Race organiser Louise Wilson of Garden Route Events said the financial institution’s involvement was “massively exciting” as it meant that the prize purse would almost double for the third edition of the three-day event.
Wilson said the R70 000 cash injection would enable them to attract some of the country’s top riders and grow the 300km race, which was recently rated as offering the best value for money per kilometre in an online poll.
She said R50 000 would go to the overall winners, while the remaining R20 000 would be given away in three daily lucky draws, affording all entrants the chance to walk away as winners.
“Good sponsorship is essential to maintain the level of service mountain bikers have come to expect from our stage races.”
First National Bank has announced that it has come on board as official prize money sponsor of the Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300 mountain bike race, which takes place around Knysna in February next year. Photo: Elle Redman
According to FNB provincial head for the Western Cape, Stephan Claassen, the institution preferred to avoid high-profile sports and rather took the road less travelled when it came to sponsoring events.
“First National Bank believes in investing in sponsorships that will contribute to the development of the community as a whole,” said Claassen.
As a community engagement brand, he said the bank’s sponsorship decisions were based on the particular merits of each event.
“Our ongoing strategy is to support local events that demonstrate the potential for growth. This also gives us the opportunity to actively show our support for the local economies and businesses within our communities.”
Claassen said FNB was delighted to be involved with one of the premium cycling events on the national calendar.
“The event epitomises the values associated with the sport – healthy living, outdoor activity and a focus on family. FNB places a great deal of emphasis on our values and principles, so mountain biking is a sport we relate to.”
He said one of the bank’s key strategic focus areas was supporting the development of youth sports in Southern Africa.
In this regard, the race meets the criteria by promoting cycling among the disadvantaged youth in the area through its involvement with the Knysna Sport School.
Sports coordinator Iain Coetzee said the school was proud to be associated with Garden Route Events.
“We value the ongoing contributions to our school and the support we get for our development riders in terms of kit and cash donations. They go a long way to getting our local underprivileged kids out into the beautiful surrounds in which we live.”
He said the school would field a racing team at the event and also assist with marshalling and at water points.
Enter online at www.gardenrouteevents.co.za. For regular updates, go to www.facebook.com/gardenrouteevent or follow @GardenRouteLive.