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  1. UCT’s Luke Evans leads the way on the second day of the FNB-sponsored Varsity MTB Challenge en route to the Cape Town team’s stage and overall victory at Nederburg near Paarl today. Photo: Luke Thorrold Maties however remained firmly in control of the women’s race, with Frances du Toit, Nicky Giliomee and Marie Kempf retaining the title they had won in the inaugural event last year. The two-day mountain bike race, sponsored by First National Bank, saw the top varsities in the country compete in three-rider men’s and women’s teams for the honour of being crowned the top tertiary institution in South Africa. UCT’s Luke Evans (left) and Martin Freyer cross the finish line first on the second day to win the overall men’s title at the FNB-sponsored Varsity MTB Challenge, which started and finished at Nederburg near Cape Town today. Photo: Luke Thorrold In the men’s race, UCT’s Luke Evans, who rode with Martin Freyer and Alex Rohrer, said their strategy had always been to take the race to Maties on the last day. “We felt it would be pointless hanging back and trying for just a stage win. We always wanted to apply pressure and knew there would be more single-track today, which we felt would be to our advantage.” He added that the overall triumph was “hugely satisfying” for them after running out of steam on the opening stage and finishing 74 seconds behind the reigning champions. UCT’s Martin Freyer (left) and Luke Evans celebrate their stage and overall victory on the second day of the FNB-sponsored Varsity MTB Challenge, which started and finished at Nederburg near Paarl today. Photo: Luke Thorrold “This really means a lot to us because Maties were the winners last year and there has always been a strong rivalry between us. They have often had the edge, so it was great to come out on top in this one.” The Cape Town varsity finished the second stage over 58km in 2:33:31 for a general classification time of 4:42:52, just under 30 seconds ahead of Maties. Stellenbosch University’s Nicky Giliomee (left) and Frances du Toit won the second stage to retain the overall title at the FNB-sponsored Varsity MTB Challenge, which started and finished at Nederburg near Paarl today. Photo: Luke Thorrold The latter stopped the clock on 2:35:01 for an overall time of 4:43:18, followed by University of Pretoria who came home in 2:49:05 for a combined time of 5:02:06. Evans, who struggled when Maties applied some pressure early on, said he got eventually got into his rhythm while climbing Hawequa Pass. “When we got to the main part of the climb, there was quite a headwind which led to some tactical racing. But, fortunately, Martin and I got into the first single-track ahead of Maties and were able to open up a gap.” He said the racing was on in earnest between themselves and Maties, who were able to make up the deficit after Freyer “dropped a chain”. “They caught us at the top of a climb with about 40km to go, but I decided to attack again and I managed to open up a gap. I was able to set my own pace and kept a lead of just over a minute.” Behind, Freyer stayed with the chasing Maties – Tristan de Lange and Rinus Maarsingh – before getting away with about 5km to go. “After the last water point, Martin noticed one of them was tiring and he threw in an attack himself. “I was always looking behind to see if he could get away and when I saw that he had, I sat up and waited. We then worked together and were able to bring it home for UCT.” Stellenbosch University’s Nicky Giliomee (left) and Frances du Toit helped Maties to retain the women’s title at the FNB-sponsored Varsity MTB Challenge, which started and finished at Nederburg near Paarl today. Photo: Luke Thorrold The Maties women won their second stage on the trot when they crossed the line in 3:10:26 for an overall time of 5:49:05. University of Pretoria finished runners-up in 6:00:49 after coming home in 3:18:09, with North-West University completing the podium in 6:16:27 after finishing the stage in 3:26:45. Frances du Toit, the national U23 cross-country champion, said the vibe among the student teams had been one of the highlights of the weekend. “It was great to interact with our fellow students and to race with like-minded people. It was special for Maties to win this in our backyard.” Varsity MTB Challenge Overall ResultsMen 1 University of Cape Town 4:42:52 2 Stellenbosch University 4:43:18 3 University of Pretoria 5:02:06 4 North-West University 5:23:30 5 Nelson Mandela University 5:38:03 Women 1 Stellenbosch University 5:49:05 2 University of Pretoria 6:00:49 3 North-West University 6:16:27 General classification Men 1 Matthew Wentworth, Paris Basson (This Way Out) 5:05:20 2 Hanco Kachelhoffer, Armand Swanepoel (Ellsworth-ASG) 5:12:45 3 Leendert Lorenzen, Gavin Viljoen (Vaughan Ulyate Attorneys) 5:26:07 Women 1 Jeanie de Villiers, Marleen Lourens (Cannondale-Maties) 6:10:53 Mixed 1 Corne Louw, Sarita Louw 5:49:37 Student teams General classification Men 1 Michael Lambrecht, Wayde Finch (UCT) 5:00:32 Planning your next race? Take a look at our events calendar here.
