Josh van Wyk (far left) crosses the finish line to claim victory at last year’s 25 Mile main event at the Aerocare Paarl Boxing Day Meeting. Picture by Laurel Andrews

The 123rd edition of the UCI classified Paarl Boxing Day Track Meeting boasts a new headline sponsor who will ensure a high level of staging at Africa’s largest track cycling meeting on 26 December 2020 in Paarl.

“It’s with great excitement that we announce Aerocare as headline sponsor of Paarl Boxing Day,” said event coordinator, Wynand de Villiers. “Aerocare is a household name in flight rescue services throughout Africa and it’s such a strong alignment for Boxing Day. We couldn’t be more pleased,” he said.

Aerocare boasts a vast array of aircraft with rapid response medical care professionals and state-of-the-art equipment. The company is renowned as an emergency medical service (EMS) that reacts instantly, providing on-site medical attention and quick transport to the closest, most appropriate medical facility.

Aerocare medical rescue flights include a team of integrated professionals consisting of at least one doctor and one ICU flight nurse. Specialised practitioners, such as anaesthetists, paediatricians and neonatologists, are also on board when the nature of the emergency flight requires their expertise.

Aerocare provides more than just rapid medical response. Their multi-disciplinary taskforce includes specialist rescuers, trauma doctors, paramedics, K9 search dog units, civil engineers as well as chemical and safety specialists.

“Aerocare consists of a group of passionate, dedicated and service driven people; people who understand that professional assistance sometimes makes the difference between life and death within our operational ambit,” says Aerocare CEO, Crause Steyl.

Aerocare plays a leading role in providing emergency medical rescue services to most of the medical aid suppliers in South Africa.

Steyl says the Boxing Day sponsorship decision was an easy one. “Boxing Day doesn’t have its equal in the track cycling world and we were well-pleased when the opportunity arose to sponsor this iconic event.

“Because the meeting’s exposure platform touches most parts in Africa, it also makes a lot of sense for us from a business point of view.

“The Paarl Boxing Day Meeting presents something different and out of the ordinary for a sponsor in sport. As the longest running cycling race on the globe, the event boasts a rich history and is steeped in tradition. This alignment is delightful for us.
“Furthermore, the main challenge facing sponsors currently is attracting a spectator base for sport, and in this regard Paarl Boxing Day presents one of the finest available solutions in South Africa,” says Steyl.

South Africa’s top professionals as well as a host of international riders will tackle each other on 26 December 2020 for a share of a R100 000 prize purse in front of a capacity crowd of 6000 spectators at the Faure Street Stadium in Paarl.

“The Paarl Boxing Day Meeting is not only the biggest track cycling event in South Africa, but also one of the most spectated in-stadium sporting events in South Africa,” said De Villiers.

“Following the acquisition of UCI status last year, our stated mission this year is to raise the bar on the level of presentation, ensuring a higher-class field with more depth, more spectators and a significantly bolstered media and PR platform.

“We are working closely with the UCI’s World Cycling Centre Africa, which is now based in Paarl under the expert management of seasoned administrator and coach JP van Zyl.
“Through the event’s association with the World Cycling Centre Africa, it will again ensure the presence of a host of international track cyclists who will showcase their talent against the best South African professionals in Paarl.

“Aerocare has a poignant understanding of how we would like to develop Paarl Boxing Day into a fully-fledged international cycling event and it’s great to have a headline sponsor who shares our vision.”

Paarl Boxing Day is indeed revered worldwide in the sport of cycling. It is the oldest event in all forms of cycling in the world still in existence. The meeting has not skipped a year since its inception in 1897.

The meeting concludes with the famous 25 Mile Race and the winner of the final event is regarded as the winner of the day. In addition to the generous prize purse, the Minnaar Cup floating trophy, which dates to 1908, is also up for grabs.