This weekend will be the last opportunity for keen mountain bike riders in East London to qualify for the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League Final in October where 11 regions including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Lesotho will compete.
Going into the last event of the season, Selbourne College is in a comfortable lead with 270 points, followed by Grens High School with 130 points and Stirling High in third place with 128 points. Hudson Park Primary is first on the primary schools log with 838 points with Selbourne Primary second with 270 points and Nahoon Primary third with 248 points.
The East London District Final will take place on Sunday, 14 August at the Hillview mountain bike track at Hillview Farm. Registration will be open between 09h00 and 11h30 with the first race for the Sub-Nipper and Nipper girls setting off at 12h00 followed by the Nipper, Sprogs and Sub-Junior primary school boys at 12h45 and all high school categories at 14h00. Entry is R50.
While the girls and Sub-Nipper boys will take on the 1.04km track with 35m elevation, the Nipper, Sprogs and Primary School Sub Juniors boys will have to face the 2.5km track with 85m elevation and all the high school riders will have to tackle the 3.1km track with 99m elevation. The lap-race format will see the respective categories complete a set number of laps. The track will be open on Saturday and until 11h00 on Sunday for practice.
According to league director, Meurant Botha of Amarider participation at local events has been growing at a steady pace as schools accept mountain biking as a recognized sport. He also stated that although many kids are finding their competitive edge on their bicycles, the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League’s focus is still to encourage more kids on bikes, more schools in action. “It is important for all children to enjoy participating whether only starting out or having participated for a couple seasons. We also urge the regions to support local cycling development programmes and assist more kids to get out and ride,” says Botha.
Eight years into the Spur High Schools Mountain Bike League organisers are anticipating that more than 500 Southern African schools will be represented in the 2016 season.
This year has also seen the introduction of Team Spur, James Reid and Ariane Kleinhans, who play the important role of encouraging League riders to follow their dreams and showing the reality of becoming sponsored athletes. Between competing and preparing for the Olympic Games, they have been mingling with keen riders, sharing valuable tips from how to better skills to handling pressure and form a vital part of the Spur Schools MTB League as they set the tone as role models for the young riders.
The League is facilitated by Amarider, a trails advocacy organization aimed at improving trail opportunities in Southern Africa. The organization uses the League not only to introduce young riders to trails, but also to develop the technical trail riding skills that will make the trails environment a safer and more enjoyable space.