  2. “Professional and casual riders were blown away by how well the first race was organised,” says Gina Woodburn, Varsity MTB Challenge Organiser. “The unique route, shower facilities, face cloths at the finish line, and well-marshalled route were just some of the elements that took riders by surprise. For the second edition of the race, riders can expect more from this young MTB brand and we invite all MTB enthusiasts to join us in Paarl and Franschhoek at the end of September.” Varsity MTB Challenge is the only mountain bike race in South Africa with a unique university twist, whereby each participant (and team) rides for the university of his or her choice. This does not mean that riders need to be students. This race is for everyone. “MTB is the sports platform of choice for executives wanting to connect with friends and business partners,” adds Woodburn. “With Varsity MTB we’re creating an opportunity for alumni to do just that, while competing with the young MTB stars for their university of choice.” Teams of two will compete in two major categories: general entries and student entries, with prizes up for grabs for Men’s, Women’s and Mixed teams. A special student entry fee will apply to registered students. Entry feesGeneral Public and Alumni entry: R4 000 per team of two Student entry: R2 200 per team of two (students need to present their student cards on race day) To enter, visit the Fees and Registration page on www.varsitymtbchallenge.com FNB and RMB Private Bank cardholders receive a further 10% discount on their entry fee (terms and conditions apply). Included in entry feeUniversity-specific bike numbers Personalised name/university bike stickers Event race jersey (General Public and Alumni entries only) FNB promotional items Light breakfast table on both days Lunch on both days Live entertainment at the race village each day Complimentary rider facilities at the race village Lucky prizes What to expect in 2017 The race weekend promises to be lots of fun for everyone, including spectators. Expect a vibrant race village with beer garden, wine tasting and food stalls. Live entertainment will be on offer. For spectators wanting to follow that action on the trails, special spectator spots will be created on the route. For riders, expect the best rider facilities on offer:Refreshment stations serving complimentary drinks, food, sweet treats and more Route marshals and direction signage Photographers and race coverage on route Bike park and storage Bike wash Shower facilities with complimentary towels and shower gel Massage and Recovery Zone. Treat yourself to a relaxing massage and well-deserved recovery at the Recovery Zone. This facility will be free to all riders and no pre-booking is necessary. For more Varsity MTB Challenge information: Website: www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za Facebook: Varsity MTB Challenge Twitter: @VarsityMTB Instagram: @varsitymtb #VarsityMTB About Varsity MTB Challenge The Varsity MTB Challenge is unique as it’s the only mountain bike race in South Africa where the general public ride for their university of their choice. It brings together old friends and rivals, young and experienced riders in a challenge to crown the best MTB university in the country. Launched in 2016, Varsity MTB Challenge is aimed at all MTB enthusiasts, varsity alumni and general public. The race is sanctioned by Cycling South Africa. The successful Varsity Sports series also host their Varsity Sports MTB race as a category of Varsity MTB Challenge. Varsity MTB Challenge is proudly sponsored by FNB.
