Heading into the last month before the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League National finals in October, schools are pulling out all the stops to qualify. This weekend mountain bike enthusiasts in the Northern Cape, Free State, Kwazulu Natal and Limpopo will have another opportunity to add to their point count and better their positions on the respective regional logs.
Eight years into the League organisers are anticipating that more than 500 Southern African schools will be represented in the 2016 season from May to October. Riders from as young as 5 years, will take to the track on Saturday, 3 September. For primary school participants it is all about developing their skills and having loads of fun, while the competition is more serious for high school learners that can qualify for the national finals.
The League runs on the Olympic Cross Country (XCO) lap racing format whereby participants completes a set number of laps, determined by age category, of a short mountain bike course. Lap distances vary between 3-5km and the format makes for technical riding and great spectator value.
FREE STATE: Free State riders will compete at State de Gold (Stonepark) with registration from 08h00- 09h15 and course practice from 08h30-09h15. The Sprogs and Nippers will do the short course and set off at 09h30 and 09h34 respectively. A staggered start with see the sub-junior girls, youth boys and girls and junior girls starting from 10h00-10h05. At 11h15 and 11h18 the junior and sub-juniors boys will start the final schools races of the day. Prize giving is from 13h00-14h00 followed by a senior fun ride at 14h00 to wrap up the day.
The current Free State Spur Schools MTB League leaders are Simone Farber of Jim Fouche High School (youth ladies), Marnus Prinsloo of Grey College (sub-junior boys), Simone Grove of Ficksburg High (Sub-junior girls), Wynand Brits of Grey College (Youth boys), Jana Michau of Voortrekker High School (Junior women) and Rinus Maarsingh also of Grey College (Junior men).
NORTHERN CAPE: In the Northern Cape, riders will head out to the popular Marrick Safari about 10km outside Kimberley towards Douglas. This popular mountain bike route on challenging mountain bike terain, will require great skills and will make for great spectator value. Riders can register between 08h30 and 09h45 at the venue and entry fee is R80 for primary school and R90 for high school riders. Moms and dads will also be able to participate in a special 30km or more challenging 60km MTB race on the day. All finishers in the schools category will receive a Spur Schools MTB League medal as well as a Spur burger sponsored by the local Spur. Diamantveld High School is currently top of the leader board in the high schools division and Newton Primary School for the primary schools. For more information contact Wimpie Geyer on 0828998970 or Erika Venter on 0845522063.
LIMPOPO: Tour de Plot in Limpopo will take place in the Zoological gardens on the Northern edge of Mokopane town. Riders can look forward to a fast and flat track. Minimal climbing on loose rocky terrain will make it very interesting. Organisers are expecting a nice big field as pre-entries are already close to 270. Registration opens at 07h00 and the track will be open for practice from 07h15. Loading shoot opens for first race (Nipper Boys and Girls 8 to 10 years old) at 07h40 with the racing starting at 08h00 and 08h05. At 0815 the loading shoot opens for the Sprog Boys and Girls (11 and 12 years old) with the race start at 08h30.
KZN: Kearsney College will host Saturday’s event with the course incorporating some of the school buildings, sport fields and their conservancy single track for the longer race. Primary schools registration will be from 12h30 to 13h15 with racing starting at 13h30 and prize giving at 15h35. Entry fee is R50. High school riders can register between 12h30 and 15h15 with course practice scheduled for 15h00-15h20. Racing starts at 15h30 and prize giving will be at 17h00.
For those new to the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League, the League is a programme focused on growing the number of children on mountain bikes by running interschool mountain biking races around the country. The League consists of 11 South African regions including neighbouring African countries Zimbabwe, Namibia and Lesotho. Around 60 events take place leading up to the season-ending National Final in Magaliesburg in October.