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  1. Waterpoints were manned and womanned by volunteers from Jan Kriel School and BMT bike shop who provided technical support. En route riders did not have this luxury and had to fend for themselves when the going got tough and their bikes had a technical. In the end it was Frans Claes and Esther Suss who took overall honors for the 56km route. Belgium’s Claes took victory in 2:15:58, beating Switzerland’s Konny Looser by exactly three minutes with Sebastian Stark following them home in third with a time of 2:21:51. Switzerland’s Ester Suss won the women’s race in 2:33:46, beating compatriot Ariane Luthi by less than a minute. Luthi suffered from a crash out on route, but conceded that Suss was the better climber on the day and that the time she lost would not have made a significant difference to the end result. Sweden’s Jennie Stenerhag rounded out the podium. To stamp their authority on day 1, Claes and Suss also took the King of the Hill and Queen of the Hill honours with times of 1:46 and 2:22 respectively. Alconray Botha (2:00:14) and Karin van Niekerk (2:10:22) were the respective winners in the 41km race, both coming in with solid gaps to the second-place finishers. The major difference for us this year is the trails are a lot more settled after the fire we had in 2016. We had a lot of issues with the old burned trees coming down periodically, but it's great to see the veldt coming back the way it did. With the wind on Friday night it was a bit challenging and we had to clear some trees early Saturday morning. It was a hot day, but at least not as hot as the week had been and riders enjoyed the route and cooler conditions. Meurant Botha Day 2 saw the much-reported cold front and rain rolling in. Early morning drizzle made way for a good downpour just as riders set off for the long route. Route director, Meurant Botha radioed in that some trees had fallen and that they had to make a plan to reroute riders in some sections to avoid the hazards. While the rain stopped at the start / finish line, conditions worsened in the mountains and the call was made for the Never Say Neverending Again section to be cut from the long route, resulting in all riders completing the 40km route. Today with the rain we had some new challenges with a few crashes early on. The idea with the Fairtree Contour is to have a fun trail riding experience and we deemed it not necessary to take the guys up our favourite trail up Neverending as it was raining heavily with a lot of fog up there and with riders already soaking wet it would not have added to the experience. 40k's out here with over 20k’s of single track is still a great day out. Meurant Botha This did not distract from the racing and the first three men home all finished within 2 seconds of each other in a sprint to the finish line. CP van Wyk took the honours from Sebastian Stark and Frans Claes. Riders from the BMT Fairtree Academy participated on both days with Siyabulela Tutu coming home first in the long distance and Musa Mtiki on the shorter route. Started in 2015, the goal of the Academy has been to encourage Kayamandi residents to participate in sport, get outdoors and challenge themselves and has proved itself successful with several up and coming stars coming through its ranks. In the ladies category, it was Jennie Stenerhag who dominated the field with a strong ride to lead Ester Suss home by 1 minute and 14 seconds, who in turn was 1 minute and 40 seconds ahead of South Africa’s Katie Lennard. Jennie’s strong showing on Day 2 was not enough to close the gap enough to Ester Suss to snatch overall Behind them, the riding was as fierce as it was fun with riders enjoying some great single track through the Stellenbosch vineyards. Alconray Botha (2:15:08) and Karin van Niekerk (2:32:15) both continued their strong short route form from day one with comprehensive stage victories on day 2. I took it easier today with the wet conditions. It was my first time doing the event and it was great and enjoyed two days of great riding. Alconray Botha, Winner of the men’s shorter route Long route winners Short route winners Meurant has built some great trails here. And we partnered with Dirtopia to help improve the trail system in the Simonsberg Conservancy area and we thoroughly enjoyed these two days and its been amazing riding for us as mountain bikers. The event provides a great option of one or two days, the timing is good in terms of preparation for the ABSA Cape Epic and it’s also doable for riders who just want to get out in Stellenbosch and surrounding areas and enjoy some of the best trails you can find in the Western Cape. Steve Brown, Fairtree Capital With the rain making for muddy conditions riders were all too happy to make use of the free bike wash and grab a warm cup of coffee in the chill area. For complete results visit www.trailtag.co.za. For those who would like to enter for next weekend’s trail run please visit www.fairtreecontour.co.za Stay in touch on social media by following: Facebook: https://www.facebook...onsbergcontour/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dirtopia Twitter: https://twitter.com/fairtreecontour
  2. Registration starts on Friday 1 Feb, 12h00 – 19h00 at the Dirtopia Trail Centre & Bikeshop with Dirtopia Café being open until 7pm with food & drinks and entrants will get their event goodies upon registration. On event days you will be treated to a breakfast snack & coffee every morning before heading out to participate in the 40km or 60km race. We’ve kept things flexible by giving you the choice of distance each day. If you’d like to shoot for a prize you will have to compete on the full, long routes on both days. Route Profiles At the start, you will be led out through a short neutral zone by race director Meurant Botha from 7h15 every day. The well-stocked refreshment stations have food, snacks and cold drinks. There will be technical zones at the water points and marshals provided by Jan Kriel school as a fundraiser.Day 1 – Route Description: The day remains consistent with our goal of having an easier day than Day 2 with approx. 12km of single track. Various sections of singletrack and the blue route on Delvera with boardwalks offer non-technical alternative to some of the gnarly sections and rock gardens. Those who enjoy more technical riding are welcome to tame the rougher sections on the route. As can be seen from the profiles there are many undulations, but the elevations are less severe. Day 1: Long Route Distance: 55km, Elevation: 1380m Insert route profile image Day 1: Short Route Distance: 42km, Elevation: 960m Insert route profile image Each participant of the two-day stage race will receive the following: Goodies at registration, including bottle wine Morning coffee, breakfast snack and daily lunch buffet Medal, BOS drink & Zebonkey beer Refreshment stations on route stocked with snacks and energy drinks & water. Bike Wash & Lube Bike Park (overnight if wanted) Live Timing As always there will be shaded area to relax after your ride, with showers, a bike park, bike wash & lube station and a massage service on offer. There will also be a kiddies entertainment area for supporters to join, with the option to join for lunch as well by buying a food ticket. Great coffee and the ice cold beers will be served on the day. Live musical entertainment on the Sunday after the days racing. Enter here: https://www.dirtpass.co.za or visit https://www.fairtreecontour.co.za/ for more info.You can also contact Dirtopia at info@fairtreecontour.co.za or the Trail Centre on Delvera on (021) 884 4752.
