The cross country mountain bike race was the first of four events in the series, with the remaining legs set to take place on June 10, August 27 and October 29.

Presented by Old Mutual Private Wealth Management, the series aims to provide exposure to cross country racing for riders in the Eden region and race director Jan Venter said the opening race was an overwhelming success.

The first leg of the Madibaz Mountain Bike XCO Series got off to an excellent start at the weekend with 120 riders competing in various categories on the track at the NMMU George campus. Photo: Christopher Brooke

“The majority of the riders were from the Eden area, but there were also entrants from Ladismith, Oudtshoorn and Cape Town,” he said.

“In total, across the various categories, we had 120 riders which is a 100 per cent increase from last year.”

He added that the feedback from participants had been positive and it had been an excellent start in the promotion of cross country racing in the region.

“I must say the large number of riders was unexpected but welcome,” said Venter.

“There were an incredible number of young riders with lots of talent in the nippers and sprogs categories.

“I have no doubt it is an indication that cross country and mountain bike racing have a great future in Eden.”

He added that there had been a strong level of competition in the age categories, saying “they left it all out on the track”.

Venter said one element they would reconsider for the next leg would be to split the nippers and sprogs categories “to make for easier riding for the youngsters”.

In terms of the course, he said they were happy with what had been created.

“We will probably make a few minor changes to make it even better. And, of course, the next event will have a different race route with new technical surprises.”

Sport manager at the George campus, Hugo Loubser, said the series, which was also supported by Ridelife George, Giant South Africa and Tippeton, was open to everyone.

“Besides promoting cross country racing in the region, we want to provide the community with healthy lifestyle options,” he added.

“It is built on a drive for excellence and respect for the environment.”

The third leg of the series in August will include an intervarsity section, with top university stars competing against each other.

Loubser added that the series champions would be determined by adding the points from riders’ top three finishes together.

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