Finishers of the Emperors Palace Classic in Johannesburg will once again be treated to shoulder-to-shoulder racing when the Circuit Spectacular kermesse takes place after the road race on Sunday, April 14. According to organiser Wynand de Villiers, from ASG, many national Classics presented post-race kermesses as part of the entertainment in the past, but the focus on mass participation has seen this invitation-only event dwindle. “For us it’s a no-brainer. It is such an exciting event and the venue lends itself perfectly to this type of racing.” He said the top finishers in the 104km feature race would be invited to take part in the circuit race that took place within the confines of the resort. The kermesse typically lasts 45 minutes plus one lap and offered a handsome prize purse of R10 000, said De Villiers. In addition, riders could help themselves to cash prizes ranging between R500 and R1 000 at each of the three hotspots. “It is a great value-add for our participants and spectators,” said de Villiers. The sixth edition of the Emperors Palace Classic has been moved from its traditional slot in February to autumn to present riders with an opportunity to participate in a Classic at a less congested part of the season. “February has just become too crowded,” he said. De Villiers said the new date was designed to attract riders who had trained for the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and still had some residual fitness in their legs. “It’s perfectly positioned for those who want to keep the legs moving.” He described the route as “fast and flat” and it offered sprinters something to sink their teeth into. A single climb made its appearance at the halfway mark, but he said the incline won’t do much to slow the pace. Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg, who is currently racing for Argos-Shimano in Europe, took the win last year and De Villiers speculated that a rider like Herman Fouche would be hard to beat in 2013. “He definitely has . . .
In the recent Boardwalk Hobie 16 Sailing championships held from 21 to 24 March 2013 in Port Elizabeth, a total of 8 races were sailed over three days (Saturday was blown out). Conditions were mostly below 12 knots with flat seas and the wind from the East, South and West to make for an interesting and complete regatta under the hand of bridge officer, Doug Allison. On the first day of sailing sailors were greeted with a perfectly sunny and calm day and were eventually called out in the early afternoon by Race Officer Doug Allison who, in the light South-Easterly of 6 to 8 knots, set a Windward Leeward (Sausage shape) course with the start in line with Shark Rock Pier, the top mark in line with Admiralty Way and the bottom marks in line with Humewood beach - a perfect spectators course which presented the Hobies with the choice of staying inshore and sailing close to Bird Rock on their way up to the first rounding mark. First around the top mark was the Plettenberg Bay duo of Blaine and Roxanne Dodds, eager to stamp their authority on the regatta and avenge their 2nd place of 2012, they were followed by local husband and wife sailors Andrew and Angela Ward who have been training and dieting up a storm in preparation for these nationals. From the top mark a downwind leg saw many of the boats opt to hug the shoreline looking for a land breeze before taking the outermost gate buoy on the bottom gate mark before the long march back up the beat for the top mark. Most Hobies opted to hug the shore line and dodge Bird Rock on the return back up to the top. An increasing wind velocity and wind shift greeted the back markers as the predicted increase in wind velocity and shift made it's appearance. Most of the back markers completed the last leg to the finish on a reach. With the wind increasing to 28 knots some Hobies were seen to capsize and the rescue boats stood by. After one race on Day one the top three finishers were: 1. Blaine and Roxanne Dodds 2. . . .
Organisers of the Green Kalahari Canoe Marathon in the Northern Cape predicted a fierce battle for top honours with the top three male paddlers only seconds apart at the start of the 26km final stage. The three day stage race started in Upington in the Northern Cape and finished at Khamkirri near Augrabies covering 99km on the majestic Orange River. In a split-second sprint to the finish, Andy Birkett from Natal Canoe Club crossed the line first, but Capetonian Jasper Mocke’s efforts were just enough to secure him the top spot on the podium with a total finishing time of 6 hours 58 minutes 30:16seconds. Birkett finished in a total time of 6 hours 58 minutes 31:54 seconds with Ivan Kruger (Century Canoe Club) taking the final podium place. Dawid Mocke was fourth with last year’s winner Lance King in fifth position. “There was an incredible vibe on the river. The fact that this is a new race makes it extremely exciting and it will remain so for the next three to four years due to its unpredictability and paddlers have different options to explore during each stage. There is an absolutely amazing spirit amongst the paddlers as we were camping together. I really enjoyed the final stage as the river was narrower, fuller and faster and you had to paddle harder,” said 27-year old Jasper Mocke of Peninsula Canoe Club. “This is a completely new destination and because the water levels fluctuate so much, it will definitely change from year to year. And of course, the Orange is the largest river in South Africa, so it is an awesome privilege to paddle it,” mentioned Mocke. 22-year old Birkett, who was a late entry and came fresh off his win in The Unlimited Dusi earlier this month, was a competitive contender from the start. “The final stage was my favourite as the narrower river made for more aggressive racing. It was exciting and challenging. The leading batch of about eight paddlers stayed together from the start and only split at the Marchand weir portage. . . .