  3. Maties were out in full force at the start of Day 1. Photo credit: Varstity MTB Challenge. Registration on Friday was followed by a delicious lamb spit braai dinner, setting us up perfectly to tackle the first stage which started at the historic Nederburg wine estate. The fierce competition between university teams meant the race started fast and things revved up a notch once we had crossed the road and were out of the neutral zone. Hanging on for dear life, we were straight into the major climb of the day which was nearly 10 kilometres long. We ascended from 180 metres to 755 metres above sea level. Resulting in spectacular views of Paarl and the Taal Monument across the valley. Fortunately we were rewarded on the descent by pine-needle covered trails sweeping through the forest above Buffet Olives. We then wound our way through Cascades farm on wonderful manicured singletrack, and all too soon were back into orchards, and farmlands. Photo credit: Nicolé Dale Kuys. After a quick stop at the second waterpoint to refuel, we crossed under the N1 highway and began making our way towards towards the finish at La Paris, rolling along the skirts of the Drakenstein mountains. The last 5 kilometres featured an artillery of nasty steep kickers which slowed the pace a bit and made sure we didn’t finish feeling too fresh. Luckily lunch and a complimentary massage from the team at EPT Recovery were waiting for us at the finish line, and it wasn’t long before we were relaxing under the oaks and planning the evening braai. Stage 2 started at La Paris, and headed across the Franschhoek valley to the trails on Boschendal wine farm on the slopes of the Simonsberg mountain. The first 10 kilometres were flat and windy, and we were quickly dropped by the front group. After flailing about in the wind, for what felt like eternity, we eventually made it onto the climb to the Boschendal trails and slowly clawed our way back up the field. Photo credit: Nicolé Dale Kuys. The Boschendal trails made every metre of climbing worthwhile and for me were the highlight of the event. They feature fun for all levels of riding with twisting berms, rollers, bridges, hips and jumps everywhere. We wound our way up and down trails like Inferno and Sugarbowl, and had so much fun we almost forgot we were supposed to be racing. Photo credit: Nicolé Dale Kuys. We were quickly reminded that it was a race when we had to make our way back across the valley to La Paris into a brisk headwind. Power on the flats is not my strong point, and even with a pocket to hang on to I found the flat ten kilometres painful. At last we were back on the hills (the same vicious kickers from yesterday’s final three kilometres), and we were just able to hold off some of the teams that had reeled us in. With relief we rolled across the finish line, to the welcome sight of the massage tables, chocolate milk, and shady oak trees. For a first time event the Varsity MTB Challenge was superbly organised. Every detail in terms of rider needs was taken care of. Routes were well marked, and had a good balance of singletrack and jeep track riding so that congestion was not an issue. The distances kept the riding enjoyable, and gave riders time to relax and enjoy the lunches at La Paris. This is definitely an event to watch for next year.
  4. With lungs full of dense coastal air and legs still shaky from the Lesotho Sky, we headed out to the tranquil La Paris farm in Franschhoek for the inaugural Varsity MTB Challenge sponsored by FNB. The race features two stages both approximately 50 kilometres, making for fast-paced racing on the sharp end of the field, while remaining a comfortable distance for weekend warriors. As the name suggests, the race is a platform for inter-varsity competition, but is also open to alumni and the general public. Click here to view the article
  5. The University of Stellenbosch dominated both days of the first ever Varsity Sports MTB Challenge which was held on some of the most picturesque, but demanding trails in the Cape Winelands. Click here to view the article
  6. In windy conditions over 49km of racing on Stage Two, largely on pristine singletrack, Maties consigned their university rivals to another day in the hurt box. In the approach to the first major climb on Boschendal, CP van Wyk, Ian Lategan and Jacques Lloyd put the hammer down, opened a gap and held on to take Stage Two by just over a minute from the hard-chasing University of Pretoria. The University of Cape Town rounded out the Stage Two podium. Maties had done all the hard work on Stage One, so just needed to protect their lead to be sure of securing overall Varsity Sports MTB honours. The final General Classification reflected the Stellenbosch students’ dominance: Maties finished in a cumulative time of 4:47.50, with Tuks five and a half minutes back in 4:53.33, and UCT finishing in 4:56.14 over the two days. “Because of the wind, we worked together a lot more,” said Maties strongman Van Wyk. “We knew the trails, so we knew what to expect. The hills in Boschendal are really steep and ‘switchbacky’, but the trails are virtually hand-built, with berms and jumps everywhere. It was definitely tough.” Although the official varsity teams were predictably at the sharp end of the race, the Varsity MTB Challenge offered a world-class riding experience to both alumni and non-varsity-affiliated mountain bikers as well. Highlights from Day One included a memorable 15km climb up through shady plantations towards the top of Du Toitskloof Pass, swooping downhills and manicured trails across private wine farms, while