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  1. The racing at the front of the 60km MTB marathon proved to be thrilling with the top five in the men’s race all finishing within two minutes of each other, but it was the young Australian who had too much power and took the overall win. [/caption] With his cross country background 60km was a big ask for the former junior world cross country champion, however he dug deep to take a satisfying win. “It was really hard for me and the last twenty kilometres were tough,” Wright said. “I got onto the front for the final five kays and got myself a little bit of a gap and was lucky enough to hold it until the end.” Having been born in South Africa, Wright moved to Australia seven years ago and he was happy to be back racing in the Karkloof. [caption]It was a great performance from Australian cross country ace Cameron Wright as he took the overall honours in the 60km Sappi Marathon at the 2019 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “I probably haven’t ridden here in eight or nine years and it was pretty hard not really knowing where to go! “It’s great to be back and I’ve got another month in South Africa which is great!” he added. Second place’s Henry Liebenberg’s race wasn’t without drama but he showed good temperament to get himself back in the race. “Unfortunately just before Lebanon I got a slow flat so I had to stop and bomb it quickly,” he said. "I had to work hard up Lebanon and caught the group at the top. “There was some tactical riding after that but Cam just had a bit more in the single track and on the dice to the line.” It was an exciting race throughout but an unfortunate incident meant that Stuart Marais had to settle for third place in the men's 60km Sappi Marathon at the 2019 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Stuart Marais also came unstuck when he got a stick in his spokes but 2018’s runner up put in a big effort to finish in third. The ladies race was also laced with drama with Tiffany Keep taking a wrong turn when she was in full control of the race. She ended up riding an extra four kilometres which meant that Frances Janse van Rensberg was able to come through, and to her surprise, take the ladies title in her first 60km marathon. It was more of a surprise for her, but young Frances Janse van Rensberg, in her first ever 60km marathon, won the overall ladies title in the 60km Sappi Marathon at the 2019 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media "Tiffany and I weren't too far apart but I couldn't see her so this is a huge surprise! "Being my first 60km race I didn't really know what to expect so I took it easy," she said. "I had a crash so I had to take it easy after that but it was a lot of fun. I got pretty tired but loved the single track and it was a great day out." Unfortunately for Tiffany Keep, she got lost and lost her lead which meant she had to settle for third place in the women's 60km Sappi Marathon the 2019 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media In the shorter races, it was Mitchel Potgieter who was the fastest rider over the Sappi 40km Half Marathon on Sunday, over six minutes ahead of Chad Stevenson in second and then Jordan Brandon Bold finished in third. Chloe Bateson was in a league of her own in the women's race as she finished eighth overall in the 40km half marathon with Jean Hackland coming home in second place and Bronwyn Evans finished in third. Completing the family appeal of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival there was a great turnout for the aQuellé 20km Family Ride as well as the very popular aQuellé 10km Kids Ride. More info can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za. The autumn colours were showing off during the 2019 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media There were some fantastic views for riders throughout the 2019 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media SUMMARY OF RESULTS - Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival60km Sappi Marathon Overall 1.Cameron Wright (AUS) 2:39:53 2.Henry Liebenberg 2:40:09 3.Stuart Marais 2:40:29 4.Travis Stedman 2:40:45 5.Tyronne White 2:40:45 6.David Low 2:46:55 7.Sthembiso Masango 2:50:38 8.Brennan Anderson 2:55:12 9.Trevor Rowe 2:55:12 10.Bradley Potgieter 2:56:39 Women 1.Frances Janse van Rensberg (U18) 3:25:49 2.Rouxda Grobler 3:34:29 3.Tiffany Keep 3:36:03 4.Courteney webb 3:41:44 5.Andrea de Boer 3:43:09 6.Steph Blane 3:53:04 7.Brenda Potts 3:56:13 8.Debrah Thomas 3:58:28 9.Michelle Scott 4:03:18 10.Isla Mackeller 4:05:54 aQuellé 40km Half Marathon Overall 1.Mitchel Potgieter 1:53:23 2.Chad Stevenson 1:59:38 3.Jordan Brandon Bold 2:03:23 4.Kade Charleton 2:05:43 5.Lindokuhle Ngubo 2:06:24 6.Andrew Green 2:07:12 7.Gareth Cook 2:07:13 8.Chloe Bateson 2:10:49 9.Jason Lowe 2:11:20 10.Jordon Wisdom 2:11:23 Women 1.Chloe Bateson 2:10:49 2.Jean Hackland 2:23:03 3.Bronwyn Evans 2:27:03 4.Allegra Wykerd 2:31:22 5.Lindsay Everson 2:33:32
  2. Julian Jessop savours his victory in the 60km Sappi Ultra Marathon on the second day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Jessop and Marais raced the entire race together with Pieter du Toit, and the crowd enjoying the 25th-anniversary celebrations of this pioneering event were treated to a grand stand finish to the blue ribbon race. It was an emotional win by Jessop, whose racing career started at the same venue when was a nervous youngster. "I did my first race here when I was nine years old," The Pyga/Euro Steel star recalled. "I was crying on the start line of the 10 km race because I was too scared to do it. "Then my younger brother took off, and I thought 'There is now way I can let him beat me', and off I went, so I actually dedicate this win to him. A rider in the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon crosses a river on the second day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media "Stuart (Marais) was really on form today," said Jessop, who had to watch his early lead eroded by the lion-hearted Marais on the tough Lebanon climb. "He was on fire and dropped me at the top." He was able to team up with Pieter du Toit and bridge the gap back to the charging Marais, and which stage he realised the need to be calm and plan the closing stages of the race. "The last section in Logan’s Loop is always tough, and going into that section Stuart and I were attacking each other, and I managed to get into the single track ahead of him. "But I had a slight problem with my fork and I crashed. Stuart asked me if I was alright and then got in front of me. "In my fury to catch up I crashed another three times, because those corners are very slippery. "Finally I caught him as we got into the sugar cane, and that’s where I went through my plan to win the sprint finish. "When I saw him go from the corner I realised he had gone way too early. I had to wait but it was quite hard because I wanted to go around but didn't want to go too early, so I just waited. "When I saw that he was blown I went around him. I think watching the Giro helped!" he added. Women's race winner Bianca Haw negotiates a river crossing during the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon on the second day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The woman's race was dominated by the Red Bull ace Bianca Haw, who was never under serious