Alumni from the respective universities could play a major role in the outcome of the annual Varsity MTB Challenge when the second edition takes place near Paarl in the Cape Winelands from September 30.
The two-day event, which is sponsored by First National Bank, will see current and past students form an alliance as they compete for their tertiary institutions in what is billed as South Africa’s “ultimate alumni challenge”.
The Varsity MTB Challenge is open to alumni, students and the public, who will participate in two-man teams. It incorporates the Varsity Sports race, which will see teams from six universities compete in their official varsity colours.
Riders in both categories will earn points for their institutions.
The Varsity MTB Challenge will take place on trails in the Drakenstein mountains near Paarl and out towards Wellington.
FNB senior communication and sponsorship manager Mari van Niekerk said their backing of the event was a natural extension of their commitment to varsity sport in the country.
“We see mountain biking as a popular and growing sport in South Africa and one that students have a keen interest in.
“With our focus on youth sport development, it is exciting to offer these young riders a platform to develop their skills and showcase their talent.
“The platform also gives alumni and supporters of the respective universities the opportunity to get involved and to back their universities again,” she said.
“By adding value and prestige to the event, we are instrumental in creating a pipeline of talent to international competition.”
Van Niekerk added that they were delighted the race reached wider audiences.
“As mentioned, we sponsor a number of high profile mountain biking races, so it’s already aligned to our sponsorship focus and selected target markets.”
Their support will have a tangible effect on those who enter with an FNB card.
“We provide 10 per cent discount to all FNB and RMB Private Bank cardholders who enter online,” said Van Niekerk. “Of course, terms and conditions apply and you can find the details on the Varsity MTB Challenge website.”