the outstanding features of Day Two were undoubtedly the unique Boschendal trails looping through forests and around farm dams. “This is some of the best singletrack in the world,” confirmed Stephan Claassens, a regular mountain biker and provincial head of First National Bank, the headline race sponsor. “Today the downhills were as challenging as the uphills. And the distances were perfect: far enough to make a race of it for the students, and enough for the alumni to feel that they’d had a good workout.” Even though this was the inaugural Varsity MTB Challenge, for an indication of how highly prized race entries were, look no further than the evocatively named team, The Cycling Dead. After winning a complimentary entry from Tread magazine, the team drove 800km through the night from Port Elizabeth and rode Stage One without having slept for 32 hours. They finished just ahead of the broom wagon on Stage One, but after some liquid refreshments in the fully supported race village at La Paris and a good night’s sleep, they were in great shape on Stage Two to fully appreciate the awesome trails they had travelled so far to enjoy. Top results: Varsity Sports MTB men1.Maties 4:47.50 2.Tuks 4:53.33 3.UCT 4:56.14 Varsity Sports MTB women 1.Maties 5:32.34 2.Tuks 6:26.28 Alumni/General Public 1.Matthew Wentworth/Paris Basson 4:57.41 Students 1.Gregg Christy/Richard Simpson 5:02.43 Varsity MTB Challenge overall points tally 1.University of Stellenbosch 3453 2.University of Cape Town 2619 3.University of Pretoria 395 4.Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 380 5.North West University (Pukke) 259 6.Free State University 254
  7. The men and women from the University of Stellenbosch took full advantage of the fact that Varsity MTB Challenge is taking place in their backyard, finishing Stage One in first place, for both the Varsity Sports MTB men’s and women’s classifications, in Franschhoek on Saturday morning. Click here to view the article
  8. The stage began at 8am, at Nederburg wine farm, in perfect race conditions. The five Varsity Sports teams took up their positions at the front of the grid, as Varsity MTB MC, Doug Bird, signalled for the inaugural race to begin. The young Maties, UCT, NMMU, Pukke and Tuks teams led the pack at the start, but would see stiff competition from alumni riders representing their former universities throughout the stage. In what may be one of the toughest starts to an MTB race in South Africa, riders faced a steep climb in the first 10km of the 53km stage. The route began with a contoured jeep track heading towards Wellington, with riders climbing as high as 755m above sea level. After the initial climb, Dominic Calitz broke away from the leading pack and would ultimately finish the stage solo, coming in first with a time of 2:22.41. “Firstly, thank you to the organisers for such a fantastic route. It was excellently marked out and not once did I get lost,” said Calitz. “The first 10km was a group of 10 riders and I broke away from the group halfway up the first climb. I kept it constant, I kept the pace and the rest I did on my own.” Calitz was closely followed by Maties’ Varsity Sports MTB team, who came in with a time of 2:29.15, thanks to Carl van Wyk and Ian Lategan. The stage ended with a deceptively tough final 7km. With challenging jeep track and loose terrain, it was a tricky end to the first day for the riders. “It was very rocky,” said Calitz, commenting on the final section of the stage. “I would say the first half was not as rocky as the second half. The first half had smoother trails; the last half was hard on the legs.” Calitz went as far as to say that he should have opted for a soft tail with all the loose rocks, rather than a hard tail when selecting his bike, when asked by MC Doug Bird whether he had made a wise selection of bike. Riders will have an afternoon to kick back, nurse the wounds and ice the bruises before Stage Two kicks off at La Paris on Sunday morning at 8am. Results: First rider: Men: Dominic Calitz (2.22.41) Women: Mariske Strauss (2:53.48)Varsity Sports MTB: Men: 1. Maties (2:29.15) 2. UCT (2:33.10) 3. Tuks (2:33.13) 4. NMMU (2:52.53) 5. Pukke (2:59.57) Women: 1. Maties (2:53.48) 2. Tuks (3:32.13) For more Varsity MTB Challenge information: Website: www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za Facebook: Varsity MTB Challenge Twitter; @VarsityMTB Instagram: @varsitymtb #VarsityMTB
  9. Riders can look forward to an epic combination of old and new on both trails. The first stage forms part of the Cape Epic route while the second trail encompasses a combination of unchartered, exciting and fun newly designed route. Both trails will reward riders with magnificent views of the Cape Peninsula and Boland regions, all the way from the N1 down to Table Mountain. The highlight of the first stage will be when riders get to see the whole Boland and Cape Peninsula regions. Along with the spectacular views there’s a gradual climb for the first 10 km with the first water point at about 14km in and then a single track that leads into the pine forest. Stage one will take riders as high as 755m above sea level. Stage two will predominantly be on the Boschendal trail, a relatively flat ride that leads riders to the other side of the valley, where the real fun begins. This new and exciting route has some fast-flowing tracks combined with a bit of flat. The trail was built over the past year by Boschendal and riders can expect a little bit of everything. There will also be something for those not on bikes. This includes a host of race day activities such as food stalls, live entertainment and face painting to name. These will be set up at the race village at La Paris Estate. University-themed stalls within the race village will help rekindle the varsity ‘gees’ for alumni, students and supporters. Don’t miss the inaugural Varsity MTB Challenge, enter today at www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za/registration/ For more Varsity MTB Challenge information: Website: www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za Facebook: Varsity MTB Challenge Twitter; @VarsityMTB Instagram: @varsitymtb #VarsityMTBChallenge