  3. Don’t forget to book your limited edition event t-shirt with your entry to show your support for the Simonsberg Conserve and the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Mountain Bike event. The event will start and finish on Delvera Farm just outside Stellenbosch farm where riders runners will be treated to breakfast the morning before the activities start and lunch once you’ve crossed the finish line. Each participant will receive a goody bag and coffee, breakfast snack and daily lunch buffet. Good refreshment stations will be fully stocked with cold drinks and a wide range of savoury snacks and fruit. Each participant of the two-day stage race will receive the following: ● Goody bag ● Morning coffee, breakfast snack and daily lunch buffet ● Medal & BOS drink ● Refreshment stations on route stocked with snacks and energy drinks & water. ● Bike Wash & Lube ● Bike Park (overnight if wanted) ● Live Timing As always there will be a wonderful area to relax after their ride, with showers, a bike park, bike wash & lube station and a massage service on offer. There will also be a kiddies entertainment area with the option for supporters to join for lunch by buying a food ticket. And yes, great coffee and the best beers will be served on the day. Enter here:https://www.dirtpass.co.za/events or visit https://www.fairtreecontour.co.za/ for more info. You can also contact Dirtopia at info@fairtreecontour.co.za or the Trail Centre on Delvera on (021) 884 4752. To stay in touch on social media follow or like: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simonsbergcontour/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dirtopia Twitter: https://twitter.com/fairtreecontour
  4. Dirtopia has spent the last 5 years developing new routes on Delheim, Muratie, Warwick and Uitkyk wine estates. These trails are now operated in partnership with the landowners with the Greater Simonsberg Conservancy being the primary beneficiary. The conservancy represents more than 20 farms around the mountain and is currently focused on a multi-million rand alien clearing project to return large tracts of the mountain to fynbos and renosterveld. There is no better time to be out in the winelands as harvest season will be in full swing in surrounding vineyards. The MTB two-day event will take place on 2 & 3 Feb 2019 with a 60km and 40km route on offer for both Saturday and Sunday, with the two day’s riding taking place on separate trails on the vast network. Do both days, mix it up or do only one day - your choice! The event will start and finish on Delvera Wine farm where riders and runners will be treated to breakfast the morning before the activities start and lunch once you’ve crossed the finish line. As always there will be a wonderful area to relax after their ride, with showers, a bike park, bike wash & lube station and a massage service on offer. There will also be a kiddies entertainment area with the option for supporters to join for lunch by buying a food ticket. And yes, great coffee and the best beers will be served on the day. Each participant will receive a goody bag and coffee, breakfast snack and daily lunch buffet. Good refreshment stations will be fully stocked with cold drinks and a wide range of savoury snacks and fruit. The Fairtree Contour events have been created to continue the development of routes and expose the incredible network of single-track trails on the Simonsberg Mountain. With over 30km of mountain singletrack, connecting more than 10 wine estates, the region is a hot spot for mountain bike trail riders. Parts of the route will also be used in the 2019 ABSA Cape Epic Stage 6. Early bird entries have already opened. Enter before 31 December 2018 to qualify for the discounted fees that the exact same fees as 2018 with full cost fees coming into effect on 1 Jan 2019. Don’t forget to book your limited edition event t-shirt with your entry to show your support for the Simonsberg Conserve and the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Trail run. For those who’d like to run out tight hamstrings, there is a trail running event the following weekend. More info here. Each participant of the two-day stage race will receive the following: Goody bag Morning coffee, breakfast snack and daily lunch buffet Medal & BOS drink Refreshment stations on route stocked with snacks and energy drinks & water. Bike Wash & Lube Bike Park (overnight if wanted) Live Timing Enter here: https://www.dirtpass.co.za/events More info: http://www.fairtreecontour.co.za/ Go to www.fairtreecontour.co.za and for more info, contact Dirtopia at info@fairtreecontour.co.za or the Trail Centre on Delvera at Tel:021 884 4752. To stay in touch on social media, follow or like: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simonsbergcontour/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dirtopia Twitter: https://twitter.com/fairtreecontour
  5. Former ABSA Cape Epic winner, Czech and European marathon champion, Kristian Hynek won the 60km men’s race in 2:16:52, with multiple USA champion Jeremiah Bishop second in 2:17:05 and three time World Marathon Champion, Alban Lakata third in 2:17:11. Czech and European marathon champion, Kristian Hynek (middle) won the 60km men's race with Jeremiah Bishop (right) second and Alban Lakata (right) third. Erik Kleinhans, lead from the start and clinched the King of the Mountain title as the fastest man on the 2km time trial uphill section about 30km into the race. Unfortunately, a puncture caused him to lose a lot of time and hampered his chances of a podium win. Erik Kleinhans was crowned King of the Mountains. Ariane Luthi took convincing line honours in the ladies race in a time of 2:34:14 and applauded race organisers for a more challenging single track route with great climbing sections. Day 1 ladies winner Ariane Luthi Jennie Stenerhag who won the Queen of the Mountain title finished second in 2:39:22 with ABSA Cape Epic teammate Esther Suss in third. Jennie Stenerhag and Esther Suss. The 40km men’s race was won by Durbanville youngster, Juan Louw in 1:52:50 with Guy de Cafmeyer in 1:57:25 first veteran and second overall and Morne van Greunen third in 1:58:53. In the 40km ladies’ race it was Nikki Biesheuvel first in 2:20:26 with Karla Fletcher second in 2:23:16 and Robyn Tully third. According to Fairtree Capital, the company is proud to be associated with such a world class event that saw top class international riders bracing the podium today. The overall winners will be announced following tomorrow’s second stage of the Fairtree Contour Simonsberg Stage Race. For complete results visit www.trailtag.co.za and find Sunday’s race information on www.fairtreecontour.co.za
