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Found 12 results

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. Coming off a good block on racing in KwaZulu-Natal it was the Gauteng resident Lill who dominated the race from start to finish and he was happy with his performance even though he has been battling with a bit of illness over the past few days. “I have been battling a chest infection for the last couple of days but to get the weekend off to a winning start is good,” a satisfied Darren Lill mentioned. “I have been riding a lot in KZN preparing for the Nedbank sani2c but the sickness set me back a bit however I felt a lot better than I thought I would tonight.” It was first blood to Darren Lill at the Peri Night Race on Friday night after he dominated the rest of the field as he prepares for the Sappi 60km Marathon on Sunday at the Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival. // Photo credit: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. Lilli is not too familiar with the concept of racing at night and the 2014 Sappi Karkloof 60km Marathon runner-up enjoyed the experience as he lead the race from the gun and never looked back as he beat Tooms comfortably in the end. “Last year I did the 361 Challenge where you ride through the night but otherwise I don’t have any experience with riding at night and it was a really cool experience for me and I really enjoyed it tonight! “It is a completely different feeling riding at night and the atmosphere around the race is completely different but it was something that I really enjoyed! The next focus for Lill is the 60km Marathon on Sunday and following his second place in 2014 he hopes that he will be able to go one better however he has kept his cards close to his chest in terms of his challenge for the title. “It would obviously be great to go one better than last year and get the win but it will be a tough race and we will just have to see what happens on the day!” a cautious Lill added. The ladies race was dominated by the young Hearder who was also in dominant form as she powered away from the rest of the ladies to claim the win with 2014 champion Kim Westbrook coming in seven minutes behind the winner. Unlike her male counterpart Hearder is familiar with the concept of riding in the dark. “I do a lot of riding in the dark because I can only train in the evenings so I ride at night a few times a week so I was quite comfortable out there,” she said. Hearder was in fine form and the youngster was very happy with the way the race panned out and the smile on her face at the end of the race was a testament to how she felt after crossing the line first in the woman’s race. Zurika Wright rode her way into the top five in the women's race at the 2015 Peri Night Race on Friday that kick starts the Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival that culminates in the iconic 60km Sappi Marathon on Sunday. // Photo credit: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. “I am just really stoked about getting the win tonight!” she beamed. “It got a little bit bumpy out there but the track was so much fun and it is a good way for me to start the weekend! “I am hoping for a podium in the 60km Marathon on Sunday but there are going to be so many strong riders there that I am going to have to ride really well but I am really looking forward to the challenge!” Hearder added. The STIHL Enduro is the highlight of the action on Saturday and the action gets underway at 12pm. Riders and spectators can follow news and developments via the event’s Facebook page (Karkloof Mountain Bike Club) or on Twitter (@KarkloofMTB) while more information can also be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za and entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za. SUMMARY OF RESULTS – SAPPI KARKLOOF MTB FESTIVAL PERI NIGHT RACE Men 1.Darren Lill 01:01.16 2.Jedson Tooms 01:03.21 3.Leeroy Emslie 01:05.43 4.Klaas Meintjies 01:06.03 5.Frederick Rossouw 01:06.42 Women 1.Chriestie-Liegh Hearder 01:16.29 2.Kim Westbrook 01:23.57 3.Kathryn Fourie 01:25.11 4.Renée Mitchell 01:28.22 5.Zurika Wright 01:33.32
  10. Crisp yet favourable autumn conditions greeted the riders who took on the Peri Night Race at the 2015 Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival and it was the inform Darren Lill who was the strongest rider as he claimed the overall victory ahead of an impressive Jedson Tooms whilst it was the young Chriestie-Leigh Hearder who was the fastest woman over the 20km course on Friday night at the Karkloof Country Club. Click here to view the article
  11. The popular Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival turns 21 this weekend and gets underway at the Karkloof Country Club on Friday evening with 20km Karkloof Night Race, setting the tone for an action-packed mountain biking weekend in the region. Click here to view the article