  10. In an event aimed at camaraderie between both young riders and old-timers it is fitting that the two Varsity MTB Challenge stages are a reflection of the riders that will grace them. One, a mature, established trail, the other a brand new, young, unknown and exciting one. Click here to view the article
  11. Varsity MTB Challenge, sponsored by FNB, takes place on 1 and 2 October with a first-of-its-kind two-stage race in Franschhoek. While five universities go head to head in the Varsity Sports MTB race, which will take place within the Varsity MTB Challenge race, alumni and the general public will join them on some of the finest track South Africa has to offer. Photo credit: Boschendal. Designer of the trail, Pieter van Wyk, has put together two stages that perfectly reflect the spirit of the event. Stage One: An ‘Epic’ start Stage one begins at Nederburg in Paarl, on Saturday 1 October, where riders will face a taxing start to the event. The spectacular Nederburg wine farm will serve as a picturesque start to the race. But riders shouldn’t be fooled by the calming, tall, lush trees or the beautiful rolling hills and vineyards; it’s a gruelling start to the race.There is a gradual climb for the first 10km. From there riders will move into the olive orchards at Buffet Olives. And then the real climbing starts. “The track takes you all the way to the neck of Du Toitskloof Pass,” said Varsity MTB Challenge trail designer, Pieter van Wyk. “From there you can see the whole of the Boland and all the way down the N1 to Table Mountain. Spectacular views! That’s the highlight of the stage – to look down and see the whole Boland and Cape Peninsula regions.” Shortly before the summit will be the first of a number of water points, 14km in. Then the single track fun begins. “There are a couple sections of single track in the pine forest and some more single track at Cascade Manor,” said Van Wyk. “It’s really wonderful single track going down there. “The stage gets easier after that. The tricky part will be first 20km or 30km. The last 15km is flowing jeep track along foot of the mountain.” Stage one will be the tougher of the two, with a fair share of climbing. From 134m above sea level, riders will climb as high as 755m above sea level. “If you go hard you’re going to suffer,” said Van Wyk. “It’s quite a bit of climbing in the first 20km. From 134m above sea level to 755m. But at the same time, if you take it slowly it’s going to be a long, tiring climb up.” What will have most MTB enthusiasts frothing at the mouth is the opportunity to ride a large portion of trail that forms part of the Cape Epic route. “Not a lot of people come out to ride here,” said Van Zyl. “There are sections of the plantation you are only able to do during races. Twenty-five kilometres of the track was part of the Epic this year, so it’s something quite special.” Riders will end stage one with around 2km of single track before a bit of challenging jeep track with loose, rocky terrain and a slight climb. All in all a stunning but testing stage, with around 8km of single track to look forward to. La Paris Estate will be a welcome sight to rest the weary legs and sip on a glass of chilled white wine as the sun sets. Stage Two: Unchartered territory Waking up to a glorious Franschhoek sunrise at La Paris Estate, riders will gear up for the second stage of the race. Passing through Drakenstein Prison, they will enter through the main gate, past the iconic statue of Nelson Mandela.It will be relatively flat riding to get to the other side of the valley, to Boschendal, where the real fun begins. Stage two will predominantly be on the Boschendal trail. “This is all new trail that Boschendal have been building over the past year,” said Van Wyk. “They’ve invested a lot of money there. Guys can expect to ride some of the best trails in the Western Cape. “For most people it will be the first time ever out there. It’s an unbelievable experience. They’ve created some really manicured trails for riders. There’s some really fast-flowing track, where you’ll reach some high speeds, then there is a bit of flat with some burns – a little bit of everything really.” Riders will pass across the Berg River, on a low-water bridge where Van Zyl guarantees they’ll get wet. The final 3km will be same finish as stage one. “The trails through Boschendal are phenomenal,” he said. “The views from top of Boschendal as you look down into Franschhoek are breath-taking. There’s also a good 15km of single track to look forward to on day two.” The stage is quite literally set, for the first-of-its-kind MTB race. It’s something experienced MTB enthusiast and trail designer Pieter van Wyk is looking forward to not only because of the route, but also the unique race format. “I don’t think we (Capetonians) realise how beautiful it is,” he said. “The climb on day one is something to experience if you aren’t used to climbing. The brand new track on day two is spectacular and it’s been exciting to set out a route that for a lot