  6. Registration start on Friday 2 Feb at Dirtopia Trail Centre & Bikeshop with Dirtopia Café being open until 7pm with live music, food & drinks. At registration, riders get an event sweatband, a bottle of wine and Squirt samples. Riders are treated to a breakfast snack & coffee every morning before heading on the 40km or 60km routes. Riders can choose their distance each day, but prize money is on the full long routes on both days. The neutral zone at the start is lead by race director Meurant Botha from 7h15 every day. The well-stocked refreshment stations have food, snacks are supported by BOS. The route on day 1 uses most of the Klapmuts trail network and the long route also get to do new singletrack sections on Uitkyk. Day 2 is a dream for singletrack junkies to Simonsberg with the famous Never Say Never Ending trail being extended. There will be technical zones at the water points and marshals provided by Jan Kriel school as a fundraiser. At the finish line, there is a bike park and bike cleaning service, showers, massage area, beer on tap and lunch is served before prizegiving. Families are welcome to join with free kiddies entertainment and the Café will be open all day. For all the route profiles, descriptions, info and to enter visit www.fairtreecontour.co.za.
  7. Entries will be limited to 350 riders on each of the 40km and 60km distance options every day to ensure a free-flowing event across an extended singletrack route. Riders that are keen to participate have until Wednesday, 31 January to enter online as no entries will be taken on race day. According to race director and route developer, Meurant Botha of Dirtopia the first day of the two-day event will offer extensive singletrack riding out around Klapmutskop heading towards the Simondium area. While the route offers ample opportunity for riders to spread out before entering the first singletrack sections of trail, organisers want to offer participants ideal conditions for an amazing experience. “There is simply no way of providing a rewarding singletrack experience when the field gets too big. Most events try and remedy the situation by making the trails smoother and less technical, ultimately detracting from the rider experience. It is also important for the event to invest in the legal, open-7-days-a-week trails, and 2018 will be no exception. Our trails team is hard at work building new sections that will add greatly to the diversity of the first day’s route,” says Botha. Longer route riders can expect around 1500m elevation, while the shorter route option will focus on a fun trail experience with an 800m climb. The route for Day 2 of the stage race will stick to the winning compilation of more than 25 singletrack sections showcasing the best of the Simonsberg Trail system. Long routers head up to the 10km Never Say Neverending Again section. According to Botha, the past two Spring seasons have allowed this section the opportunity to recover from the devastating fires shortly before the inaugural race. “The mountain has recovered spectacularly following the devastating fire in 2016, which damaged 90% of the trails and destroyed a large section of the forest canopy. Participants can look forward to the spectacular scenery on what remains the premier trail in the region,” states Botha. The Fairtree Contour is the only event that uses this particular trail as part of its routing. The fact that numbers are limited and 42km of riding precedes this section of the route, promises an enjoyable experience for all. “Although the elevation at around 1500m for the long route is considerable, the climbing is not intense and very manageable. That said the Long Route is not for inexperienced riders,” stresses Botha. Short routers do most sections apart from Never Say Neverending Again and can expect a punchy, singletrack infested morning. Riders can customise their entry and opt for the following variations: 60km both days (R1100), 40km both days (R900), 40km on Saturday and 60km on Sunday (R950), 60km Saturday and 40km on Sunday (R950), 60km one day only (R550) or 40km one day only (R470). Entry fees include a breakfast snack, coffee, lunch daily, bike park with lube station, on route technical support by BMT, fully stocked refreshment stations, live timing and a medal. A total purse of R40 000 will be up for grabs in 2018 with equal prize money to be awarded for the ladies’ and men’s overall winners over two days. The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour stage race is also proud to announce that the Jan Kriel Institute joins the Simonsberg Conservancy as an official charity partner of the event. This non-profit organisation is responsible for raisings friends and funds for the children of Jan Kriel School – recently announced as the best “Special Needs School” in South Africa. Entries are limited so enter online at www.dirtpass.co.za or www.fairtreecontour.co.za to avoid disappointment. Meal vouchers can also be booked for family members and friends who would like to come and support and wait at the finish carnival with loads of kids’ entertainment. Route profiles and descriptions are available online at www.fairtreecontour.co.za.
