There are not many road events in which the youth can participate, and the interprovincial Youth Festival in Oudtshoorn, hosted by Western Cape Cycling during October 2016 gave young cyclists the perfect opportunity to compete and achieve excellent results.
The festival once again allowed riders under the age of 18 to participate against other riders in the country with similar cycling abilities. As the younger age groups are no longer taking part in the SA National Championships, they are still given a platform to improve their skills on the bike.
The Youth Festival focuses predominantly on teams and provinces, not the individual rider. The sporting event also aims to assist provinces throughout the country with transformation and development goals.
The youth Festival started with a combined road race – the annual Pennypinchers Cycle Tour, a seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, hosted by Eden Cycling. A total new concept was adopted with only the road race taking place on public roads. The rest of the week consisted of a criterium race, team time trial on a closed circuit, oval track racing and a Cross Country Olympic event.
The event that drew the most attention was the oval track racing that took place on a 500m dirt stock car track. The racing was done on a mountain bike and 3 events similar to track racing was held on the oval track: a short bunch race, a scratch race and an elimination race. This type of racing is not only spectator friendly, but teaches bunch skills in a safe environment and without the pressure of riding a track bicycle with a fixed cog and no brakes.
The overall competition was of a high standard and the Commissaires and timers were kept very busy on the line. During the week each rider received points per event that was added to provide a winner in every age category. The team with the most points was awarded, irrespective of age.
The Chairman of Western Cape Cycling Corné Bence expressed his gratitude towards those riders and managers who made the effort to come and participate in this event.