The 2012 edition of the popular annual Sabie Classic was the first time that a race on African soil was part of the International Cycling Union’s World Marathon Series, and so good was the feedback from the international riders that the event has once again been invited to become part of the 2013 UCI series.

This is a huge feather in the cap of this legendary race on the South African calendar and cements it’s status as a world-class event. The small forestry town of Sabie in Mpumalanga emerged from the infancy of the sport as the ‘Mecca’ of South African Mountain Biking. The Sabie Classic was established in the late 90’s to showcase the wealth of riding the region has to offer and has since gone on from those early days to be a huge tourism draw card for the region, bringing thousands of riders and their families into the town in February.

The recent heavy rains have drained away leaving some challenges to the course designer, Dennis Lawrie, but living in the Sabie mountains Dennis is superbly adept at reconfiguring and re designing courses. Mother nature has been known to throw a few curve balls over the years but knowing the mountains like the back of his hand Dennis has always triumphed!

International interest is peaking with enquiries from Germany, France, Malaysia amongst others so a strong international field is expected, throw into the mix the best that SA has to offer and you can be sure that sparks will fly. In 2011 Karl Platt of Germany became the first non-African to win the race but 2012 saw Kevin Evans and the other top SA riders reign supreme leaving a few of the overseas contingent wondering what went wrong! With local boy Max Knox a close second last year and his recent victory at the Barberton race fresh in his memory, Max is sure to want to make it two for two.

As usual for Sabie the race offers something for everyone with races for the little kids, novices, weekend warriors and the Pro’s. The organisers once again welcome Stihl tools on board as a co-sponsor to compliment the continued support from MTN, Nissan, Coca Cola, Komatiland Forests and York Timbers.

Entries are moving fast and are already up by 20% when compared to this time last year, so enter soon. Online pre-entries close on Sunday 17th February at midnight, and can be done here: http://advendurance.com/entries/sabie. Late entries will be accepted but will incur a R50 penalty over and above the race entry fee.

The main beneficiaries of the race include the Msiba Mbane orphanage in Sabie, the Lions Club as well as various local service providers.

The Lowveld Chaingang Cycle Club hosts the race with the assistance of Advendurance. Entries are via the Advendurance website and further details can be obtained from race Director Brett Coates 082 774 5821 brettc@lantic.net.