Jump to content

[Event] Eurosteel Drak Descent 2017


Recommended Posts

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Riders Set to ascend The Descent:
The fourth annual Euro Steel Drak Descent, a two-day mountain bike stage race, will be held on the 21st & 22nd of January 2017. This event has proved to be a major attraction for reasons very different to the other successful local mountain bike success stories. While riders still need to complete the route in pairs, the focus of the Drak Descent is the fabulous single track the riders experience within a spectacular setting.
Riders follow the Umzimkulu River over the same weekend as paddlers participate in the biggest canoe race of the year in the area, the annual NT3C Drak Challenge. Both events share common facilities at the finish venues for cost saving purposes, which adds to the vibe and atmosphere for everyone. Participants from around the province, Johannesburg and as far afield as Port Elizabeth make the trip to Underberg for this sporting spectacular weekend. 
Corporate involvement in the event has allowed it to grow and develop and the current title sponsor’s partnership was borne out of the supply of material to build a bridge across the river for the riders. Euro Steel provided the material and the local community the solution to make it all possible. The relationship grew and Colin Wilson, CEO of Euro Steel and a local farm owner, extended the partnership once he saw the benefit of being involved with the event. “Our clientele enjoys mountain biking, the outdoors and are family orientated,” said Wilson, “making this event the perfect opportunity for us to host them and provide something for everyone.” Wilson, himself a paddler and winner of this year’s Master Category in the Dusi Canoe Marathon is more at home in a canoe but will be looking at pedaling a few kilometers of the race next year. 
The route spans and covers numerous farms in the area and has been made possible by the generous nature of the farm owners who have allowed the riders to pass through unobstructed. The race organisers haven’t looked for the quickest, shortest or easiest route along the river. They have engineered, pioneered and created section of riding which riders would struggle to experience anywhere else in our country, despite the proliferation of trails, tracks and trail parks happening at the moment. 
However, Ed Smith (Race Director), has highlighted the importance of his sponsor in order to enable this to happen, “It has been wonderful enjoying the support of Euro Steel, from the inception of the event. Their support, in sponsorship, allowing us access to their land, as well as their sound advice and guidance in planning of the event, has helped us develop an event that many have described as “Single Track Heaven”. The Spoors team have managed to employ previously unemployed locals to assist with invasive plant species eradication, trail building and even a development cycling team. The event generates a lot of enthusiasm and excitement locally – we are seeing many more locals training and venturing along Sani Spoor’s trails in preparation of the 2017 event.”
Smith’s comments are reflected in the presence of the Kargo Pro Mtb Team who use the race as early season preparation for their upcoming year and were winners of both the Men’s and Women’s events in 2016. The talk around the town is that a few more Pro’s might pop out for the weekend experience as the full route and distance is not open to everyone throughout the year. 
While entries are limited to 250 teams, there are a few places left for the event and riders wanting to experience something special and spectacular, while out in the amazing Southern Berg, should consider entering this event before the entries are sold out. 
For all the event news and images (post event) log on to http://www.sanispoors.co.za/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

8 December 16

“Do the Descent Thing!”



Dear Drak MTB Descent, GWK MTB Challenge and Trail Run Entrants,


Entries for the 2017 races are rapidly approaching the full mark – there are currently only 34 entries available for the Drak Descent, as at 16h00.  (In order to keep it exclusive entries are limited to 400 riders!).  If you would like to try to enter, we would encourage you to go online right now – www.sanispoors.co.za - and click on the race entry logo relative to the event that you wish to enter for.  If the Descent is full, try the GWK Challenge.


To the many that have already entered, you are in for a phenomenal treat as the Spoors Team are continually preparing new tracks and improving the ones previously ridden.


Start Times:

Start times are as follows for 2017:

·         Eurosteel Drak Descent – Day 1 & 2                  07h30         (Entry R1100 per Team; Solo R 600 - substitutions at a cost of R100)

·         GWK Challenge –          Day 1                              09h00

Day 2                             07h30

·         GWK Trail Run – Day 1 & 2                       06h00         (Cost for this event is R160 for both days. Riders who enter the GWK race or run can only enter for both days (i.e. can’t enter for one day or the other)There is currently no closing date for the GWK Challenge and trail run at this stage.

