With the continued phenomenal growth of mountain biking making it one of the most popular sports in the province, the Gauteng race calendar has filled up with new events in recent years, with organisers looking to capitalise on the sport’s popularity.
A full calendar means a lot more choice for mountain bikers, but there’s a widespread belief, particularly among experienced mountain bikers, that many of the new events miss the mark in terms of delivering a complete mountain biking experience.
“I actually competed in the first Spring Classic back in 1995, when mountain bike racing was still small and event organisers went all out to offer great value for money and a balanced, challenging race route,” recalls Richard Beswick, a former professional racer and the organiser of the Eqstra Spring Classic. “The Spring Classic, has endured because it’s always remained focussed on ‘the rider experience’ and that focus will continue at this year’s event.”
A reasonable entry fee, a quality participant goodie bag, a safe, well-marked route with a variety of natural obstacles in the countryside and a choice of distances are among the elements Eqstra Spring Classic the entrants can expect for next month’s Eqstra Spring Classic. There is also strong focus on the pre-and post-race periods, ablution facilities, parking, rider communication and refreshment/nourishment throughout the day.
“Riders return to this event year after year because they know they’re getting a great-value and exciting mountain biking experience. We’ve modernised certain elements of the race and the venue has changed since the early editions, but old-school mountain bike values remain the core focus of the Spring Classic,” added Beswick.
This is the fifth year that Eqstra is the title sponsor of the Spring Classic. Eqstra’s core business is the distribution, long-term lease and rental of mobile capital equipment and the provision of related value added annuity services to clients in the construction, mining and commercial sectors. The Spring Classic will once again incorporate some of Eqstra’s products into the race route for something a little different.
According to Beswick, the main 45km race, which starts and finishes at Avianto, Muldersdrift, just north of Randburg, will deliver a little bit of everything that mountain bikers seek in their quest for a rewarding race.
“The Avianto trails, which are highly rated in the mountain bike market, will form the foundation for the race route, but we’ve added a whole lot of extra elements in order to ensure the route offers a balanced, fresh challenge for both fit riders and those just wanting to earn another finisher’s medal,” explained Beswick.
“The 20km and 10km distances also on offer will be suitably designed for the less-fit, less-skilled riders, but will still ensure a rewarding ride,” he added.
There is a 1200-rider limit on the event to ensure minimal congestion and maximum enjoyment. Beswick urges riders to get their entries in soon to avoid disappointment. For more information on the Eqstra Spring Classic, or to enter online, visit www.springclassic.co.za.