The good doctor, Leon Evans, also known as Dr Evil has a better prescription than an apple a day: enter the 2023 Dr Evil Classic. Now in its eleventh year the event will boast more singletrack than ever, as Plettenberg Bay continues to evolve as a mountain biking Mecca. It will however not lose its ethos as a fun race/ride where every participant goes exactly as fast or slow as they like…
“We focus on ensuring that every rider, and even every rider’s supporters, have a fantastic time at the Dr Evil Classic,” co-founder Zandile Meneses promised. “This year’s race will take place from 21 to 23 September, leading into the Karoo to Coast on Sunday the 24th. The stages are relatively short, but are packed with great riding and will continue to showcase some of the best mountain biking on offer around Plettenberg Bay.”
The long weekend’s activities begin with a relaxed registration at Wittedrift High School; on Wednesday, 20 September, before the racing starts from the school, outside Plett, on Thursday morning. All three the stages have been refreshed for the 2023 race, with the opening day boasting major changes. These include a new point-to-point format on Stage 1.
“Stage 1, will remain the longest day, at 58 kilometres long, with the most meters of climbing,” route director Erik Klootwyk noted. “But it now starts at Wittedrift High School and finishes at Cairnbrogie. The course begins with a climb from the village to Protea Wilds. With a chunk of the day’s 1 400 metres of climbing done, the route snakes into the indigenous forests, fynbos and plantations of Petrus se Brand. There 20 of the most spectacular jeep track kilometres await; followed by a historic visit to the Coffee Pot, where the early Knysna foresters hauled yellowwood, ironwood and stinkwood logs, which had been felled in the deep forests. After sneaking under the N2 the race heads into Harkerville for more scenic forest riding en route to Cairnbrogie Dairy Farm, via two of the famous MTO singletracks – for a taste of what lies ahead on Stages 3 – before crossing the stage finish line.”
The next two days start and finish at Cairnbrogie,” Klootwyk added. “It is the access point for some of the most incredible trails you’ll ever ride. Along with the network of singletracks on the Cairnbrogie property, which we’ve been using since 2018, the park also provides a trail head for the amazing MTO Forestry tracks in the Kranshoek Plantations. Uniquely, only for the Dr Evil Classic, the riders will also be treated to the iconic Harkerville trails, on Stages 1 and 2.”
“While mountain bikers can visit SANPark’s Harkerville forest year-round they cannot ride from the Cairnbrogie trails, through MTO’s property and into the national park,” he explained. “This is a treat reserved for our race entrants. Stage 2 in 2023 will explore the best of the riding in Harkerville. The route for the day is 52 kilometres long and features 1 050 metres of climbing. It begins with the Cairnbrogie Coastal Singletracks, high above on the cliffs with views of the ocean. Exiting the farm, riders will follow the coast into the Harkaville, the home of some of the most famous indigenous forest singletracks in the country. Having looped through those iconic trails the race heads back into the MTO plantations for another teaser of what’s to come, before finishing at Cairnbrogie.”
“Stage 3, after hints and sneak peaks on Stages 1 and 2, explores the amazing MTO Garden Route Trails in depth,” Klootwyk smiled. “The route is 40 kilometres long, with 800 meters of climbing, and boasts, exceptional, manicured singletrack. These trails have been built by a small team of trail builders and were sponsored by private companies, so we are really proud to be able to show them off. The final stage will include trails like The Dummy Run and Cliff Hanger; as well as climbs like Alpe d’Joe and The Crawler. I will guarantee you this will be the best day you will ever have on a bike!”
The doctor’s orders are simple: enter the Dr Evil Classic to have fun on the bike and enjoy the beauty of Plettenberg Bay throughout. Along with the amazing riding and breath-taking scenery Plett offers a plethora of attractions. For the non-riders there are thus ample reasons to accompany the mountain bikers to the race, while for the riders the afternoons and evenings can easily be whiled away on the beach or in one of the town’s many great restaurants. Thus, there are many reasons to enter the 2023 Dr Evil Classic, all of them great! Visit www.drevilclassic.com to secure a spot now.
image: The manicured MTO Garden Route Trails as well as the singletracks of Cairnbrogie and Harkerville await. Photo by Oakpics.com.