Following a date change from February to April 13 and 14, the Emperors Palace Classic, presented by ASG, is set for a big stop-over on South Africa’s autumn road racing calendar. According to event director Wynand de Villiers the weekend festival of cycling, which takes place in and around the Johannesburg casino resort, was moved to keep riders on their bicycles a little longer before the winter cold set in. “The event was shifted to April to extend the racing available in autumn. Most guys will have done the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and this gives them something else to train for while they still have that residual fitness.” With three big races in February alone, including the Dis-Chem Ride for Sight and Macsteel Carnival City Classic, De Villiers said the provincial calendar had simply become too crowded. “It was virtually impossible to race all three, even if you wanted to. We felt we needed to move this race for it to stand alone and allow more riders the chance to take part.” He said the change has already had a positive effect on the flow of entries, with some 6 000 participants anticipated across the mountain bike events on the Saturday and the road and kiddies’ races on the Sunday. “We’ve fine-tuned the event over the last six years, so it offers something for everyone.” As in previous years, De Villiers said he expected the top professional teams to turn out for the 97km road race. “The route is relatively unchanged and will be fast, flat and exciting. For the social riders, it’s ideal for getting the legs moving after Argus.” With defending champion Reinardt Janse van Rensburg currently racing in Europe for Dutch team Argos-Shimano, the way is clear for a new winner. De Villiers said the course, which features a single climb just before the halfway mark, would once again favour a sprinter. “Someone like Herman Fouché of Bonitas, who recently won the Argus, would be a big favourite.” In keeping with tradition, he . . .
The 20th running of the SPAR Women’s Challenge in Port Elizabeth on May 4 features a new venue, Little Ladies’ race and bigger prizes, organisers announced at the launch yesterday. Although SPAR Eastern Cape marketing manager Abri Swart remained tight-lipped about some of the details, he said the 2013 edition was shaping up to be the best yet. “Attracting runners from across the province, it has grown exponentially over the past two decades and we always put in a 110% effort to improve and innovate year on year. “We are proud to be associated with a sport that promotes healthy living, which is the focus of our brand.” The women-only event, which was held at Kings Beach until last year, has been organised by the Walmer Athletics Club since its inception in 1993. It has grown from 287 inaugural participants to more than 12 000 last year, making it the biggest road race in the Eastern Cape. “We’ve outgrown the existing venue and will be moving to Pollok Beach,” said Swart. He said further details on the new venue could be expected shortly. Aside from the 5km and 10km distances, he said this year’s event would see the introduction of the 2km Little Ladies’ Race. Aimed at girls under the age of nine, it takes place on the first day of official registration on May 1. Swart said the retailer’s recipe for success was to provide a quality event for both amateur and professional athletes. “The first 12 000 entrants will get t-shirts and goodie bags and all finishers receive commemorative medals.” He said live entertainment and lucky draw prizes would again form an integral part of the supermarket chain’s wholesome race-day offering. Swart said the race would also benefit the wider community as all proceeds would go to a reputable charity. “We also sponsor development teams’ participation.” The PE event is part of a five-race national Grand Prix series in which the country’s top female athletes compete for points, prize money and overall . . .
The 2013 Spur Masidlale soccer and life skills training programme is in full swing with regional launch day events hosted around the country to mobilise 1600 during a fun-filled day of soccer and life skill training in Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg. The huge success achieved by the Spur Masidlale programme - which has already touched the lives of more than 30 000 children, developed and groomed more than 700 coaches and visited more than 100 stadia in South Africa since its launch in 2005, reinforces the conviction of the great philosopher Plato, who said that “The moral value of exercise and sports far outweigh the physical value”. To ensure that coaches were well-equipped to unlock the full potential of the programme, Spur Group invested in a series of national Masidlale Coaching Clinics around the country as a run-up to the regional launch day events. Soccer personalities in each region have also pledged their support to the programme and learners had the opportunity to play ball with the likes of Patrick Mayo, Matthew Booth, Helman Mkhelele and Dillan Sheppard respectively at the Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg launch events. Teachers, local coaches and players are ready for the nine-week series during which the under 13 boys’ and girls’ teams from the ten competing schools in each region will give it their best to add points to the log and secure a place in the finals in June. Each team will comprise seven players with three substitutes. Three points will be awarded for a win and two points for a draw, while a loss receives zero points. According to Khakhi Diala of the Spur Group, they are extremely excited about the upcoming season. “We definitely started from humble beginnings, with 12 one-day coaching clinics in 2005, but the league has grown steadily and has highlighted the huge need for initiatives that provide a platform for youth development. We hosted the first pilot league in Sandton in 2009, and are . . .
