an early break in the 60km main event and was later joined by RE:CM’s Waylon Woolcock. They matched each other all the way to the Walkerville Showgrounds, where the 15th edition of Gauteng’s largest and coldest winter race finished on the slippery speedway circuit. Stewart duly outdragged his breakaway companion to take line honours in a fast 1:55:55. Woolcock, a former Old Mutual joBerg2c champion, finished three seconds back. The latter’s team-mate, Neil MacDonald, completed the podium in 2:02:02. Stewart said the shale surface, which is designed for motorbikes to slide on, had made the final stretch particularly challenging and exciting. “It was almost like a mini Paris-Roubaix finish.” The win rounded off a successful weekend for the 31-year-old, who also took third in the Nissan TrailSeeker Series race in Cullinan on Saturday. “It’s always fantastic to win, especially when the event is backed by one of our team sponsors,” said Stewart. “Obviously, Walkerville was my big focus but I think it was good for me to do the Cullinan race because it loosened me up a bit.” He said he felt his form was good enough to make an early break on the big Platberg climb, which came after just 10km of pedalling. “Neil and Waylon were always going to be my strongest competition, so I thought I’d give it a go while everyone’s legs were still feeling a bit cold.” The gamble paid off and Stewart opened a gap on the chasing group. “Then I was on my own and I just carried on making the race really hard.” However, some confusion over route markings saw him lose valuable time and Woolcock managed to close the gap just before the halfway mark. MacDonald, riding alone in extremely windy conditions, was . . .
South Africa’s top mountain bikers will launch the second half of their season at the 15th annual Kia Walkerville Classic, presented by ASG, on Sunday. In the absence of last year’s winner Max Knox and runner-up Philip Buys, whose respective European and Olympics commitments will see them on the sidelines, Gauteng’s biggest race is set to crown a new champion. Brandon Stewart of FedGroup-Itec Connect, third in his maiden outing last year, is set to spearhead the list of favourites, which also includes former Old Mutual joBerg2c champions Neil MacDonald and Waylon Woolcock of RE:CM. “It’s definitely an important race for us,” said former national cross-country champion Stewart. “Organisers are expecting 1 500 riders, which is a fantastic turnout for a winter event.” He said the title sponsor was also his team transport partner and therefore a win was key for the team. “Last year, I was recovering from illness and it was the first time I’d done it. Now that I know the course, I should fare better.” Stewart said the 60km route, which is punctuated by three climbs, was relatively fast and flat, with good single-track sections, and he expected “tight and close” racing. He said the lead bunch would probably separate from the field on the initial 3km climb up Platberg, which is just seven kilometres into the race. “You’ve just got to give it all you’ve got on that first climb.” He did not foresee any of the favourites attempting to get away there. “With another 40-odd kilometres to go, it is extremely unlikely.” The 31-year-old from Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal said the chances of a breakaway on the gradual Wattle Alley ascent, midway through the race, were also slim. “If you’re out on your own, it’s easy for the bunch to haul you back.” Stewart said the main contenders would, in all likelihood, leave their main assault for the final 1.5km uphill drag to the finish at the Walkerville Showgrounds. “If you’re still strong there you can make it really . . .
After its great success last year, The Herald Urban Run will return this Tourism Month – once again drawing runners and adventurers from all around to participate in the ‘urbanathlon’ – taking them on a journey through some of the city’s urban sights and attractions while raising money for charity. “Events like the urban race are what our city thrives on. The race shows off several of our inner-city attractions – exposing tourists to a part of our city that abounds with history, art and heritage,” said Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) CEO, Mandlakazi Skefile. The event, which had its first ‘run’ last year, expects to see hundreds of athletes from around the Eastern Cape descend on Nelson Mandela Bay again this year. The city footrace starts and finishes at the iconic Donkin Reserve, also known as the ‘beacon of the bay’ takes place September 16th. It takes competitors through the Central Business District (CBD) of the city along with part of the heritage trail Route 67 and includes iconic sights such as Fort Frederick. Nelson Mandela Bay’s CBD has become one of the front runners in respect of urban renewal, this race calls for tourists and locals to bear witness to the urban transformation for themselves. “The 10.5km urban obstacle race is for social fun runners who are looking for something a little different,” said event organizer, Michael Zoetmulder. “By its very nature, an Urban Run is a multi-disciplinary, city foot race with the emphasis squarely on having fun. Urban obstacles are designed in such a way as to get the social runner sweating and smiling while taking in the city’s surrounds” The race, established last year by local sports events company, Zports, raised R40 000 last year and is hoping to increase that to R100 000 this year. Businesses along the route are encouraged to become involved and lend their support to the event. Organisers say Port Elizabeth has set the benchmark for urban runs in South Africa and September’s event . . .