  8. A total purse of R40 000 will be up for grabs in 2018 with equal prize money to be awarded for the ladies’ and men’s overall winners over two days. The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB Stage Race was launched in 2016 in collaboration with Fairtree Capital, the Simonsberg Conservancy, local landowners and Stellenbosch event organisers Dirtopia in an effort to expand and showcase the expansive single-track trail network on the Simonsberg Mountain. The inaugural MTB Stage Race – dubbed the Fire Ride – took place shortly after the devastating Simonsberg fire in 2016, which damaged 90% of the trails that were constructed over a 2-year period and also destroyed large sections of the forest canopy. However, route designer and race director, Meurant Botha from Dirtopia, deployed more than 50 trail workers to ensure that a slightly adapted route was ready for race weekend. After the resounding success of the inaugural event, remarkable vegetation regrowth has already taken place and according to Botha, riders can look forward to even more new trails for the 2018 race. “The final route will be launched later this year, but longer route riders can expect daily stages of 55-60km with around 1500m elevation, while the shorter 40km route option will focus on a fun trail experience with an 800m climb. For 2018 we are adding more singletrack to day one, while minor tweaks are on the cards for day two. Sunday’s route boasts over 25km of singletrack and ranks as one of the best stage race days around”, explains Botha. As an Early Bird Special, all entry fees will remain the same as 2016 entry fees and only increase on 1 January 2018. Riders can customise their entry and opt for the following variations: 60km both days (R975), 40km both days (R825), 40km on Saturday and 60km on Sunday (R875), 60km Saturday and 40km on Sunday (R875), 60km one day only (R495) or 40km one day only (R420). The entry fee also includes a goodie bag with a bottle of local wine, coffee and a breakfast snack, buffet lunch as well as daily bike wash and lube service. A secure bike park is set up so riders can leave their bikes on site overnight. With over 40km of mountain singletrack, connecting more than 10 wine estates, the region is considered a hotspot for mountain bike trail riders and also offers a rare glimpse of harvest season in the winelands. Delvera Farm, well-known for its family friendly atmosphere, will be the host venue, where visitors and supporters can relax and enjoy the outdoors if not competing. In 2017, the event was expanded to include the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race Trail Run with starting and finishing points at Delvera Farm just outside Stellenbosch. Entry fees vary according to route selection and whether runners opt for one or both days: 25km both days (R650.00), 12km both days (R500), 12km and 25km respectively (R580.00), 12km on either day (R270) or the 7km fun run on the Sunday (R175). The entry fee includes timing, a goody bag, breakfast, lunch, water points and a medal. Dirtopia has spent the last three years developing new routes on Delheim, Uitkyk and Muratie wine estates. These trails are now operated in partnership with the landowners and the Greater Simonsberg Conservancy is the primary event beneficiary. The conservancy represents more than 20 farms around the mountain and is currently focused on a multi-million rand alien clearing project to return large tracts of the mountain to its original fynbos and renosterveld vegetation. Fairtree added that "We are very proud to be associated with the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour and look forward to welcoming riders for the third edition of the “Fire Ride”. Dirtopia and the landowners have done an incredible job in preparing and maintaining the trails over the past few months. A number of the Fairtree team and Portfolio Managers are excited to be taking part in both the MTB and Trail Run. We can attest that participants are in for two fantastic weekends on the trails.” Enter online at www.dirtopia.co.za to qualify for the Early Bird Special. Entries are capped for both events due to the conservancy status of the route, so enter now to avoid disappointment. Planning your next event? Take a look at our events calendar here.