The Unlimited has announced that it will not be renewing its title sponsorship of the Dusi Canoe Marathon, which over the past three years has seen more than 5 000 canoeists take on the biggest canoe race in Africa. Over the past three years, The Unlimited has committed R10-million to its sports sponsorship portfolio, which included the three year contract with the Natal Canoe Club (NCC) signed in 2010. This secured the title sponsorship of the Dusi Canoe Marathon, the Ozzie Gladwin and the Non-Stop Dusi until 2013. During the sponsorship period, the company played a key role in generating publicity in excess of R130 million for these events and created widespread awareness both locally and internationally for KZN as a popular sports and tourism destination. In addition, nearly R1-million has been raised for the official race charities of The Unlimited Dusi, namely The Unlimited Child, the SPCA and DUCT (Dusi Umgeni Conservancy Trust). Additional funds were allocated to sponsoring celebrity paddlers to participate in the event and further raise awareness for the charities and support fundraising efforts. This investment paid off as a record amount of R368 020 was raised this year through the Charity Batch online bidding system. According to the CEO of The Unlimited, Steph Bester, the decision not to resign the canoeing sponsorship has not been made lightly as the company’s involvement has not only been of a financial nature. The Unlimited has become emotionally invested in canoeing and this year, eight employees took part in The Unlimited Dusi. “Whilst we have been involved, these races have grown in stature and having just completed my first Dusi, I can relate to the positive feedback on this year’s race. The NCC have to be commended for their energy and enthusiasm in not only co-ordinating the races, but in continuing to build the profile of canoeing throughout South Africa,” Bester comments. Bester says the sponsorship has been highly effective for the . . .
The second edition of the Green Kalahari Canoe Marathon will feature a high profile field including some of the top paddling talent in the country. The three-day stage race over 99 kilometres from Upington to Augrabies in the Northern Cape takes place from 21 – 23 March and carries an impressive prize purse of R170 000. Fierce competition can be expected from the elite line-up of top performing male paddlers including last year’s K2 winners Lance King and Heinrich Schloms, 2013 Dusi podium finisher and winner of The Unlimited Non-Stop Dusi Sbonele Zongi, previous Dusi winner Thulani Mbanjwa and Berg veterans Pierre –Andre Rabe and Louw Van Riet. With Simon van Gysen and Jasper Mocke also confirming their entries this weekend, the race will be sporting one of the strongest K1 fields in the country. World surfski champions Dawid and Nicci Mocke will also be part of the action. The ladies’ race will see Robyn Kime in top form after her resounding victory in The Unlimited Dusi battling it out with Olympian Michele Eray. Race organisers are still awaiting confirmation whether marathon and river paddler Hillary Pitchford will make it to the starting line in Upington. Young paddlers are also eager to make their mark on the race with Dusi Duke Martin Dreyer entering ten members of his Change a Life Academy. Dreyer has invested a lot of time in training paddlers from the Valley of a 1000 Hills in rural KwaZulu Natal and the youngsters are slowly making their marks in paddling circles. They will be joined by development teams from Paarl and Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. In association with presenting partners Northern Cape Tourism Authority and Orange River Wine Cellars, race organisers are hoping to build on the success of the inaugural race in 2012. “Paddlers were absolutely overwhelmed by the incredible beauty of the Green Kalahari region and the mighty Orange River as well as the warm-hearted hospitality of local communities. The participants from last . . .
BOKKIE INVITES YOU TO JOIN HIM at the BLITZBOKKE OPEN TRAINING SESSION Bokkie, South Africa’s favourite mascot, will be supporting our Blitzbokke players at their open training session at the University of the Western Cape on Thursday 14 March 2013 on the main field. You are invited to join Bokkie from 15:30 – 17:30 and support the Sevens players at their practice session before they leave for Tokyo this Saturday. Follow Bokkie on twitter @bokkiemascot. URL: Twitter: @bokkiemascot Facebook: YouTube: Author: Carol Vosloo from Tag Rugby . Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za . . .
Olympic marathon runner Lusapho April helped defending champions Gamble Pharmacy smash their 21km course record by more than two-and-a-half minutes in the first race of the Investec Night Relay series in Port Elizabeth on Thursday evening. Uitenhage-born April set a blistering pace of just over three minutes per kilometre on the first lap around the North End Lake to edge his five-man team towards victory and a new record time of 1 hour 4 minutes and 56 seconds. NSRC Warriors chased hard for the runner-up spot, finishing in a respectable 1 hour 10 minutes and 10 seconds, with the NMMU Young Guns just 10 seconds further back in third. The title sponsor’s Investec 3 team proved too strong for their opposition in the mixed category, coming home in a time of 1 hour 18 minutes and 27 seconds. Their nearest rivals were Ernst & Young and Aspen in second and third respectively. It was also one for the books in the walking category, with the Rawstron family team setting a record pace of 1 hour 27 minutes and 52 seconds on the 12.6km course. Race organiser Michael Zoetmulder of Zports said it was a great start to the 2013 series. “We were very privileged to have our former national marathon champion here. “Lusapho was also the first South African home at the London Olympic marathon last year. It’s great to have athletes of this calibre supporting our local events.” Zoetmulder said he expected entry figures for corporate teams to double ahead of the second race on April 4. “A lot of companies indicated that they were unable to make the March event but will be entering multiple teams for next month’s race. “Because each lap is just 4.2km, the event is achievable for even social runners and walkers.” With lucky draw prizes, live entertainment, food stalls and a beer garden adding to the festival atmosphere, he said the series provided a healthy alternative networking opportunity for businesses in the metro. The three-race series culminates . . .