pressure from any of the other elite women, with Jeannie Dreyer, a former winner here, securing second and Christie-Leigh Hearder the last step on the podium. "I was having such fun the whole way," Haw enthused. "I was warned that there were three huge climbs so I paced those ones, but after those climbs there was such cool single track." She said that riding the enduro on Saturday afternoon had been useful as she learnt a lot about the single track on the descent from Lebanon, though her ride was far from flawless. "I had a high-speed slide out, landing on my shoulder in the bank, but luckily I was fine," said the bubbly Himeville rider. She said that starting all the elite women in B batch made assessing the race really easy, and she realised she was racing away into a commanding lead early on in the race. Women's runner up Jeannie Dreyer enjoying the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon on the second day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The race for overall line honours in the 40km Sappi Karkloof Half Marathon also went down to a sprint finish, with the cool head of Sam Moore prevailing over Johandre Marx. The pair broke away early on after a blisteringly fast start, and soon had a sizeable gap to the rest of the A batch riders. "Coming into the finish I just waited on his wheel and when he looked back I took the gap and sprinted off," said a delighted Moore. Francis Janse van Rensberg took the women's 40km spoils ahead of young Tiffany Keep. "There was a lot of single track which I loved," enthused Janse van Rensberg. Family participation is always a priority at the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media SUMMARY OF RESULTS 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon Men 1. Julian Jessop 2:39:22 2. Stuart Marais 2:39:23 3. Pieter du Toit 2:39:40 4. Henry Liebenberg 2:47:57 5. Tyrone White 2:48:54 6. Brennan Anderson 2:52:25 7. David Low 2:52:32 8. Sthembiso Masango 2:59:35 9. Ndumiso Dontso 3:00:00 10.Nathan Treble 3:00:29Women 1. Bianca Haw 3:13:32 2. Jeannie Dreyer 3:17:37 3.Christie-Leigh Hearder 3:23:13 4. Andrea de Boer 3:27:24 5. Shauna Esmeyer 3:30:43 6. Nadine Nundes 3:43:47 7. Landy Puddu 3:51:15 8. Sandra Haywood 3:52:44 9. Debrah Thomas 3:56:37 10.Bronwyn Evans 4:08:51 40km aQuellé Half Marathon Men 1. Sam Moore 1:54:10 2. Johandre Marx 1:54:20 3. Stefan van Deventer 1:59:58 4. Thomas Cheatle 2:01:19 5. Daniel van der Watt 2:01:27 6. Brent Yelland 2:05:10 7. Kieran Blunt 2:05:10 8. Mitchel Potgieter 2:05:49 9. Grant Muller 2:05:51 10.Heinrich Zellhuber 2:08:26 Women 1. Frances Janse van Rensberg 2:01:25 2. Tiffany Keep 2:05:11 3. Chloe Bateson 2:15:48 4. Ilse Longmore 2:19:25 5. Beanie Thies 2:24:27 6. Ainsli de Beer 2:26:56 7. Yvette Roberts 2:29:14 8. Sarah Ryan 2:30:50 9. Lindsay Everson 2:33:43 10.Jacqueline Scott 2:36:12 More info can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za
  3. Karkloof junior Keira Duncan powering downhill to take the overall honours at the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the first day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media 17-year-old Duncan, who lives a stone's throw away from the Karkloof trails on which he won the title, was ecstatic to claim the overall honours, when he had been aiming for the junior laurels. "Conditions couldn't have been any better, they were absolutely prime," he enthused."I was trying to go as fast as I could," said the PYGA rider. "Racing is racing and you just have to try and keep it together. Unfortunately, we didn't have Sharjah Johnson here today. "I kept it pinned and kept focused, and it turned out to be a great day," said the Karkloof local, who is training for a number of international events in the second half of the year. "If I can win juniors, that is great, but to win overall is even better!" he said. His feat was mirrored by Wartburg ace Beanie Thies who snatched the overall women's crown as well as the junior title. She said that she had started her four-stage enduro focussed on talented XCO and marathoner Bianca Haw. Wartburg schoolgirl Beanie Thies was flawless in racing to the overall women's title at the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the first day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media "I started riding with the Pearton brothers until they got a puncture so I had to go with some other people. "On stage two I started behind Bianca (Haw) and left quite a big gap. Halfway down I could see her in the distance and by the end, I had caught her, so I wasn't too worried after that." Runner up Kath Fourie in action during the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the first day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Thies heads abroad in August for the Rookie World Champs, as this is the last year that she is eligible to race before she is forced to race in the full World Championships. The focussed enduro and downhill specialist then wants to embark on a World Cup career abroad. The race attracted a big field as the discipline of enduro racing continues to grow its core audience. Andrew Houston streaks across a bridge in The Gauntlet during the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the first day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Airborne in The Gauntlet, third-placed junior Connor Finnis racing in the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the first day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media SUMMARY OF RESULTS STIHL Karkloof Enduro Men 1. Keira Duncan 20:07 2. Tim Bentley 20:50 3. Leeroy Emslee 20:53Women 1. Beanie Thies 23:33 2. Kath Fourie 24:28 3. Chloe Bateson 25:06 Juniors 1. Keira Duncan 20:07 2. Joshua Donaldson 22:25 3. Connor Finnis 22:52 The 2018 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at the Karkloof Country Club on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May 2018. More info can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za
  4. We note the recent developments with regards to Cycling South Africa (CSA). As events and organizers, we are significant contributors through our events and clients (the rider) to the CSA model. In light of recent media reports, we would like to inform our clients and riders that we have requested a meeting with CSA. We have requested this meeting in order to establish certain facts, enquire about specific decisions and understand the processes that have (and will) be put in place to rectify certain aspects of the sports administration that needs attention. CSA immediately acknowledged our request and efficiently setup a meeting accordingly for the 26th June, where President William Newman will be meeting with the respective event representatives. While a lot has been said about CSA's financial position, as a group of KZN based events we feel It is important for us to note and acknowledge that Cycling KZN as a governing body is financially sound and operationally efficient, and we thank the respective volunteers who have put their personal time and effort into the organization to date. Our commitment as a group is to ensure that we represent our partners, clients and riders to the best of our ability in order to help facilitate a sport that is associated with good governance, financially sound principles and a governing body that is focused on growing the sport through good business principles.