  9. Huge praise from riders for the routes and general atmosphere at the start finish situated from Delvera farm near Stellenbosch. And the racing was top class too! Team Topeak-Ergon dominated the men category with Ariane Luthi the winner of the ladies race and Queen of the Mountain on day 1. Ester Suss raced hard for second place with a sprint finish on the second stage, but took the Queen of the Mountain on Sunday. And local girl Mari Rabie with a comfortable third spot overall. Jeremiah Bishop took the overall mens win with Christopher Wolhuter in second place and Domnik Buksa taking third overall. The King of the mountain trophies went to Jeremiah on day one and Kristian Hynek on day two. The first stage was a brand-new route and apart from various single-track sections around Klapmutskop, most of the routing was on farm roads and made for fast riding that started on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg between Klapmuts and Simondium. Day2 brought more than 25km of singletrack that included Meurant Botha’s now famous ‘Never say never ending again’ trail that climbs to top of Simonsberg. BOS Sport supported the refreshment stations as hydration and riders were also treated with snacks on route like fruit, meatballs, jellies and even sandwiches. At the finish line facilities included showers, lunch, a free beer, massage servies, kiddies entertainment and on Sunday a trial bike show from Dylan Victor. This coming weekend of 11 & 12 February will see the first Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Trail Run from Delvera with a choice of 12km or 25km routes. A fun 7km route on Sunday for runners that can only participate one day. For full results, visit www.trailtag.co.za and more info on the event visit www.dirtopia.co.za For queries, contact Dirtopia at info@dirtopia.co.za or 021 884 4752
  10. After the devastating fire of January 2016, the inaugural Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB stage race overcame serious challenges and presented riders with a premier winelands riding experience. This past weekend of 4 & 5 February 2017, Fairtree Capital in collaboration with the Simonsberg Conservancy, landowners and Stellenbosch event organisers Dirtopia, presented riders with the 2nd edition of ‘The Fire Ride’ where riders got a chance to experience the recovering Simonsberg Conservancy. Click here to view the article
  11. Starting from Delvera Farm outside Stellenbosch the spectator point for Saturday is at Marianne wine estate and Sunday at Muratie Wine Estate. Prizemoney will be equal for the ladies and men with a total of R35000 for overall long distance winners of the two-day stage race. Other local names to watch would be Mari Rabie and Tania Raats. In the Men’s event team Topeak Ergon are confirmed with Alban Lakata, Kristian Hynek and Jeremiah Bishop leading the charge.With a trophy going to both ladies and men for the King of the mountain competition, it will be interesting to see who walks away with the titles. “I look forward to ride some of the most flowy trails of Stellenbosch around my favourite mountain here!” says Ariane Luthi from Team Spur. Fairtree Capital added: "We are very proud to be associated with the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour and are very excited to welcome riders for the second edition of the ‘Fire Ride’. After recently testing the trails ourselves, we can attest that the Dirtopia team and the landowners have done an incredible job in preparing the trails and that all participants are in for two fantastic days of mountain biking!” Riders that are fortunate enough to be part of the second Fairtree Simonsberg Contour two-day stage race on 4 & 5 February, will have a special experience on the trails, prepared by route designer Meurant Botha of Dirtopia. “The route team has been working hard to finalise the first stage for the 2017 Contour with lots of construction on stage 2.” The aim for day 1 is to create a faster and technically easier day before Sunday’s single-track extravaganza. In a complete redesign of last year’s first stage, riders will head northeast and explore the farms on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg between Klapmuts and Simondium. Riders who participated in the 2016 Absa Cape Epic will catch glimpses of the final day’s Stage 7 as riders cross from Niel Joubert Wines to Delvera. Apart from various single-track sections around Klapmutskop, most of the routing is on farm roads and will make for fast riding. In terms of elevation, long route riders can expect a relatively easy day with around 1280m of climbing according to Google Earth, with a distance of 58km. Short route riders can expect around 950m of climbing for the 40km option. On day 2 the route heads into the trails with the Contour being the only event that utilises the ‘Never Say Neverending Again’ Trail on the Simonsberg, that at 10km is one of the longest continuous pieces of trail in the Western Cape and offers unsurpassed views of the Boland and Peninsula. ‘We have also added more flow in the Knorhoek region of Day 2’s route to eliminate some of the stinging ascents and replacing them with single-track.” With more than 26km of single-track on Day 2, just shy of 50% of the days riding will be on the narrow stuff! Race distance for day two is approximately 57km and elevation between 1500 and 1600m. Due to the high volume of single-track, rider numbers to this race are limited to ensure a premium rider experience. At the finish line, riders can look forward to a free bike wash, craft beer, lunch, massage, warm shower and chill out areas with kiddies entertainment. BOS Sport will support the refreshment stations as hydration partner on the routes and at the finish line for both weekends. Follow the event on Twitter @FairtreeContour or see Facebook page Fairtree Simonsberg Contour. Results will be live on www.trailtag.co.za although provisional on the day. Race information: www.dirtopia.co.za
  12. With names like Esther Suss, Ariane Luthi and Jennie Stenerhag on the start line tomorrow, the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour event is going to be the stage race to watch this coming weekend of 4 & 5 February. Click here to view the article
