Spur Gauteng MTB Series reaching new heights in numbers and talent

Spur Tour de Plaas presented by Anatomic – 12 August

School buses pulling trailers stacked with mountain bikes filled Bekker High School on Friday afternoon as kids made their way to the Spur Tour de Plaas venue. Course practice was made open from 15:00 to 18:00 as riders could familiarize themselves with the course along with their school coaches or parents. The route at Bekker is always challenging but was made rideable for all levels. Saying that, riders should determine and decide for themselves what they are capable of riding – if they don’t feel comfortable with a certain section, it is advised to get off and walk. Pre-entries for the event stood on 800 and was capped to only allow late entries on Friday which brought the total number of entries for Saturday to 847 – a new record for Spur Schools MTB racing and with only Gauteng schools allowed this was an impressive figure. The crew was ready to take on the masses as this was the first official race for the Gauteng series as Spur Tour de Vaal had to be cancelled due to wet and unsafe weather conditions in May.

A chilly morning in Magaliesburg didn’t keep the riders and their impressive support crew away – some schools had set up their gazebos before sunrise and had the coffee ready along with tasty breakfast treats. The official Spur Gauteng sponsors and partners had their products on display. Cycle Lab made sure no bike was left unfixed with a bike mechanic on duty and loads of parts and other cycling goods on sale. Cycle Lab also started a great new initiative by introducing the Cycle Lab Warm-up Zone powered by Tacx. Here riders are welcome to come and warm up on the Tacx rollers set out for them under a gazebo, this is perfect to get those legs ready before a race, especially a XCO race where the pace is fast from the start and there’s no time to warm up like in a marathon race. The Spur Gauteng nutrition partner, 32Gi ensured each rider had a full bottle of energy drink by having containers filled with ice cold 32Gi available for all riders. They also had a variety of products on sale and samples for people to come and try out before buying. Anatomic Sportswear had quality cycling clothing and accessories on sale and is also the proud sponsor and manufacturer of the leaders jerseys for each category leaders. MudBuster had their unique self service bike wash station set up as well as MudBuster bike cleaning products on sale – the goal is to teach kids the importance of maintaining a clean bike and how to correctly wash and lube your bike. Riders get assisted by friendly MudBuster staff while washing their bikes themselves with Kärcher pressure cleaners and MudBuster cleaning products. Each bike goes home sparking clean after a dirty day of racing fun. Riders could register their bikes and accessories at CycleSure whom generously offer cover for the day of the event in case of an accident where damage is caused to the riders equipment. Riders should make sure they are registered with CycleSure before the event to make use of this offer and service. The voice of schools cycling, Alistair Cronk, was behind the microphone giving spectators commentary as the racing happened, never a dull moment with Mr. Cronk around.   Also thank you to his Allycat Events crew for getting the sound up and running for the day.

ER24 medical services performed a great service to all riders out on course, ensuring the safety of riders and giving them the best medical support on both the Friday and Saturday. Without them the race would not happen – Thank you ER24. Ride Magazine is the media partner to the Spur Gauteng events along with BikeBeat offering photographic and news content before, during and after the event. MET (Master Events & Timing) is a new name in the series but owned and managed by familiar faces. This new company formed by Deon Steyn will see schools events organized and timed with great attention to detail. Deon’s passion for schools racing has made him want to get involved in all aspects of the event to ensure the riders have the best quality events possible that will lead to the success of schools racing in Gauteng for years to come. His team made sure online entries, late entries and registration was managed with ease and assisted riders with any queries they may have had.

Finally a big thank you should go out to Spur, the title sponsor of the series. Spur has believed in the dream of bringing mountainbiking to high schools and the importance of nurturing the talent that is nestled in our schools. They are making many young riders dreams of becoming professional riders a reality. Thank you Spur for believing in young mountainbiking talent all across South Africa.

The racing

Being the first official Spur Gauteng race for the year, the nerves were taking over as the pressure was on as to who would be taking the first leaders jersey for the year in each age category. The racing kicked off with what had to be the largest XCO start group we have ever seen. A Sub Junior boys start line of 123 riders was a sight to be witnessed as spectators made their way to the start to cheer on these boys. Riders were not able to start in the normal starting shoot and had to be spread across the field in a single file. The start whistle went off as a stampede of racers came charging down the field, never have 14 year old boys looked so serious and hungry for racing. The race was on. The Sub Junior Boys had 3 laps to complete and from the start Ian Els from Garsfontein HS made his presence clear as a serious contender for the leaders jersey, after lap one he pulled a gap of 6 seconds and it grew to 46 seconds earning him the title of Sub Junior Boys leaders. Ian is also the 2017 South African Sub Junior Boys Champ. In 2nd was Ben du Plessis from Menlopark HS and James Stewart from Waterkloof HS in 3rd.

All the girls categories started together, with 5 min intervals separating each age category. The Sub Junior Girls group consisted of 29 girls, so great to see so many new girls entering the sport at such a young age! As with the boys race, a significant lead was set out from the start by Marjone Strydom from Menlopark HS who maintained her gap to take the win by over a minute. Somien Botha from Randburg HS came 2nd and Kathleen Baker from The King’s College rounded off the podium.

The runaway train for the day had to be Thana Groenewald from Midstream College who set the pace hard in the Junior Womens race from the word go. After the first lap she opened up a gap of a minute and nine seconds over Azulde Brits from Cornwall Hill College who also had Rimari Sutton from Garsfontein hot on her heels. Thana kept her focus along with a good pace throughout the 3 laps to take the win in a time of 0:45:53. Azulde held on to 2nd place in a time of 0:47:18 and Rimari 3rd in a time of 0:47:58. Junior Womens race had 39 entries, this is remarkable for the sport of womens cycling.