of people will be something they’ve never experienced before. “Then the fact that it’s encouraging both alumni, the general public and students to compete, adds to the event. No matter where you’re riding in the field, there is something to ride for. It’s a clever concept.” Entries are still open for Varsity MTB Challenge. Included in the entry fee is: University-specific bike numbers and a race goodie bag. Welcome dinner on the Friday evening with music and live entertainment. Lunch on Saturday with music and live entertainment. Lunch and prize-giving on Sunday. A Varsity MTB Challenge race jersey worth R800. Bike wash each day. Entry date closes: Monday, 12 September To enter, go to: http://varsitymtbchallenge.co.za/registration/ Entry fees: An early-bird discount is available for the first 50 alumni and general public teams to enter. Entry fee thus:Alumni and general public – R4 000 per team of two Students – R2 520 per team of two FNB and RMB Private Bank cardholders will receive an additional 10% discount. Terms and Conditions apply*. Regular entry fees: Alumni and general public – R5 000 per team of two Students – R2 520 per team of two For more Varsity MTB Challenge information: Website: www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za Facebook: Varsity MTB Challenge Twitter; @VarsityMTB Instagram: @varsitymtb #VarsityMTBChallenge
  12. The Varsity MTB Challenge offers something for everyone, ensuring that participants and spectators alike enjoy the two-day event. Spectators can embrace the “varsity gees” of the event by spending time in the varsity-themed race village. Furthermore, the comfort of riders is considered a priority and the necessary amenities will be provided to ensure that participants enjoy the Varsity MTB event to the fullest. Click here to view the article
  13. “We’re pulling out all the stops to create a unique race where everyone will have a great time,” says Trent Key, Varsity MTB Challenge organiser. “Riders can connect with varsity friends in the race, while the race village will provide something for every spectator in attendance.” Water points Riders can look forward to an interactive experience at any of the water points on the route. Competitors will have access to the technical area where any and all repairs on their bikes can be done. In addition to this, should riders wish to lighten the load by removing unwanted clothing items, this can be done at these points and collected at the end of the stage. Bike wash Riders can look forward to having their bikes washed after each race at various washing stations. Face paint, cheerleaders and university mascots Riders will have an opportunity to take varsity pride to the next level by having their university colours painted on their faces. In true varsity spirit, cheerleaders and university mascots will line the route. Lunchtime ceremony The MC and music will provide an ideal platform for riders and spectators to network, mingle and have a good time reminiscing about the varsity days. During the lunchtime ceremony, each university represented at the race will have a designated representative nominated as their captain. The leading university will be handed armbands and the captain and his team will wear the armbands on day two. Awards for ‘face-plant of the day’ along with some ‘snake bites’ will be given to those riders who went up against Mother Nature and got their fair share of discipline. Strava segments with leaderboard As motivation to keep riders competitive, two secret Strava segments have been included along the route. These segments will monitor the speed at which competitors cover various inclines. Completion of each segment will be communicated by means of a leaderboard placed at the racing village. For more Varsity MTB Challenge information: Website: www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za Facebook: Varsity MTB Challenge Twitter; @VarsityMTB Instagram: @varsitymtb #VarsityMTBChallenge
  14. Riders in the inaugural Varsity MTB Challenge, set for Franschhoek between 1 and 2 October, will have many opportunities to claim bragging rights in this unique race. Apart from overall men’s and women’s team titles on the line, riders will have another 13 category titles to battle it out for top honours. Click here to view the article
  15. “One of the main objectives of the Varsity MTB Challenge is to create an MTB race aimed at both varsity students and old friends,” says Trent Key, Varsity MTB Challenge organiser. “This race is unique in the sense that offers the general public the opportunity to rekindle that varsity camaraderie and rivalry. The race also allows the more serious rider to use this as good preparation, and reward, for the more competitive races.” In the overall Varsity MTB race, teams of two stand a chance to win in various categories. Each rider crossing the finishing line earns points and this will be added to their university’s overall points tally, which, in the end, will decide the ultimate winning university. Riders can enter into the following divisions and sub-categories: Alumni: Men – Father/Son and General Women – Mother/Daughter and General Mixed – Father/Daughter, Mother/Son and General General Public: Men – Father/Son and General Women – Mother/Daughter and General Mixed – Father/Daughter, Mother/Son and General Students: Men Women Mixed Riders can register on the Varsity MTB Challenge website (www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za) and select the university they wish to represent. No individual riders will be allowed to enter into any of the divisions or categories.