  13. After the devastating fire of January 2016, the inaugural Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB stage race overcame serious challenges and presented riders with a premier winelands riding experience. In February 2017, Fairtree Capital in collaboration with the Simonsberg Conservancy, landowners and Stellenbosch event organisers Dirtopia, will present riders with the 2nd edition of ‘The Fire Ride’ where riders will get a chance to experience the recovering Simonsberg Conservancy. Click here to view the article
  14. The 2017 event is set to take place on the 4th & 5th of February 2017. The Fairtree Contour has been created to continue the development of mountain biking routes and expose the incredible network of single-track trails on the SImonsberg Mountain. With over 25km of mountain single-track, connecting more than 10 wine estates, the region is set to become a hotspot for mountain bike trail riders. Dirtopia has spent the last 3 years developing new routes on Delheim and Muratie wine estates. These trails are now operated in partnership with the landowners and the Greater Simonsberg Conservancy being the primary beneficiary. The conservancy represents more than 20 farms around the mountain and is currently focused on a multi-million rand alien clearing project to return large tracts of the mountain to fynbos and renosterveld. In terms of routing; route designer Meurant Botha says riders can look forwards to even more new trails for the 2017 race. Primarily, last year’s rerouted stage 1 will be redesigned to incorporate more of the Simonsberg with the emphasis on making it the faster, easier route of the two. Sunday’s Queen Stage returns with new trails to eliminate one or two of the lung-busting vineyard climbs and replace them with flowing trails. The trail team is set to start construction in October, gearing up for a hot summer of building. While the final route will be launched later this year, riders can expect daily stages of 55-60km each with around 1500m of elevation. Botha emphasised that the focus will be on a fun, trail experience, a perfect opener for the stage race season. The daily 40km option allows less fit trail fanatics to enjoy the riding experience. There is no better time to be out in the winelands as harvest season will be in full swing in surrounding vineyards. Each participant will receive the following: Event t-shirt Goody bag Morning coffee, breakfast snack and daily lunch buffet Daily bike wash & lube service BOS Sport will continue as the events hydration partner. Riders can look forwards to enjoying the BOS range at the refreshment stations and finish area. The refreshment stations were a huge hit with the riders in 2016, fully stocked with a wide range of savoury snacks and fruit. Delvera Farm, well known for its family friendly atmosphere, will be the host venue where visitors can expect to kids entertainment, showers, a massage service, craft beer and of course tasting the region's award winning wines. Entries: • Long option (60km/day): R975 in total for both days • Short option (40km/day):R825 in total for both daysClick here to enter www.dirtopia.co.za from 4th October. Entries will be limited to 600 riders. For more info, contact Dirtopia at info@dirtopia.co.za or 021 884 4752
  15. Photo credit: beadlephoto.com Some 90% of the trails constructed over the past two years were damaged and the bulk of the forest canopy lost when fires ravaged the Simonsberg Mountain and adjacent wine estates. For route designer and race director, Meurant Botha from Dirtopia, cancelling the ride was only considered for a brief moment. “I knew that we had our busiest event period looming and that the events could potentially accelerate the rehabilitation process. The damage to the trail system was extensive and an extended rebuild period like Jonkershoek and Tokai would accentuate the loss even further.” Once the call to go ahead with the race was made, the trail team was expanded to over 40 men and trail crews from Welvanpas and Franschhoek joined in for possibly the biggest trail-build effort ever undertaken in South Africa. “Apart from the damaged trails, the incomplete Never Say Never-ending trail project also needed to get finished so the teams had their hands full to get everything ready,” added Botha. Photo credit: beadlephoto.com Organisers were forced to reroute most of day one but managed to get most of the second stage in place in time for the race weekend. The Contour was developed to drive the expansion of the Simonsberg Trails network, currently traversing Delheim, Muratie and Uitkyk wine estates so it was important that the trails would be suitable to host the event. “The second day had more than 19km of singletrack over the 55km distance. Under normal circumstances this would be pretty difficult to manage due to congestion and the potential technical difficulty of the routes. For the race to develop we had to prove that the concept of a trails’ focused event can work and we are very pleased with the outcome of this year’s event.” According to Botha the rebuild would not have been possible without the support and vision of Fairtree Capital, who not only acquired the title sponsorship of the race, but also has signed as annual partner of the trail system. Kobus Nel, CEO from Fairtree Capital said: “As partner of the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour, we were truly inspired by the bravery, dedication and resolve of Simonsberg landowners and Dirtopia in fighting the devastating fire. We were delighted when it was agreed to go ahead as it allowed us to help in the rebuilding process in a very tangible way. The Dirtopia team and the landowners have done an incredible job to organise such a unique event and the ‘Fire Ride’ will stay etched in our memory for years to come. Photo credit: beadlephoto.com “We are very proud to be associated with the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour and we look forward to achieve our joint vision of developing and building sustainable world-class mountain bike routes in and around the Stellenbosch Simonsberg region. Thank you to all those who have supported us through this process – it would not have been possible without you,” Nel concluded. The organisers will shortly look at new trail additions for next year’s event, set for 4 and 5 February 2017. The trails are currently still closed for maintenance; however, the re-launch of trails will be on 2 April. Watch the Dirtopia social media pages for more info. Note that permits are always needed to ride the trails at R50 per person per day or annual permits are available. Contact the Dirtopia Trail Centre at 021 884 4752 should you have any questions.