  5. Lowveld Trekkers' Max Knox repeated his 2015 victory when he won the Sappi 60km Marathon at the 2017 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Conditions were frosty when riders set off to take on the famous Karkloof trails and the early racing was exciting with a bunch of riders on the front led by Lowveld Trekkers’ Knox who pushed the pace hard to try and break up the field up. “I managed to get a slight gap on the opening climb which gave me the advantage that I needed and I kept my head down from there,” Knox commented. “The trails are incredible here and we had the SA Marathon Champs last weekend, they should have just had it here this weekend! “There was a massive race in Mpumamlanga this weekend but I love Karkloof and made the effort to come down and race here.” South African Marathon Champs was an event that Knox tried to put out of his mind after he pulled out 10km into the race, however it might have been a blessing in disguise going into the Karkloof showdown. Despite putting in as big an effort as possible, Ballito Concept Cyclery's Julian Jessop had to settle for second at the Sappi 60km Marathon at the 2017 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “I had a mechanical at SA champs and so I was feeling really fresh this week and was strong throughout the race today. “Julian (Jessop) is a strong, young rider and he was always going to be a threat but I just really enjoyed my ride today,” Knox added. Jessop’s last month of mountain bike racing has been choker-block with a race every weekend; despite this a few small dramas on Sunday didn’t help him in his bid to track down the imperious Knox, meaning he had to settle for his second runner-up finish in as many years. “With massive races every week as well as university exams starting this last week, it’s been a really hectic time for me. “I had a few issues today starting with a broken spoke which cost me some time and then I had a lapse of concentration and went the wrong way! “Although these didn’t help me, I think my biggest problem was that Max was just far too strong for me today,” the Ballito Concept Cyclery star mentioned humbly. Rounding out the men’s podium was Leeroy Emslie who came home just under three minutes behind Jessop. The women’s race was always going to be a shoot-out between veteran Natalie Bergstrom and Christie-Leigh Hearder and the pair decided that they would set the pace at the front of the race right from the get-go. It was an impressive display from Natalie Bergstrom as she powered her way to victory in the ladies race in the Sappi 60km Marathon at the 2017 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “We pushed hard early on and made the decision that we would work together to get a good gap on the others. “I could see when we got to about 20km into the race that Christie was starting to hurt, so I knew that it was time for me to put the hammer down. “The trails were incredible today and the course was a lot faster than it has been in previous years, about 20 minutes faster! “I have had some problems at the race in the past two years so to get a win here is great. It’s a great feeling to be able to win a race like this when I am the oldest person on the start line,” Bergstrom said with a smile. Bergstrom dominated the ladies field finishing over eight minutes ahead of Hearder with Andrea de Boer rounding out the women’s 60km podium. The aQuellé 40km Half Marathon was a showcase of some of the up-and-coming talent on the local mountain biking scene as Travis Steadman cruising to victory ahead Duane Stander in second and Bongukuphiwe Ndlovu in third. The ladies 40km Half Marathon was won by Frances Janse van Rensberg ahead of Lindsay Everson in second and Pauline Rainbird. In the popular aQuellé 20km Fun Ride young Jordan Bold took top honours ahead of Jonathan Watts and Mnceblisi Mkhize whilst in the girl’s race Emily van Heerden, Riley Smith and Jodi Mackinnon finished first, second and third. Tiaan Odendaal claimed his third Stihl Enduro title at the 2017 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media In the Stihl Karkloof Enduro on Saturday afternoon, Tiaan Odendaal, Sam Bull and Keira Duncan fought a tight battle with multiple South African downhill champion Odendaal just edging to a narrow three-second victory.By winning the final two of the four timed sections, Odendaal fought back from third place to claim the title from fellow downhill specialist Bull, with the young Duncan third. Duncan, who was leading after the first two timed sections, will rue his third split which saw him lose seven seconds to his older and more experienced rivals and cost him his chance of victory as he slipped to third, just five seconds behind the winner. In the women’s event, Sabine ‘Beani’ Thies highlighted her status as arguably the most exciting young rising star on the women’s downhill/enduro circuit with a solid victory over last year’s winner, Kathryn Fourie, while Kim Westbrook claimed third. Young Sabine Thies won her maiden Stihl Enduro title at the 2017 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Sunday’s action also included another 9km Trail Run which was won by Nicholas de Scally whilst Louize Erasmus was the fastest lady through the 9km course. More info can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za SUMMARY OF RESULTS – Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival (Day Two)60km Sappi Marathon Overall 1.Max Knox 02:29:19 2.Julian Jessop 2:37:28 3.Leeroy Emslie 2:40:01 4.Brennan Anderson 2:42:36 5.Henry Liebenberg 2:43:19 6.Jason Davies 2:47:13 7.Sthembiso Masango 2:47:53 8.Warren Price 2:47:59 9.Natahn Treble 2:48:28 10.Mitchell Ginsberg 2:48:29 Women 1.Natalie Bergstrom 3:08:32 2.Christie-Leigh Hearder 3:16:16 3.Andrea de Boer 3:21:41 4.Nadine Nunes 3:25:37 5.Landy Puddu 3:32:29 aQuellé 40km Half Marathon Overall 1.Travis Stedman 2:13:52 2.Duane Stander 2:25:30 3.Bongukuphiwa Ndlovu 2:25:45 Women 1.Frances Janse van Rensberg 2:36:29 2.Lindsay Everson 2:54:19 3.Pauline Rainbird 2:54:33 aQuellé 20km Fun Ride Overall 1.Jordan Bold 49:47 2.Jonathan Watts 53:37 3.Mnceblisi Mkhize 53:44 Girls 1.Emily van Heerden 1:02:29 2.Riley Smith 1:04:50 3.Jodi Mackinnon 1:06:20 Stihl Karkloof Enduro 1.Tiaan Odendaal 13:58 2.Samuel Bull 14:01 3.Keira Duncan 14:03 4.Christopher Pearton 15:25 5.Carl Donaldson 15:36 6.Devlin Fogg 15:39 7.Andre Pretorius 15:42 8.Mark Millar 15:49 9.Craig Scott 15:57 10.Luke Dinkel 16:04 Women 1.Sabine Thies 16:59 2.Kathryn Fourie 17:56 3.Kim Westbrook 19:44 Sappi Karkloof 9km Trail Run Overall 1.Nicholas de Scally 35:33 2.Dumisani Hlongwane 36:09 3.Roy Newlands 38:31 4.Andrew Neal 38:38 5.Dale Earle 41:05 Women 1.Louize Erasmus 49:18 2.Kate Brading 50:49 3.Nina Gough 52:54 4.Erin Ellerker 53:20 5.Nicholette Spence 53:31