  12. Darren Lill will be hoping to add the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon title to his list of successes while temporarily basing himself in KZN when he heads to this weekend's Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival. // Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. Thousands of cycling enthusiasts are expected to head for the area for their share of the weekend-long festival on some of the country’s top MTB trails, entrenching its status as a premier national mountain biking festival. Sunday’s 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon is the pinnacle event of the three day festival and will once again attract some of the sport’s biggest names as they go in search of the coveted winner’s trophy while another big field of less serious riders will tackle the 40km aQuellé Half Marathon, 20km aQuellé Family Ride and 10km aQuellé Kids Ride. USN/Hi-Tec's Jeannie Dreyer has won the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon previously and is pre-race favourite to add the 2015 title to her 2013 success when she heads to the 2015 Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival this weekend. // Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. Amongst the leading men Biogen’s former race winner Max Knox, in-form Kargo Pro MTB youngster Alan Hatherly, TIB Insurance’s Andrew Hill, 2014 third place finisher Julian Jessop of Concept Cyclery Ballito - Specialized SA and temporary KwaZulu-Natal resident Darren Lill will all fancy their chances of victory. The women’s clash sees USN/Hi-Tec’s Jeannie Dreyer take to the start line as firm favourite with the 2013 race winner and 2014 runner-up eager to add another title to her CV. PYGA Industries' Hilton Frost is firmly focused on clinching victory in the STIHL Karkloof Enduro which takes place on Saturday and forms part of the action-packed 2015 Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival programme. // Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. Dreyer’s rivals are likely to come in the form of Jowett Cycles’ Natalie Bergstrom while Time Freight eTeam youngster Frankie du Toit will also be hoping for a strong showing. As much as Sunday will be focused on cycling enthusiasts in the family having a good time out of the various trails of the day’s four events, it will also be a day of appreciation and thanks to everyone’s special woman in their life – their mom. In celebration of Mother’s Day, event title sponsors Sappi will once again offer complimentary pedicures to all women in attendance of Sunday’s programme, regardless of whether they have taken part in one of the festival’s races or not. Kim Westbrook did the 20km Karkloof Night Race and STIHL Karkloof Enduro double in 2014 and the energetic young cyclist will hope she can repeat the feat at this year's Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival this weekend. // Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. The celebration won't stop there though as Friday's night race sees Michal du Plessis turn 17 years-old, Saturday's enduro signals Gavin Drysdale's 39th birthday while Anton Jasen van Vuuren and Paul van Niekerk will both turn 42 during their respective 20km and 40km outings on Sunday. Sandwiched in between the unique experience that Friday’s evening’s night race brings and the world class events of Sunday’s programme, Saturday’s STIHL Karkloof Enduro has those with a slightly stronger thirst for adventure drooling in anticipation. Hilton Frost was recently crowned KZN Enduro Series champion and the PYGA Industries rider will be hoping to add the coveted Karkloof crown to his collection this weekend. He will however have to overcome the stiff challenge from the likes of national downhill talent Tiaan Odendaal, Jedson Tooms and Craig Paul along the way. Defending champ Frederick Rossouw is looking forward to giving it his all in Friday evening's 20km Karkloof Night Race before the Sappi rider turns his attention towards Sunday's 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon, the premier event of this weekend's Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival. // Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media. With participants set to travel from far and wide – many from as far as Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga, North West, Western Cape and even abroad – the event also plays a vital role in the region’s economy with scores set to spend a night or two in the local bed and breakfasts, fill the seats of the local cafes, coffee shops and restaurants while also exploring the various activities of the popular Midlands Meander. The 20km Karkloof Night Race gets underway on Friday 8 May at 18h00 while the STIHL Karkloof Enduro takes place at 12h00 on Saturday 9 May. Sunday 10 May’s busy programme commences at 07h30 with the 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon and is rounded out by the 10km aQuellé Kids Race which starts at 10h00. Riders and spectators can follow news and developments via the event’s Facebook page (Karkloof Mountain Bike Club) or on Twitter (@KarkloofMTB) while more information can also be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za and entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za.
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