  16. Riders will have the option of racing in three divisions while representing their alma mater or any South African university of their choice. The three divisions include general public, alumni and students. Riders will be required to enter into teams of two while nominating their university of choice. Each individual rider’s performance counts towards his or her university’s overall standing. The university with the most points wins the Varsity MTB Challenge. “There is a lot more than just the thrill of watching riders going at each other over 100km for two days,” says Trent Key of Advent Sport Entertainment and Media (ASEM), organisers of Varsity MTB Challenge. “While riders battle it out for their alma mater, supporters will be entertained at the university-styled race village. Get ready for an intervarsity-style atmosphere and to reconnect with old friends and rivals. We’re preparing a beer garden, live entertainment, varsity cheerleaders and a couple of surprises which will certainly take everyone back to their varsity days.” Entries are now open for the first Varsity MTB Challenge. Included in the entry fee is: University-specific bike numbers and a race goodie bag. Welcome dinner on the Friday evening with music and live entertainment. Lunch on Saturday with music and live entertainment. Lunch and prize-giving on Sunday. A Varsity MTB Challenge race jersey worth R800. Bike wash each day. A simple entry process is available on the Varsity MTB Challenge website at www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za. An early-bird discount is available for the first 50 alumni and general public teams to enter. Entry fee thus: Alumni and general public – R4 000 per team of two Students – R2 520 per team of two FNB and RMB Private Bank cardholders will receive an additional 10% discount. Terms and Conditions apply*. Regular entry fees: Alumni and general public – R5 000 per team of two Students – R2 520 per team of two For more Varsity MTB Challenge information: Website: www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za Facebook: Varsity MTB Challenge Twitter; @VarsityMTB Instagram: @varsitymtb #VarsityMTBChallenge
  17. New MTB two-day stage race open to everyone The inaugural Varsity MTB Challenge takes place in Franschhoek, Western Cape on 1-2 October 2016. What makes the Varsity MTB Challenge unique is that it brings together alumni, current students and general public in a two-day stage race with a unique university twist. Click here to view the article
  18. The Varsity MTB Challenge is a new venture between Sports4U and Advent Sport and Entertainment Media (ASEM), media rights holder and events organiser for the very popular Varsity Cup and successful Varsity Sports series of sport tournaments. Not only will universities have the opportunity to compete against each other in a six-member team format, but alumni and general public also have the chance to show their stamina, while making a positive contribution to a university. “The Varsity MTB Challenge is a series of races designed specifically for university alumni and current students,” says Francois Pienaar, CEO of ASEM. “All universities are invited to enter and compete for the inaugural Varsity MTB Challenge Champions title. The race is also open to all mountain bike fanatics and riders are encouraged to compete in their alma maters’ colours, or adopt a university.” “There will be a big focus on alumni participation and we hope this race will bring together some of the most influential university alumni in South Africa to ride on some of our most beautiful and inaccessible tracks,” adds Pienaar. The Varsity MTB Challenge is a two-day stage race endorsed by Cycling South Africa and University Sport South Africa (USSA), making it the official university MTB Challenge series in South Africa. The top USSA teams will be sponsored by Varsity Sports bringing a further competitive angle to the event. Aside from the university challenge, the race will also include an open category for non-university teams and individuals. Riders who have no formal affiliation with a university will be able to compete by choosing a university to support when they register for the race. A scoring mechanism will promote competition between universities, with all riders contributing points to their university thereby rekindling the spirit of camaraderie and competition among the riders. In another first, the Varsity MTB Challenge will take place in all new and exclusive terrain. The Bela Bela leg of the series cuts across previously inaccessible farms, whilst the region offers exposure to wild game and scenic vistas over the 130km track. The Franschhoek leg will cut across some of South Africa’s iconic Winelands and include a trip past the house where Nelson Mandela was held captive in the Drakenstein prison. The entry fee per rider per race is R2,500 and includes dinner on the Friday evening and lunch on both the Saturday and Sunday. Various accommodation options are available as add-ons. For more information on registration visit our web site at www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za or send an email to info@varsitymtb.co.za. Facebook: Varsity MTB Challenge Twitter: @VarsityMTB Instagram: @varsitymtb