  6. Trek's Brendon Davids charges through the Gauntlet en route to victory at the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon, the feature race of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival that took place at Karkloof Country Club on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media While much of the festival’s more than 3000 participants tackled the 40km aQuellé Half Marathon, 20km aQuellé Family Ride and 10km aQuellé Kids Ride in cool, overcast conditions, the racing snakes battled it out at the front of the 60km clash for one of the country’s more prestigious marathon titles. Having suffered a wretched time of late, Davids’ victory came as a major morale boosting result and one that he was well pleased by. “I’m really happy to take my second win here at Karkloof,” said Davids. “The fact that I’m not with a team at the moment also makes getting the win a huge deal for me and it was great to get a win for Trek!” “On Tuesday I leave for Spain – where I’ll be racing a lot of races over there over the next couple of months as I’m busy planning something for next season over there– so it was also great to get a win before I leave.” Ballito Concept Cyclery powered by Burry Stander rider, Julian Jessop was thrilled with his second place effort at the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon, the feature race of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival that took place at Karkloof Country Club on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Falling back on tactics that saw him victorious in 2013, Davids (Trek) overcame the early challenge of fellow cross country aces Alan Hatherly (Kargo Pro Cycling Team) and Julian Jessop (Ballito Concept Cyclery powered by Burry Stander) before using his climbing strength to maintain his lead all the way to the finish. “Going up the first major climb of the day I sat on the front of the group and made sure no one could come around me and as the field slowly whittled down it was just Alan, Julian and myself left before Alan then fell back a bit too. “Going up Lebanon I saw Alan was coming back across to Julian and I so I put the hammer down which saw me crest the top first, getting the King of the Mountains hotspot prize in the process. “I’ve been working on my climbing a lot so I looked to exploit those as much as I could but I had to consolidate a bit on the down hills because I’ve clearly been spending too much time on the road bike as my arms were frying! “Fortunately everything worked out for me in the end though.” RMB Change a Life MTB Academy rider, Ndumiso Dontso speeds his way through the Gauntlet during the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon, the feature race of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival that took place at Karkloof Country Club on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Young Jessop rode a strong second half of the race to surge to a deserved second place while Hatherly was eventually reeled in my Team BestMed’s Matthew Wilkinson in the battle for third place overall. “I’ve got a third, fourth and now second at Karkloof in the past three years so its been a case one step backwards two steps forwards,” laughed Jessop. “I’m really happy with second today though!” “Brendon is in some great form and was really strong up the Lebanon climb; he just seemed to get stronger and stronger and I got slower and slower but even so, I was really happy with my ride!” The top four of the women’s race toed and froed throughout but ultimately Kargo Pro Cycling Team’s Du Toit was simply too strong for the rest of the field with 2014 and 2015 winner Jeannie Dreyer (Merchants) having to settle for second this time around while Du Toit’s Kargo team mate, Hayley Smith finished third. Kargo Pro Cycling Team's Frankie du Toit charges up the testing Lebanon climb before racing to victory at the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon, the feature race of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival that took place at Karkloof Country Club on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “I felt really good, I loved the trails and everything just worked today which was great and I’m so chuffed,” beamed Du Toit. “I normally get a bit bored during the longer races but never here at Karkloof; I love this route so much! “There are such good trails up here and that’s actually where I managed to open up my gap over Jeannie and Genevieve (van Coller).” “I knew beforehand that Jeannie is really strong but I am probably a bit better than her in the single track because of my cross country background, so my plan was to just stay with her until the single track and then go for it and I managed to do that and it worked.” Merchant's Jeannie Dreyer was unable to defend her title but raced to second place at the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon, the feature race of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival that took place at Karkloof Country Club on Sunday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The 40km aQuellé Half Marathon saw Bradley Rowlett and Nadine Nunes clinch the men’s and women’s spoils respectively while young Travis Stedman won the 20km aQuellé Family Ride’s men’s title with Sabine Thies narrowly outsprinting Chloe Bateson in the women’s dice. Broad smiles aplenty were seen on the faces of 10km aQuellé Kids Ride participants and their parents alike as they enjoyed their share of 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival action. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The 10km aQuellé Kids Ride completed Sunday’s programme as scores of tomorrow’s stars and their parents enjoyed their dose of trail adventure and brought down the curtain on this year’s 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival which, on Saturday, also saw 21km, 10km, 5km trail run events and the STIHL Karkloof Enduro take place. More information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za. SUMMARY OF RESULTS2016 SAPPI KARKLOOF CLASSIC TRAIL FESTIVAL 60KM SAPPI KARKLOOF MARATHON Men 1.Brendon Davids 2:37.26 2.Julian Jessop 2:42.00 3.Matthew Wilkinson 2:44.33 4.Alan Hatherly 2:45.10 5.Brandon Stewart 2:45.32 6.Leeroy Emslie 2:50.47 7.Thomas Jessop 2:54.20 8.Brennan Anderson 2:55.38 9.Warren Price 2:55.40 10.Andrew Warr 2:55.48 Women 1.Frankie du Toit 3:10.53 2.Jeannie Dreyer 3:21.17 3.Hayley Smith 3:22.38 4.Genevieve van Coller 3:27.59 5.Chriestie-Leigh Hearder 3:31.36 40KM AQUELLE HALF MARATHON Men 1.Bradley Rowlett 1:57.52 2.Sanele Shabalala 1:59.57 3.Felix Manke 2:02.39 Women 1.Nadine Nunes 2:17.35 2.Pauline Rainbird 2:28.49 3.Lindsay Everson 2:29.05 20KM AQUELLE FAMILY RIDE Men 1.Travis Stedman 48.39 2.Campbell van Rooyen 51.32 3.Sabine Thies (1st woman) 52.04 Women 1.Sabine Thies 52.04 2.Chloe Bateson 52.04 3.Sarah Ryan 1:01.08
  7. Brendon Davids returned to winning ways when he claimed a commanding victory at Sunday’s 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon title while the women’s crown of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival’s feature race went the way of rising young talent, Frankie du Toit. Click here to view the article