  16. Launching a new race is never easy, so having to contend with the devastating Simonsberg fire in Stellenbosch just two weeks before the inaugural Fairtree Simonsberg Contour mountain bike stage race certainly tested the organisation to the limit. Click here to view the article
  17. Launching a new race is never easy, so having to contend with the devastating Simonsberg fire just 2 weeks before the race certainly tested the organisation to the limit. 90% of the trails constructed over the past 2 years were damaged and the bulk of the forest canopy lost when fires ravaged the Simonsberg Mountain and adjacent wine estates from 19to 22 January. Click here to view the article
  18. For route designer and race director, Meurant Botha from Dirtopia, cancelling the ride was only considered for a brief moment. “I knew that we had our busiest event period looming and that the events could potentially accelerate the rehabilitation process. The damage to the trail system was extensive and an extended rebuild period like Jonkershoek and Tokai would accentuate the loss even further.” Once the call to go ahead with the race was made, the trail team was expanded to over 40 men and trail crews from Welvanpas and Franschhoek joined in for possibly the biggest trailbuild effort ever undertaken in South Africa. “Apart from the damaged trails, the incomplete Never Say Never-ending trail project also needed to get finished so the teams had their hands full to get everything ready” said Botha. Organisers were forced to reroute most of day 1 but managed to get most of the second stage in place in time for the race weekend. The Contour was developed to drive the expansion of the Simonsberg Trails network, currently traversing Delheim, Muratie and Uitkyk wine estates so it was important that the trails would be suitable to host the event. “The second day had more than 19km of singletrack over the 55km distance. Under normal circumstances this would be pretty difficult to manage due to congestion and the potential technical difficulty of the routes. For the race to develop we had to prove that the concept of a trails’ focused event can work and we are very pleased with the outcome of this year’s event.” According to Botha the rebuild would not have been possible without the support and vision of Fairtree Capital, who not only acquired the title sponsorship of the race, but has signed as annual partner of the trail system. Kobus Nel, CEO from Fairtree says: “As partner of the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour, we were truly inspired by the bravery, dedication and resolve of Simonsberg landowners and Dirtopia in fighting the devastating fire. We were delighted when it was agreed to go ahead as it allowed us to help in the rebuilding process in a very tangible way. The Dirtopia team and the landowners have done an incredible job to organize such a unique event and the “Fire Ride” will stay etched in our memory for years to come. We are very proud to be associated with the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour and we look forward to achieve our joint vision of developing and building sustainable world class mountain bike routes in and around the Stellenbosch Simonsberg region. Thank you to all those who have supported us through this process – it would not have been possible without you.” Mr Nel concluded. The organisers will shortly look at new trail additions for the 2017 event, set for 4 & 5 February 2017. The trails are currently still closed for maintenance; however, the re-launch of trails will be on the 2nd of April. Watch the Dirtopia social media pages for more info. Note that permits are always needed to ride the trails at R50 per person per day or annual permits are available. Contact Dirtopia Trail Centre should you have any questions.
  19. Setting the routes for the inaugural Fairtree Simonsberg Contour has been a real challenge since the blazing Simonsberg fire interrupted the final building of trails. Click here to view the article
  20. The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour – now affectionately known as The Fire Ride – will take place on Saturday and Sunday. The starting and finishing points for both days are at the Delvera Farm outsider Stellenbosch. Riders have the option of a short route (some 40km) or a long route (some 60km) on both days. For route designer and race organiser Meurant Botha from Dirtopia the past few weeks has been a real challenge. Not only trying to save some of the trails during the fire, but also now making sure the Fairtree Contour does take place despite of the fire. “It has thus far taken six days and over 150 man days to clear the fire damage and we can report that the trails are now around 85% cleared,” said Botha on Tuesday. “The past few days has also revealed the extent of the damage, with especially the Lower Ho Chi Minh and Exit trails showing the worst damage and will remain impassable for the immediate future.” He added: “The extent of the burn has left us with no choice but to reroute Day 1 of the Fairtree Contour to include the Koelenhof region. This will make for flatter and fast riding, although the first part will include the Le Bonheur and Uitkyk climbs and singletrack sections that will certainly spread the field. Keep some gas in the tank for the final ascent of Klapmutskop and the final singletrack reward.” Day 2 sees the riders heading into the Simonsberg properly and the elevation stats increase measurably. “We have decided to tweak ride distances to leave our elevation stats close to our desired targets so do not underestimate the efforts required on this day by going on distance only. Riders will get a first-hand view of the fire damage and photo opportunities abound. We are happy to report that most of the Knorhoek section escaped the fire so riders can look forward to enjoying some of the last forest canopy covered trails the area has become renowned for.” The work is not done yet though. “As we are still hard at work getting the routes ready, so please keep checking in on route updates in the final build-up to race day.” Fairtree Capital is a Cape Town based investment manager that manages alternative and long only investment portfolios across all global asset classes. They have committed to support the effort to rebuild the trails after the Simonsberg Fire with financial support. “Fairtree is fully committed to rebuilding the trails and without their backing this would not be possible,” said Botha. Entries will only be accepted until Wednesday. For more information visit www.dirtopia.co.za or send an email to info@dirtopia.co.za Day 1: Long Short Day 2: Long Short