  19. Mountain bike enthusiasts can look forward to a new and unique mountain bike race series in 2016. The Varsity MTB Challenge is the first and only official inter-varsity mountain bike competition and will consist of two races, one to take place in Bela Bela on 9 and 10 July and the second race in Franschhoek on 1 and 2 October 2016. Click here to view the article
  20. The Varsity MTB Challenge will have a unique university flavour. The races are open to the general public, who will be able to race for their university of choice. “The aim behind the Varsity MTB Challenge is to create a platform where university alumni can compete in a unique race against each other, while also giving them the perfect opportunity to network and rekindle old friendships and camaraderie,” says Duitser Bosman, Varsity Sports CEO. “Apart from general public taking part, the Varsity MTB Challenge will also see Varsity Sports’ university mountain bike teams compete against each other. This section of the race, as well as the Bela Bela leg is proudly sponsored by FNB.” The five university teams competing for the Varsity Sports Mountain Bike title are determined by the USSA qualification and include Maties, UCT Ikeys, UP-Tuks, NWU-Pukke and Madibaz. As a further attraction for mountain bike fanatics, both the Bela Bela Challenge and the Franschhoek Challenge will feature new routes, allowing participants to be amongst the first to lay tread on the exciting new terrains. The two-day Bela Bela route stretches over 120km of technical track, all set against the backdrop of some of the most picturesque landscapes and wild game. The Franschoek route on the other hand cuts across South Africa’s beautiful winelands and passes the Drakenstein Prison where the late Nelson Mandela was once held captive. Francois Pienaar, ASEM CEO, looks forward to a race of many firsts - “I am excited about launching our new Varsity MTB Challenge mountain bike series. We see this race as bringing together some of the most influential university alumni in South Africa riding in their university colours, alongside Varsity Sports university teams and the general public in a first of its kind, entry format.” Website: www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za
  21. Advent Sport Entertainment and Media (ASEM) and Sports4U today launch an exciting new mountain bike series, the Varsity MTB Challenge, comprising of two multi-day stage races. Varsity MTB Challenge will see the two races take place in the Sondela Nature Reserve in Bela Bela between 9 and 10 July and on La Paris in Franschhoek between 1 and 2 October 2016. Click here to view the article
  22. Advent Sport and Entertainment Media (ASEM) and Sports4U are proud to announce that rider registration for the inaugural Varsity MTB Challenge is now open. This series of two-staged races will be taking place at the Sondela Nature Reserve in Bela-Bela (Limpopo) on 9 and 10 July and at La Paris in Franschhoek (Western Cape) on 1 and 2 October. Click here to view the article
  23. The Varsity MTB Challenge is the first and only official inter-varsity mountain bike competition and will consist of two stage races that will offer new and exciting terrain for mountain bike enthusiasts. The race is designed specifically for the inclusion of university students, alumni, supporters and parents alike. “Riders have the choice of riding under a university banner as student, alumni or supporter,” says Gary Vorster, Chief Executive Officer of Sport4U. “The supporter category is for anyone who would like to complete the race but is not an official student or alumni of a university.” Teams will be made up of two riders and are able to register as a male team, female team or mixed team. Only the first rider in the team will be identified to a university; the second rider will automatically identify with the same university. The race offers the opportunity for riders to network and reunite with alumni and associates of their university, rekindling the spirit of university camaraderie. What makes the Varsity MTB Challenge different from other races is that it is the only official university MTB Challenge series in South Africa, endorsed by University Sport South Africa (USSA). “The USSA teams will be selected by each university who elects to send a team to compete,” explains Etienne Joubert, Chairperson of USSA Cycling. The entry fee per rider per race is R2,500 and includes dinner on the Friday evening and lunch on both the Saturday and Sunday. Various accommodation options are available as add-ons. To register visit our web site at www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za or send an email to info@varsitymtb.co.za. Facebook: Varsity MTB Challenge Twitter: @VarsityMTB Instagram: @varsitymtb #VarsityMTBChallenge
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