  8. Saturday afternoon’s STIHL Karkloof Enduro was a dry, dusty affair but the change in course location and fresh trails worked a treat as Tiaan Odendaal claimed his third consecutive title at the event while Kathryn Fourie raced to her first ever Enduro victory. Tiaan Odendaal clinched his third consecutive crown at the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the opening day of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media To infinity, and beyond! A rider launches off a jump during the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the opening day of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Odendaal charged out the blocks on the testing, technical opening stage and as the subsequent runs got smoother so he got quicker as he powered his way to four stage victories and the overall crown.“It was really great to get a clear win this year and I was really happy with the gap I opened up over the rest of the guys,” said Odendaal. “While I wasn’t focusing on winning my third title coming into the race, it was also cool to win three in a row.” “I actually worked quite hard for this win and was pretty broken at the end so it was quite a satisfying result. Brett Hillary charges down the first of four timed stages of the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the opening day of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “A big thanks to Brian Bentley for his assistance with a bike and then also to Hylton Turvey and the guys her at Karkloof, the tracks were phenomenal and I’ve never ridden anything so good. “Stage one was quite difficult to get a rhythm with all the rocky, technical sections but stage two was then really fast flowing with all the berms and jumps and that put me in a bit of a happy zone which I looked to stay in until the end,” he added. The renowned trails of the Karkloof region were enjoyed by all participants of the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the opening day of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Odendaal was chased across the line by the experienced Craig Paul and Heiko Redecker while U18 talent Keira Duncan finished fourth and Tim Bentley fifth. The women’s duel saw a stage one crash by double defending champ Kim Westbrook pave the way for Fourie and junior flyer Sabine Thies to battle it out for the title with the former ultimately getting the better of the emerging star by 21 seconds while Westbrook claimed third. Kathryn Fourie claimed her first ever Enduro race win when she crossed the line first at the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the opening day of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “I had a knee op six weeks ago and a bad bout of flu in the build up to the race so I’ve just been trying to focus on building again and just trying to keep up with Kim and ‘Beanie’ (Thies) so I’m really, really stoked to get the win,” said Fourie. “I do a lot of riding in the area but I haven’t actually ridden those particular trails in a long time so I bounced off quite a few rocks during the first stage and there were quite a few new sections that are obviously still a bit loose so you had to be careful of not sliding out but overall it was just great! “Enduro is really growing and it’s great to see so many new ladies giving it a go from so many different provinces and other disciplines and hopefully we can see that continue going forward,” she added. Sappi's plantations played hosted to all the action of the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the opening day of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Sunday's second day of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival, includes 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km mountain bikes events, gets underway at 07h30. More information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za. STIHL KARKLOOF ENDURO Men 1.Tiaan Odendaal 11:48 2.Craig Paul 12.24 3.Heiko Redecker 12.28 4.Keira Duncan (U18) 12.28 5.Timothy Bentley 12:30 6.Hilton Frost 12.38 7.Jonathan Philogene 12:44 8.Christopher Philogene (U18) 12:46 9.David Hogan 12:52 10.Charl van Zyl 12:58Women 1.Kathryn Fourie 15:26 2.Sabine Thies 15:47 3.Kim Westbrook 16:26 4.Tamika Haw 17:59 5.Michele Reynolds 18:27
  9. Enduro mountain biking competitors took to Karkloof’s renowned trails on Saturday, getting the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival underway with a bang and setting the tone for Sunday’s second day. Click here to view the article
  10. The well-established STIHL Karkloof Enduro at midday on Saturday and the full line-up of mountain bike events on Sunday – headlined by the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon – has been complimented by the organisers’ introduction of three trail running events – 21km, 10km and 5km early on Saturday morning, broadening the appeal to more outdoor adventurers. Kargo Pro Cycling Team's Alan Hatherly and fellow cross country aces Brendon Davids (Trek) and Julian Jessop (Concept Cyclery Ballito powered by Burry Stander) will look to lead the charge for 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon glory at this weekend's 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Sunday’s 60km showdown is expected to be a battle of youthful enthusiasm as the highly skilled cross country trio of Brendon Davids, Alan Hatherly and Julian Jessop – all 23 years or younger – square off for a place on this year’s title and a place on the coveted podium. 2013 race winner Davids (Trek) and Kargo Pro Cycling Team’s Alan Hatherly – the man who led for much of the first two thirds of last year’s race – are both eager to overcome recent XCO disappointments while Jessop looks to the race as a chance to transition into his marathon-heavy second half of the year. Brandon Stewart and Matthew Wilkinson are also expected to play a role in this year’s clash while Kargo’s Andrew Warr, Leeroy Emslie (Leigh’s Cycle Centre), Jedson Tooms and Warren Price will also be hoping for a top ten finish with former Sharks centre, Jeremy Thomson also taking on the challenge. The women’s race was set to welcome South African Marathon champion Robyn de Groot to the region for the first however a crash two weeks ago saw the Team Ascendis Health rider dislocate her shoulder and, in so doing, tore her AC ligament and fracture the head of her humerus. “I really enjoy riding in KZN and have had great experiences on the trails in and around Pietermaritzburg previously but have never actually been to Karkloof before and so I was really looking forward to finally getting there this year!” explained a disappointed yet graceful De Groot. “I have heard a lot about the Karkloof Classic and it has been on my calendar for the past two years but just hasn’t worked out so I was looking forward to giving it a go. “It was going to form part of my build up to this year’s Marathon World Champs but unfortunately my injury has meant I’ve had to scrap all of that as my arm is in a sling and I’m still in a bit of pain. “I enjoy giving new races a go, otherwise things can become a bit stale, so hopefully next year I’ll be able to come up and take part!” she added. Merchants' Jeanie Dreyer will have one eye on a third 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon title when she squares off against Kargo Pro Cycling Team's Frankie du Toit and Hayley Smith at this weekend's 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media De Groot’s absence has opened the door for defending champ Jeannie Dreyer to challenge for a third title at the event however the Merchants rider will receive strong competition from Kargo’s in-form young duo, Frankie du Toit and Hayley Smith. The 40km aQuellé Half Marathon, which has received a complete route makeover ahead of this year’s race, also takes place on Sunday while the family-focused 20km aQuellé Family Ride and 10km aQuellé 10km Kids Ride will ensure riders of all ages and abilities can enjoy a morning in the saddle. Prior to Sunday’s action though, KwaZulu-Natal’s rapidly growing Enduro community will enjoy their time on the region’s renowned trails as they throw caution to the wind and take on the four short, sharp time sections of the adrenalin pumping event. Tiaan Odendaal and Kim Westbrook. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan MediaDefending champ Tiaan Odendaal has won the past two editions of the clash and is back again in 2016, eager to make it three in a row. He will however have to overcome the stiff challenge of the likes of Hilton Frost (PYGA Industries), Craig Paul, David Hogan, Andre Pretorius, Jedson Tooms (ROAG Racing), Heiko Redecker, Shane Martin and Sharjah Jonsson and possibly Tim Bentley and Travis Browning as well. The ladies race is set to be one of the most richly talented Enduro events to take place in the province in recent times as Kim Westbrook – also a two-time defending champ – looks to hold off the flying Sabine Thies and Kathryn Fourie as well as the challenge of Tamryn Taylor, Michele Reynolds, Tamika Haw and Nadine Nunes. A strong Merchants Change a Life Running Team presence in both the 21km and 10km trail running events will see the Valley of a Thousand Hills outfit eyeing out a strong podium presence in both races while the balance of the 350-plus trail running field hope to soak up the wealth of spectacular sights and sounds of the region when they enjoy the 5km event. Owen Bengo, together with the rest of the 350-plus field, will take on the all-new 21km, 10km and 5km trail run events at this weekend's 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The popular two day event also offers participants and spectators alike the opportunity to soak up the race village’s plethora of food and drink facilities and bike wash and retail outlets as well as enjoy the recently revamped clubhouse’s diverse facilities. The 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at Karkloof Country Club on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June. Saturday's 21km, 10km and 5km trail running races start at 07h00, 07h30 and 08h00 respectively while the STIHL Karkloof Enduro gets underway at 12h00. Sunday's programme includes 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km mountain bikes events with racing starting at 07h30. More information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.
  11. The feast of trail adventure that the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Adventure’s diverse programme offers will attract thousands of mountain bikers and trail runners to the KZN Midlands this weekend. Click here to view the article
  12. KwaZulu-Natal’s strong interest in Enduro mountain biking is reflected in another richly talented men’s and women’s field for this weekend’s STIHL Karkloof Enduro as day one of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club gets underway on Saturday with double defending champ Tiaan Odendaal keen to lead the charge once more. Click here to view the article
  13. Despite his Downhill background, Odendaal has been in sublime form of late in KZN Enduro circles, winning the Sappi Howick Enduro, the third round of the KZN Provincial Enduro Series in Howick and the Pietermaritzburg MTB Festival at Cascades between March and May 2016. Tiaan Odendaal will have the rare opportunity to challenge for three consecutive STIHL Karkloof Enduro titles at this weekend's 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The cherry on the top came for the 22 year-old in Lesotho though when he raced to victory at the African Continental Championships at AfriSki Resort against another strong field. “I used to just ride Enduro as really good training for my Downhill racing but things are going quite well for me in Enduro at the moment and it is such a cool sport that I am considering taking it up full time on top of Downhill,” said Odendaal.“I haven’t thought too much about the possibly of pushing for my third Karkloof Enduro title in a row ahead of Saturday’s race but last year there was a bit of a timing issue that meant I shared the title and so this year I definitely want to try push and see if I can get a big gap just to be safe,” he added. While having competed in the Karkloof regularly throughout his career, Odendaal is not a regular visitor to the region, and the change in location of the event’s course has also added a new element of the unknown to Saturday’s mix. “Surprisingly I don’t actually get to ride in the Karkloof all that often,” the defending champ ironically explained while enjoying a 30km outing through the area. “From what I can see, Hylton (Turvey) has done a really great job with the track once again though! “With the drought, it is super dry though and I’m sure it will be pretty loose come Saturday.” Despite starting as pre-race favourite, Odendaal will have his hands full as many of the province’s regular top performers set to tackle the challenge as well. Double defending champ, Kim Westbrook will be pushed by a strong women's field for this year's STIHL Karkloof Enduro spoils at this weekend's 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media All of Hilton Frost (PYGA Industries), Craig Paul, David Hogan, Andre Pretorius, Jedson Tooms (ROAG Racing), Heiko Redecker, Shane Martin and Sharjah Jonsson have confirmed their participation already while the likes of Tim Bentley and Travis Browning – amongst others – are not unknown to submit an eleventh hour entry. “There is a strong field at most Enduro events in KZN, especially Karkloof, so I’m sure all the usual suspects will be there again this year,” said Odendaal. “I’m pretty happy with how I’m feeling though so hopefully I can get the win on Saturday.”On the women’s front, Kim Westbrook – also double STIHL Karkloof Enduro defending champion – has been the province’s form Enduro competitor however as the sport’s popularity continues to grow amongst the province’s female riders, the brave bubbly blonde flyer is starting to be challenged for top honours regularly. While Sappi Howick Enduro winner, Charné Dreyer will miss the contest due to illness, young Sabine Thies (Greg Minnaar Cycles) – who won the recent Pietermaritzburg MTB Festival – and regular podium contender Kathryn Fourie are confirmed for Saturday’s tussle while Tamryn Taylor, Michele Reynolds, Tamika Haw and Nadine Nunes add further depth to the bout. The 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at Karkloof Country Club on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June. The event offers 21km, 10km and 5km trail running races, 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km mountain bikes events as well as an Enduro. Entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za while more information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.