The day ended with schools giving their best “gees” performance and a chance of winning a R500 Spur voucher. Garsfontein HS walked away victorious by giving us a fresh new war-cry. Next up was prize giving as the top 5 of each category got called up to the podium and leaders jerseys were awarded.

The last agenda of the day was the Cycle Lab last-man-standing spin-a-coin competition. All registered riders can partake in the competition to stand a chance of winning a KTM mountain bike sponsored by Cycle Lab valued at R11 000. James Stewart from Waterkloof HS walked cycled away with this awesome prize.

Sub Junior Boys

  • Ian Els – Garsfontein HS
  • Ben du Plessis – Menlopark HS
  • James Stewart – Waterkloof HS
  • Dylan Carroll – Midstream
  • John-Dean de Villiers – Monument HS

Sub Junior Girls

  • Marjone Strydom – Menlopark HS
  • Somien Botha – Randburg HS
  • Kathleen Baker – The Kings College
  • Nicole Botha –   Noordheuwel HS
  • Sonika Klopper – Waterkloof HS

Youth 15 boys

  • Jaedon Terlouw – St albans College
  • Aaron Heyneke – Jeppe boys
  • Estian Schoeman – Afrikaas Hoer Seunsskool –
  • Konrad Spanning – Transvalia HS
  • Matteo Damilano – Reddam House

Youth 15 girls

  • Natalie Long – Transvalia HS
  • Jade Slabbert – Midstream College
  • Kelly Randle – Midstream College
  • Ilke Botes – Transvalia HS
  • Kaylin Gombos – Transvaia HS

Youth 16 boys

  • Hennie van Wyk – Garsfontein HS
  • Matthiam Hofmann – Waterkloof HS
  • Damon Fouche – Garsfontein HS
  • DJ Kruger – Transvalia HS
  • Reynard Christie – Waterkloof HS

Youth 16 Girls

  • Monique du Toit – Menlopark HS
  • Robin Stewart – Waterkloof HS
  • Christi Marais – Montana HS
  • Antonique Grotsius – Menlopark HS
  • Almari Myburgh – Afrikaans Hoer Meisiesskool

Junior 17 Men

  • Keagan Bontekoning – Monument HS
  • Wicus Breytenbach – Garsfontein HS
  • Chris du Plessis – Menlopark HS
  • JP Lloys – Zwartkop HS
  • Erick Heyns – Menlopark HS

Junior 18 Men

  • Marc Pritzen – Kemptonpark HS
  • Chad Fikkert – Midstream College
  • Estiaan Biewenga – Zwartkop HS
  • Alian Slabbert – Midstream College
  • Hanno Erwee – Garsfontein HS

Junior Women

  • Tana Groenewald – Midstream College
  • Azulde Britz – Cornwall Hill College
  • Rimari Sutton – Garsfontein HS
  • Sarah Hall – Monument HS
  • Tanya Kotze – Wonderboom HS

Spur Gauteng leaders

  • Sub Junior Boys: Ian Els – Garsfontein HS
  • Sub Junior Girls: Marjone Strydom – Menlopark HS
  • Youth Boys 15: Jaedon Terlouw – St albans College
  • Youth 15 Girls: Natalie Long – Transvalia HS
  • Youth Boys 16: Hennie van Wyk – Garsfontein HS
  • Youth Girls 16: Monique du Toit – Menlopark HS
  • Junior Men 17: Keagan Bontekoning – Monument HS
  • Junior Men 18: Marc Pritzen – Kempton Park HS
  • Junior Women: Thana Groenewald – Midstream College

Up next: Spur Tour de Wonder 19 August 2017

This Saturday we will be at Spur Tour de Wonder at Wonderboom Hoërskool , Pretoria for the third round of the Spur Gauteng Series. Wonderboom Hoërskool is known for their friendliness, breathtakingly beautiful mountain view and their school tuck shop overlooking the sports field. Please come and support the Tuck Shop – they have a wide variety of food, beverages and snacks on offer….and don’t forget their great coffee! The course is changed up a bit from last year and promises challenges and fun while still rideable for all levels.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE WILL BE NO LATE ENTRIES AVAILABLE ON SATURDAY

Program

Due to the large number of entries the organizers and commissaires decided for safety reasons to split the Junior Mens category in a Junior 17 Mens and Junior 18 Mens category.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE that lap times will be very important in these two categories as this will determine positions for Nationals.

Friday 18 August

Registration –   15:00-18:00
Route open for practice (on announcement) – 15:00 – 17:30 (NB No bikes on route without numbers – coaches on route need to register too)

Saturday 19 August

07:00 – Registration opens

07:15 – 08:10 – Route open for practice laps (on announcement)

08:00 – Managers briefing

08:30 – Sub Juniors Boys (13 – 14)

09:30 – All 4 girls categories

10:30 – Start Youth 15 Boys

11:30 – Start Youth 16 Boys

12:30 – Junior Men 17

13:30 – Junior Men 18

14:30 – Prize giving

For registration queries contact Joanita van Staden 084 602 2271 Email: admin@mtbza.co.za
For event queries contact Attie 082 335 3358 / Teresa 082 579 6865

Parking

Parking will be available on the hokey field on the school property before 07h00 ONLY – no cars will be allowed in or out of this parking after the last race of the day is finished. School buses with trailers will be allowed in the school parking area via the sports field gate ONLY before 07h00 – no cars will be allowed in or out of this parking after the last race of the day is finished. Other parking will be available at the back of the school with security guards. No open fires or smoking will be allowed on the school grounds or in the mountain due to a high risk of fires in the area of the mountain.