Seasoned professional cyclist Clint Hendricks boasts victories in all the big South African road classics, including the Cape Town Cycle Tour. He has even claimed a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games on the world stage, but he hasn’t won a Boxing Day title in his hometown of Paarl.
“I can’t deny that it haunts me, and I’d be very unhappy if I finish my career without a Paarl Boxing Day victory. I really want to win the event just once in front of my home crowd,” said Hendriks who rides for the European professional outfit Bike Aid.
“Because I take some time off before resuming my training in December every year, I’m never quite 100% at Boxing Day, but I just need a bit of luck at the right time. If the opportunity presents itself and I have room to move, they won’t catch me,” he smiled.
For most of his career, Hendricks, who has represented South Africa internationally on various occasions on the road and track, was tasked with assisting Nolan Hoffman to achieve victory at Boxing Day.
“I have helped Nolan to victory on a few occasions and I am proud of his achievements, but we’re now on opposing teams and racing for ourselves.”
Hendricks believes Boxing Day is part of South African cycling folklore. “Every local professional knows that he needs this title before he can retire and truly regard himself as successful.
“It’s important to me and I will be giving it a big bash on Thursday, but it’s probably going to be one of the most difficult editions of Boxing Day, courtesy of the depth in the field.”
The Helivac Paarl Boxing Day Track Challenge, presented by Alfa Bodyworks and the City of Drakenstein, annually attracts a capacity crowd of 7000 spectators to the Faure Street Stadium.
It is the oldest event in all forms of cycling in the world in existence. The meeting has not skipped a year since its inception in 1897.
The 122nd edition of the Helivac Paarl Boxing Day Track Challenge kicks off at 12h30 on 26 December 2019. The 25 Mile main event starts at 17h00.
For the full racing program visit www.hecticpromotions.co.za
Tickets are on sale at iTickets.co.za and at the gate on Thursday.
Tickets are limited to 2500 seats on the main pavilion, 600 seats on the popular Northern Pavilion and 400 seats on the Southern Pavilion.
The rest of the tickets (4000) are standing, and on the back-straight cement pavilion.