  14. Having confirmed his participation sometime back, Concept Cyclery Ballito powered by Burry Stander’s Jessop will look to use the event to get his 2016 marathon season underway while Davids and Hatherly will look to shake off their respective recent XCO disappointments with a strong showing at the prestigious 60km outing. Trek-supported Brendon Davids is hoping to 'blow off some steam' at Sunday's 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon, the feature race of this weekend's 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival at Karkloof Country Club, as he looks to repeat his 2013 victory at the race. Hayden Brown/ Gameplan Media “The PE national was really disappointing for me so it would be nice to go to Karkloof this weekend and blow off some steam!” confirmed Davids. “Since PE I’ve put in a really big block of training as I prepare to go over to Europe for a bit, so I’m going to have ride quite a smart race this weekend if I’m going to be in the mix.” Both the race and the region are familiar territory for Davids, now competing as a Trek supported rider, and he is eager to use his local knowledge and previous good performances to his advantage. “I ride in the area quite often and Karkloof is a race I have always enjoyed and done relatively well at before. “I won there in 2013 in my first outing at Karkloof so I’d obviously like to repeat that again this year, especially having also led the race in 2014 before I suffered a double puncture and then missed last year’s race because I was competing at African Continental Champs in Rwanda. ““It has been quite tough being on my own now so a result at Karkloof would be a welcome one!” said Davids. “That said though, while I’m going there to race hard, I’m also going to enjoy the trails and being out on my bike again.” Having raced to 53rd and 32nd position at the German and French legs of the UCI MTB World Cup respectively in recent weeks, Kargo Pro Cycling Team’s Hatherly jets back into the country needing to shake off the effects of both the jetlag and health issues of his recent travels quickly if he is to join Davids and Jessop at the sharp end of the field and challenge for this year’s crown. The race’s title is one that has evaded young Hatherly in recent years, despite the XCO flyer having led the race for much of the first 40km in 2015, ultimately finishing sixth however – like Davids – his recent frustration may just provide the motivation he needs to rectify that this time around. “We’re hoping for a solid set of results across the board,” explained Hatherly’s Kargo Pro Cycling Team manager, Shaun Peschl. “Hopefully Alan’s better after being a bit sick last week before the World Cup in France.” The 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at Karkloof Country Club on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June. The event offers 21km, 10km and 5km trail running races, 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km mountain bikes events as well as an Enduro. Entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za while more information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.
  15. Last minute entries by cross country stars Brendon Davids and Alan Hatherly for Sunday’s 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon, the feature race of this weekend’s 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival which takes place at Karkloof Country Club, is set to produce an interesting tussle between the duo and fellow XCO ace, Julian Jessop. Click here to view the article
  16. Victories in 2013 and 2015 are results the dynamic competitor holds in high regard and hopes her strong form in various other endurance events will stand her in good stead come this year’s Karkloof clash. Merchants' Jeannie Dreyer is looking forward to a rare chance to challenge for a third 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon crown when the feature race of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place on Sunday, 5 June. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “There is always great hype in the weeks leading up to Karkloof and such a great field turns up every year so it’s definitely one of the calendar’s great races,” says Dreyer. “I’m a little guilty of not actually riding the Karkloof trails often enough, even though they’re right on our doorstep, but that does also mean that it’s always something new and exciting when I do get to give them a go so I’m looking forward to this year’s Karkloof Classic,” she adds. The vastly experienced all-round athlete recently completed the four day 4 Islands MTB Race in Croatia in April with her husband, Martin, before earning a hard-fought, determined victory in the Expedition Africa adventure race despite suffering a badly rolled ankle. “I’ve been really busy recently and just seem to be going form event to event without any downtime in between at all, or much training for that matter,” laughs Dreyer. “The racing is exactly what gets me going though, it’s what I love and the ankle shouldn’t affect me too much on the bike at all; we’ll just have to see how the legs respond though,” she adds. Despite having shifted her focus away from the local KZN marathon circuit in recent months, Dreyer is still keen to put in a strong showing at this year’s Sappi Karkloof contest with a recent partnership with Merchants – a Dimension Data company – providing an added source of motivation. “It was great to sign with Merchants alongside John Ntuli a couple of months ago. “With everything that’s been going on though, Karkloof will in fact be my first solo mountain bike race for them so it would be great to get things going on a positive note. “It would obviously be lekker to win again but I’ll have to hold thumbs and cross fingers to do that as I’m sure there are going to be some really hot ladies cyclists at Karkloof! “If Candice Neethling – who grew up in the area – is there, together with Kargo’s Frankie du Toit and Hayley Smith, it will be great; the stronger the ladies field the better!” The 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at Karkloof Country Club on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June. The event offers 21km, 10km and 5km trail running races, 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km mountain bikes events as well as an Enduro. Entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za while more information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.
  17. Two-time 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon winner, Jeannie Dreyer is looking forward to enjoying the region’s renowned trails as well as the chance to challenge for a rare third race crown when the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at the Karkloof Country Club on 4 and 5 June. Click here to view the article
  18. Fast emerging dual mountain biking star Julian Jessop will look to kick start his 2016 marathon season with a strong showing at Sunday, 5 June’s 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon, the feature race of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival, having spent much of the first half of the year focusing on the cross country circuit. Click here to view the article
  19. After two titanic tussles with TIB Insurance’s Andrew Hill in 2014 and 2015 which saw the young Concept Cyclery Ballito powered by Burry Stander athlete finish third and fourth overall, Jessop is eager to continue mixing it up at the front comes this year’s race. Following some strong performances over the past few years, Concept Cyclery Ballito powered by Burry Stander athlete Julian Jessop hopes to kick start his marathon season with a strong performance in the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon at the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday 5 June. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “The Karkloof Classic is always such a great race and one of the most prestigious events in KZN so it’s definitely one you want to do well at,” says Jessop. “I will look to do my absolute best, as I always do, at this year’s race and just keep focusing on the controllables rather than the uncontrollable such as my final position,” he adds. While hesitant to predict an outcome of this year’s clash, Jessop brings good form into the race on the back of a strong showing at the recent leg of the STIHL SA XCO Cup Series where he finished fourth behind the country’s lead trio in the cross country discipline, James Reid (Team Spur), Alan Hatherly (Kargo Pro MTB Team) and Philip Buys (SCOTT LCB Factory Racing). “Things have been going well for me on the cross country front but as that season starts to come to a close, I’ll look to do more marathons. “Karkloof is the weekend before the final Cup Series national and then there’s just SA Cross Country Champs left after that so I’d definitely say this is the start of my marathon season.” Despite the differing demands of the two disciplines, Jessop is confident he can make the transition in time for him to be competitive at this year’s Sappi Karkloof Marathon. “I don’t really change too much in my training regardless of whether I’m preparing for cross country or marathon; instead I’ll just look to add a few longer rides on the weekend in order for me to get used to that extra hour of racing a 60km event like Karkloof requires. “Karkloof does have some of the best single track around plus the three major climbs are all followed by a big descent and so my cross country skills will definitely be to my advantage on those downhills,” says Jessop. While Jessop’s career remains in its infancy, the young star has already shown what he is capable of at the renowned KZN Midlands event while having also proven he has what it take to mix it up with some of the sport’s top senior competitors and will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with again in 2016. The 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at Karkloof Country Club on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June. The event offers 21km, 10km and 5km trail running races, 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km mountain bikes events as well as an Enduro. Entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za while more information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.
