The thrilling Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic celebrates its 30th anniversary on 16 October, having first taken place as the Natal Mercury/Pick n Pay National Classic in 1986 with 150 riders. Today the race is the oldest and one of the largest classic cycle races in the country, with prize money of over R100 000 and a starting line-up of more than 10 000 entries over the three races.
The race runs from Pietermaritzburg City Hall to Durban through spectacular scenery, ending at Masabalala Yengwa Avenue, with the prize-giving at Tsogo Sun’s Suncoast. The main Amashova race is 106km long, with two shorter ‘fun ride’ options of 35km, which starts at Hillcrest and ends at Suncoast, and the 65km half challenge, which starts at Cato Ridge and ends at Suncoast. All three races have full road closure.
This is the third year that Tsogo Sun is the headline sponsor of the race – and the races under the Tsogo Sun banner and the Tsogo Sun Amashova events have proved to be a huge success, drawing record numbers of entries, thousands of spectators, and enticing South Africans to experience the thrill of the race while enjoying a family beach weekend away. “We are delighted to announce that we have decided to extend our sponsorship for another three years,” says Neil Fraser, Group Director of Sales for Tsogo Sun.
As a big anniversary year, Tsogo Sun and the Amashova event coordinators are hosting several additional celebratory events in Durban and Johannesburg, which includes the Tsogo Sun Wattbike Challenge at the Montecasino Piazza on 23 July. This Challenge will determine which of the competing teams is the strongest, by cycling the longest distance on a stationary indoor bike over a set period. Sports anchor and Carte Blanche presenter Derek Watts will be among the celebrities pitting their endurance cycling skills against each other. Fantastic prizes are also up for grabs to the public, who can participate and earn an automatic entry into a lucky draw to win a Wattbike sponsored by PentaSystems to the value of R76 000.
“We’re delighted to be celebrating the Amashova’s 30th anniversary as the race’s headline sponsor,” says Noëleen Bruton, Director of Marketing, Group for Tsogo Sun. “It’s been exciting to see that Tsogo Sun’s commitment has given this significant event on the South African sporting calendar a new lease on life, with additional activities and appeal that is attracting the attention of riders from elsewhere in the country and even from Europe.”
Fraser adds “This third Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic highlights our belief in this cycle challenge as one that has enormous potential for growth and appeal to our target market. We anticipate that our partnership with Amashova is giving the race the opportunity to grow to a cycle challenge that appeals to a wider audience of novices, serious riders and families. We’re looking forward to welcoming a host of new riders to the starting line – and of course to our many hotels in the area.”
As the headline sponsor, Tsogo Sun has created a series of exciting accommodation packages at its different hotels in Durban and uMhlanga, and transport has been arranged by the race organisers to the main race start from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, as well as safekeeping for bikes both before and after the race. “As has become usual, Tsogo Sun is pulling out all the stops to ensure that all Amashova guests experience a brilliant weekend away. The race combined with a weekend in Durban makes for an exciting break – and this is a wonderful opportunity for riders and their families to make an adventure of the weekend, enjoying the challenge of the race, the magnificent countryside, as well as the many attractions of the area,” says Bruton.
Annie Batchelder, Race Director for the Tsogo Sun Amashova, says the Amashova is a favourite for many of South Africa’s top cyclists – and that it is showing all the signs of growing in popularity and size with Tsogo Sun behind it. “We’re proud too, that the race has contributed significantly to local communities with its social investment programme. Our passion for road safety led us to invest in two road safety bike parks. One at Ethembeni School in Inchanga and the other at George Cato Primary School in Cato Ridge. It is imperative that events like the Amashova supports skills development programmes in the eThekwini region leading up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Durban, getting kids on bikes at every opportunity is part of our legacy.”
Serious and casual riders from all over South Africa are encouraged to get their entries in for the Tsogo Sun Amashova as well as their bookings for great value accommodation package deals at Tsogo Sun’s hotels. All bookings can be done on www.shova.co.za.