ccs-62657-0-20347300-1464931509.jpgAndrew Reaper from SACS finished sixth in the junior men's race at the Southey race in 2015.

Eight years into the Spur High Schools Mountain Bike League organisers are anticipating that more than 500 Southern African schools will be represented in the 2016 season.

Last year saw a total of 1643 riders from 129 schools competing in the Western Cape. Parel Vallei High School finished top of the mixed teams log with 1422 points, followed by DF Malan with 878 points and Montana in third place with 832 points. Paul Roos Gymnasium finished overall second and comfortably first in the boys category with 1047 points.

The Western Cape also has a healthy Primary Schools participation with Kenridge logging 1157 points to secure the top spot in 2015 with Durbanville second with 678 points and Totius in third with 549.

ccs-62657-0-35990800-1464931522.jpgParel Vallei winners of the 2015 Spur Schools MTB League in the Western Cape.

According to league director, Meurant Botha of Amarider participation at local events has been growing at a steady pace as schools accept mountain biking as a recognized sport. “Some schools are going as far as building dedicated tracks on school grounds to encourage after school practices and interschool sports days as well as employing coaches and managers to oversee teams. I think we can look forward to kicking off the season with strong racing and fierce competition at the first Western Cape event on the fast technical track at Southey Vines,” says Botha.

Parents are urged to register with Amarider on www.amarider.co.za and pre-enter riders online to streamline race day activations and also track individual results and times throughout the season. It’s as easy as, parent logs on or registers, clicks on event, registers child’s profile (if they don't have one), selects the race distance and follows the prompts.

Online entries close on Sunday, 12 June at midnight at a cost of R60 for Primary School age categories and R70 for High School categories. Late entries will open on race day at the additional fee. Parents are also urged to download and complete the indemnity form at www.spurmtbleague.co.za - bring it along to the event. The course guideline can be found on the website and lap distances and information will be provided on race day.

ccs-62657-0-44314200-1464931516.jpgGirls race start 2015 Spur Schools MTB League.

Registration will run from 08h30 – 13h30, while the course will be open for practice from 08h30 – 09h30 with the first race (Sub Nippers) setting off at 09h30. Nipper boys and girls will start at 10h00 and 10h05 respectively followed by the Sprog boys and girls at 10h30 and 10h35 - Sprog girls. Sub-junior boys A and the sub-junior girls A will set off at 11h00 and 11h05.

High school riders will have 11h40 – 12h10 for a course practice with the sub-junior boys B starting at 12h15, followed by youth men B at 12h45 and youth men A at 13h20. The sub-junior, youth and junior girls will all race together at 14h00 and the junior men will wrap up the day’s racing at 14h45.

For those new to the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League, the League is a programme focused on growing the number of children on mountain bikes by running interschool mountain biking races around the country. As the riders are representing their school at these events, organisers are strongly advising that school cycling kit to be worn.

The League consists of 11 South African regions including neighbouring African countries Zimbabwe, Namibia and Lesotho. Around 60 events take place from May to the season-ending National Final in Magaliesburg in October.

The League is facilitated by Amarider, a trails advocacy organization aimed at improving trail opportunities in Southern Africa. The organization uses the League not only to introduce young riders to trails, but also to develop the technical trail riding skills that will make the trails environment a safer and more enjoyable space. According to Amarider’s director, Meurant Botha, it is equally important to build local advocacy capacity and seeing the regional coordinator teams develop is very exciting.

ccs-62657-0-55622500-1464931528.jpgPaul Roos Gymnasium top of the Western Cape Spur Schools MTB men's category log.

“Although there are many kids finding their competitive edge on their bicycles, the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League’s focus is still to encourage more kids on bikes, more schools in action. It is important for all children to enjoy participating whether only starting out or having participated for a couple seasons. We also urge the regions to support local cycling development programmes and assist more kids to get out and ride,”concludes Botha.

For more information on the 2016 edition of the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League, visit www.spurmtbleague.co.za, or contact Amarider’s Michelle du Preez at 021 8844547 or michelle@amarider.co.za

Provisional results will be on www.trailtag.co.za and school logs will be uploaded to www.spurmtbleague.co.za and www.bikehub.co.za

Follow us on Facebook at SpurSchoolsLeague, twitter #spurMTBleagueand @spurMTBleague.