  20. Upgrades to the Karkloof Country Club’s clubhouse and a world class race village will offer participants of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival hospitality and comfort comparable to that of the country’s top stage races when the iconic event’s action unfolds on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June. Click here to view the article
  21. Renowned for its spectacular trails through the Karkloof region and breath-taking KZN Midlands scenery, the winter carnival of mountain biking and trail running adventure proudly boasts world class organization and levels of luxury off the trails as well. “Riders don’t come back to the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival year after year because of the incredible mountain biking – and now trail running – experience alone,” explains Impi Concept Events’ Stu Berry. “The all-round organisation and comfort of the event is also vital to the positive experience participants and their supporters enjoy during their time with us.” “In preparation for this year’s Sappi Karkloof Classic, there have been significant upgrades to the clubhouse, the showers have been done up really nicely and there is now a permanent coffee shop as well,” he adds. While the Club’s premier event sees thousands flock to the Karkloof region annually, a significant number of cyclists, runners, walkers and nature lovers visit the club on a more regular basis, with the recent upgrades adding to their Karkloof experience as well. “It is great to see the committee investing a huge amount of the profits generated by the Sappi Karkloof Classic back into the local MTB and trail communities via the Club’s facilities. “The upgrades won’t only benefit the riders and runners of the Sappi Karkloof Classic but the many outdoors enthusiasts who visit the Club year-round as well,” says Berry. Apart from the permanent upgrades, Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival goers can also look forward to enjoying the many elements of the event’s comprehensive race village. “We have various vendors selling a variety of delicious food and drinks; from Maddison Bakery’s pizzas to the falafel guy and, of course, plenty of great hot coffee! “The event’s great sense of community spirit also extends to the Howick-uMngeni Lions Club and the Cubs and Scouts. “The Howick-uMngeni Lions Club support some of their programmes and projects through the sale of bacon and eggs rolls and boerewors rolls while the Cubs and Scouts’ pancakes sales help them raise much needed funds for training and tours.” A wide variety of delicious food and drinks, such as Maddison Bakery's pizzas and other delights, offer riders and spectators of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival plenty of refreshment options. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Despite many frequenting the plethora of bed and breakfasts in the area, many out-of-towners embrace the Club’s hospitality wholeheartedly as they turn the pristine location into a temporary camp site while the race-specific infrastructure adds to general atmosphere of the event as well.“We get between 80 and 100 campers utilising the camping facilities we offer each year so it is clearly still a popular option, especially for those who travel from outside of KZN. “We also invest significantly in the staff/finish area of the event with the massive start/finish archway and chute adding to riders’ sense of being part of an event of the size of the Sappi Karkloof Classic. “The check-in process is also made very easy due to the free-flowing, user-friendly batch pounds and then once participants have finished, everyone loves collecting their ice-cold aQuellé, their finishers medal and having their photo taken as they go over the photographers ramps! “All these little aspects come together and add tremendously to participants’ overall Karkloof experience and are a major reason behind the success the event has enjoyed for such a long period of time,” says Berry. The 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at Karkloof Country Club on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June. The event offers 21km, 10km and 5km trail running races, 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km mountain bikes events as well as an Enduro. Entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za while more information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.
  22. A new name, a new slot on the calendar and a new programme of events, together with the same great mountain biking action, await participants of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Having shifted slightly deeper into winter from its former slot in early May, the event’s organisers have done away with the Karkloof Night Race that previously took place come nightfall on the Friday. Instead, organisers are enthusiastic that the launch of three trail running events on the Saturday morning will extend the reach of the event and has paved the way for the name change with the entire weekend now proudly known as the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival. “The change in date takes us away from sani2c and joBerg2c a little more, which will hopefully enable a few more participants of those two races to come and enjoy our world class event as well,” explained Race Director, Andrew Nicholson. “The introduction of the trail running events is also really exciting for us as we get to bring a fresh market to our festival and hopefully the runners experience just what a fantastic weekend the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival really is,” he added. The Karkloof region and its trails are once again set to play host to the 2016 edition of the ever-popular Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on 4 & 5 June. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Nicholson also confirmed that despite the rise in costs and the tough current economic climate that everyone continues to feel the pinch of in their pocket, the event has avoided an increase in entry fees altogether. “We’re thrilled that, with the help of our title sponsors, Sappi, there won’t be any increase in entry fees at all from 2015’s prices. “We believe we offer tremendous value for money and to be able to do so once again this year but at last year’s prices really is something we’re very proud of! Participants of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival are readying themselves for more spectacular views, such as that of the Howick Falls, when they tackle this year's mountain bike and trail running events on 4 and 5 June. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media With the hugely popular Sappi Karkloof Enduro getting underway at 12h00 on 3 June, Saturday morning provides the perfect opportunity for the 21km, 10km and 5km trail runners to enjoy their slice of the festival’s trail adventure while the weekend’s draw card – the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon – and the rest of the more traditional MTB events take place on Sunday.“With the vast platform that the spectacular Karkloof region and its trails offer us, we’ve got quite a few new trails lined up for this year’s mountain bike races on the Sunday,” said Nicholson. “There are plenty new additions that our 60km participants can look forward to while we’ve got an exciting, almost entirely new route for our 40km riders!” The 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at Karkloof Country Club on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June. The event offers 21km, 10km and 5km trail running races, 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km mountain bikes events as well as an Enduro. Entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za while more information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.
  23. A new name, slot on the calendar and programme of events but the same value for money entry fees, great mountain biking action and world class trails await participants of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival which takes place at Karkloof Country Club on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June. Click here to view the article
  24. Cool little vid that popped up on my news feed. Some of the numbers involved with the Karkloof Classic from 2013 - 2015
  25. For 21 years the Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival has provided riders with exhilarating mountain bike track with varying elements that appeal to all riders and whilst previous years have been successful, course designer and builder Hylton Turvey continues to revamp, reshape and reinvent the courses at the Karkloof MTB Club and the 2015 three-day, 8-10 May, festival will be no different. Click here to view the article
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