The Ladismith Cheese 7Weekspoort MTB Challenge – which takes place on Saturday the 30th of September – is one of the Western Cape’s longest running and best loved one day mountain bike events. The race boasts the perfect mix of racing and breath-taking scenery to attract all levels of riders, and with 85, 43 and 29 kilometre distances there is a route option for all ages. And to that effect in 2017 Dryland Event Management are introducing a schools’ racing category too.
The schools’ race will see primary schools from across the province compete in three categories, Nipper (8-10), Sprogs (11-12) and Sub Juniors (13-14) in the 29 kilometre race distance. Schools enter teams of five riders; with the winning team being the one with the fastest combined, in each category. To enter a team for your school please contact Dryland Event Management at or on 044 279 1013.
The aim of the schools’ race is to foster a lifelong love of mountain biking and encourage healthy competition in a team environment. Short course racing at age group level has grown tremendously in popularity over the last few years, due to the excellent work of national series like the Spur Schools’ MTB League and Onemovement’s Junior Eliminator Series. But mountain biking in South Africa has a marathon focus, and as marathon and stage race event organisers Dryland are keen to promote, age appropriate, longer distance riding to the next generation of mountain bikers too.
The future stars of South African mountain biking will almost certainly develop through the Spur Schools’ League but that high performance focus might not translate to a lifelong love of mountain biking for all participants. “We feel that, while lap racing has a vital role in developing talent, mountain biking should include all levels of individual competitiveness. Marathon and stage racing, and Dryland’s events in particular, offer just that; racing for the competitive riders and adventures for the less competitive. We hope that while the Ladismith Cheese 7Weekspoort MTB Challenge’s schools’ race is a race, it will provide young mountain bikers with an introduction into Dryland’s inclusive way of thinking about mountain biking and stimulate a lifelong love of riding their bikes in beautiful places” said Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Event Management.
The Ladismith Cheese 7Weekspoort MTB Challenge will pilot the concept of schools’ racing at Dryland events and if it proves a success there are plans to roll out the concept at the Spur Attakwas Mini on the 20th of January next year and in both the 29 and 43 kilometre events at the 2018 7Weekspoort MTB Challenge. “In the future the plan is definitely to include high school age groups and maybe even open it up for clubs and university teams, in the 85km distance at the 7Weekspoort MTB and even at the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen” Rademeyer concluded.
For more information on the Ladismith Cheese 7Weekspoort MTB Challenge, and for online entries, visit www.7weekspoortmtb.co.za.