Russell Egan, who was commissioned by owner Johan Marais to develop the trail network on the 1000 hectares of pristine countryside some seven kilometres outside of Jeffreys Bay, explains that riders of the mountain biking event of the JBay Winterfest can expect to have both a physical and mental workout. “The loop has been designed to be a pleasant mix of climb and lots of reward but the views change every 200 metres so you never ride in enclosed spaces,” says Egan. “You get to see full 360 degree horizons, big skies, unique rock formations, many kilometres of streams, forest sections and climbs have been arranged on specially graded sections of the infrequently used farm tracks.”
“It has been a private game farm for the past 20 years with access only for family and friends of the landowner,” Egan says. “In that time the farm has been regularly stocked with superb specimens of a wide range of animals.” Apparently the farm lays claim to the largest known cycad cluster and kudu bull in the Eastern Cape.
According to Egan, all trails have been built to IMBA standards and we have been affiliated with the AMA with full public liability insurance in place for trail building, events and general riding. “Arthur Joubert has donated several bridges, building materials and has provided great assistance in building some excellent trail sections,” says Egan.
His favourite section of the trail and one he believes will challenge and exhilarate is ‘Rocky Forest’. “This is the crown jewel for serious mountain bikers,” he says. “A unique mix of old forest, weathered rocks and boulders, steep valley sides and a right-to-left stream which allows a snaking mix of jumps, bridges, hops, ramps and ever-changing forest views.”
The inclusion of the not-yet-open Impala Ranch Trails adds yet another exciting element to the event which already features the trademark wooden bridges and bermed singletrack sections along the Seekoei River..
The 2014 event will feature four routes (a 20km fun ride, 40km, 60km and 85km) all designed by Arthur Joubert. Each shows a classic combination of his skills as mountain-biking enthusiast and construction specialist and riders can expect fast farm roads, cattle tracks and purpose-built singletrack.
The 20km is aimed at beginners and those doing an MTB race for the first time, while the the 40km is for the adventurous fun rider looking to ride a significant distance. Both routes will be fairly flat and non-technical. The longer routes require good technical proficiency and some training in the legs, with the 60km being aimed at trail riders and the 85km fit racers with marathon experience.
This year Joubert is once again hosting the Jeffreys Bay Mountain Bike Open as part of the JBay Winterfest, but now in its second year much new trail development by Arthur and co means spectacular new routes.
Sound like your kind of thing? Enter the JBay MTB Open now http://www.jbaysport.co.za/
Impala Ranch trails are not yet open to the public but a membership scheme (including access to a trail centre will have a loo and shower) will be available soon.