  21. The Contour is a unique event in that the shareholders are the landowners, sponsors and trailbuilders and the purpose of the event is to develop the Simonsberg into a premier trails region. All proceeds of the event goes straight towards achieving this vision. By not running the Contour the trails will suffer a double loss at a time when the rebuild needs all assistance it can get. In terms of the routes we will obviously have to adjust our offer and distances but we are confident that we can produce 2 days of riding that can showcase the area and put riders right in the middle of the fire zone with some amazing sights and views of the devastation. Our trail crews are going to clear as much singletrack as possible and we are increasing the team sizes yet again to achieve this. We aim to have finalised descriptions and profiles of our new routes by Monday. We therefore ask all riders to support our rebuild efforts by joining us for the inaugural Simonsberg Contour - The Fire Ride.Follow the rebuild on Facebook at www.facebook.com/simonsbergcontour Event Details: Date: 6/7 February 2016Venue: Delvera Farm, R44, Stellenbosch Start Times: 07h15 Registration: 5 February 2016 @Dirtopia Trail Centre, Delvera Farm, R44, Stellenbosch from 12h00 to 18h00 The Fairtree Capital Simonsberg Contour is a 2 day mountain bike stage race set with the Simonsberg ward of the Stellenbosch Wine Route. With daily route options of either 60km or 40km riders can expect a singletrack festival as the event combines trails from all the major events that frequent the region in one weekend of riding. Further, once-off links are opened specially for the weekend, making for a spectacular mtb experience. Spectators are able to purchase a meal voucher for R75 per day per person. Please let us know by Wednesday 3rd of February if you would like to purchase a voucher. Email: admin@dirtopia.co.za REMEMBER entries are limited to 500 riders only! There are only 150 entries left. Dont miss out! Enter here.
  22. As most mountain bikers have realised the Simonsberg Trails system has been ravaged by the recent fires, placing some doubt on the continued running of the new Fairtree Simonsberg Contour stage race. We as organisers and trailbuilders certainly shared these doubts as we saw all our hard work reduced to ash. Having had a couple of days to reflect it is clear that there is only one path for us and that is to stand up and rebuild. Click here to view the article
  23. The ‘Contour’ has been created to continue the development of, and expose, the incredible network of singletrack trails on the Simonsberg mountain. With more than 20km of mountain singletrack connecting more than 10 wine estates, the region is set to become a hotspot for mountain bike trail riders. Well known race organisers and trail developers, Dirtopia, will head up race management of the event. Dirtopia has spent the last 2 years developing new trails on Uitkyk, Delheim, Knorhoek and Muratie estates and while riders may have had tastes of these routes while participating in the Cape’s major mountain bike classics, no event has really showcased the entire network of routes. Further, the event is run in partnership with the Simonsberg Conservancy, representing 24 farms around the Simonsberg mountain, including a host of Stellenbosch’s premier wine estates. In terms of the deal, the Conservancy receives an annual financial contribution to beef up administration as well as becoming a shareholder in the event. According to event director, Meurant Botha, this is a unique management structure for an event. “We felt it was time to address the current status where event organisers operated commercially on the back of landowners’ generosity and develop a model where there is real financial benefit to the properties as well”. Further, the event is investing in tourism related infrastructure geared towards trail visitors on several properties. “This is first and foremost a legacy project aimed at enhancing the trails-tourism potential of the region. We’ve long since identified the Simonsberg with it’s premier attractions as the perfect trails destination and are confident that this event and accompanying product development will be an asset to the region and it’s landowners.” " Fairtree Capital is delighted to partner with the Simonsberg Conservancy and Dirtopia in a way that benefits all parties and hope to offer riders a very enjoyable experience of the spectacular winelands region" In terms of routing, a major trail build is underway. The Simonsberg is known for it’s general steepness, so it is quite fitting that the Contour’s name addresses this challenge. Dirtopia’s trail building activities has already unlocked many farms with more accessible contour trails, making it possible for riders to enjoy the stunning vistas that the region offers. While the final route will be launched later this year, riders can expect daily stages of 55-60km, each with around 1500m of elevation. Botha emphasised that the emphasis will be on a fun, trail experience, a perfect season opener for the stage race season. Hosted by the region’s wine estates, riders can look forward to an exciting harvest-time wine route experience. Event Details: Date: 6 & 7 February 2016 Race Start: 07h15 daily Entries: Long option (60Km/day): from R875; Short option (40Km/day): from R750Entries open on 28 October and limited to 500 riders. Visit www.dirtopia.co.za
  24. Fairtree Capital has confirmed that it will become the title sponsor of the inaugural Simonsberg Contour, a brand new 2 day mountain bike stage race in Stellenbosch, set to take place on 6 & 7 February 2016. Fairtree Capital is a Cape Town based investment manager that manages alternative and long only investment portfolios across all global asset classes. Click here to view the article
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