Venues and distances to be confirmed as soon as we learn how Strava or GPS works!





Vehicle shuttles:

We would like to encourage riders to make use of the Shuttle Service offered by Underberg Education Academy.  It alleviates traffic and contributes to the the bursary fund for less privileged Learners that attend the School.


Registration and Meet and Greet – Sponsors and Land Owners:


On Friday, 21 January, in keeping with the country bumkin, laid back, hillbilly approach the Spoors Team pride themselves in, we will once again be hosting the registration and opportunity to mingle with the locals and sponsors at the Olde Duck Café.


We are very fortunate to have Eurosteel as principle sponsor again in 2017 as well as the following sponsors:  GWK, Spar, Gooderson Leisure, Kalbo designs and Ekerold Plant Hire, Pyga Cycles and Holdfast.


We would like to wish all entrants and their cheerleaders a blessed Christmas and Prosperous New Year.  We look forward to seeing all of you on our trails in 2017.


Kind regards,

The Spoors Team

Sani Spoors encourages our cyclists to make a donation to the Restmount Children's Home in Underberg.  The Home provides opportunities for less fortunate children to spend time in the Southern Drakensberg.  Many of the children have never been on a holiday.  Please make donations directly to Restmount using the Account details below.  Reference all donations as Drak Descent with your name.




ACCOUNT NO. 051072807

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...





Drak Descent Newsletter No. 3 – 05th January 2017

Hello Again to all Euro Steel Drak Descent Riders, GWK Challenge MTB riders and Trail Runners,

From the Sani Spoors Team a hearty, healthy Compliments of the Season to all of you.  We trust that you have enjoyed a wonderful Festive Season that allowed you time to spend with your families and cycling and running the backroads of our beautiful country…

The Spoors Team have been working furiously on the Drak Descent route for 2017, including new single track that is sure to challenge and thrill the most widely travelled cyclist.  This is real Mountain Biking – while the distances of the days are not huge, the Single Track will traverse terrain that is spectacular and challenging!  You are guaranteed to feel a sense of accomplishment when you reach the finish! 

We are very happy to say that the Eurosteel Drak Descent has reached the 400-rider cap and entries are now closed. Anyone entering now will go onto a waitlist and should any cancellations be received we will release riders off the waitlist.

With respect to the shorter GWK Challenge MTB ride and trail run there are still entries available.


Our principal sponsors, Eurosteel have been absolutely amazing in their support of this event – and thus mountain biking in general in our area. We as the Sani Spoors team and the Euro Steel organising committee would really like again thank Colin and David Wilson for assisting us in making this event a possibility.

To all our other sponsors, we would like to thank the following:

-GWK for their involvement in the shorter MTB race and the trail run as well for all the wine for the riders,

- Spar – Assistance with the coke and water for the water tables,

- Dairy Day (Honeydew Dairy) – Sponsorship of Milk and Chocolate milks at end of the each days riding,

- Goodersons Leisure – Sponsoring Teams and accommodation prizes

- Kalbo – Prizes

- Holdfast – Prizes

- Pyga – Roving Mechanics

- Ola Ice creams – Sponsorship of Ice cream for all competitors at end of day 1.





Some important news regarding the 2017 Drak Descent:

Race Information

Friday 20 January at the Olde Duck Café (1 Km along the Drakensberg Gardens Road)
12:00 – 20:00

This will be followed a meet and greet with local landowners at the Olde Duck – Braai packs and bar facilities will be available 18h00

Emergency Registration – if you just could not make it! Saturday 21 January at Restmount Children’s Home (23 Km along the Drak Gardens Road) 05:30

Eurosteel Drak Descent MTB:


Day 1 Start:
Restmount (23 Km along the Drak Gardens Road)
Finish at the R617, Swartberg Bridge at the Drak Gardens turn off.


Day 2 Start:
Olde Duck Café (1 Km along the Drakensberg Gardens Road)
Finish at Early Mist Farm along the second Coleford Road.




Sani Spoors GWK MTB Challenge:


Day 1 Start:
Restmount (23 Km along the Drak Gardens Road).

Finish at the R617, Swartberg Bridge at the Drak Gardens turn off.


Day 2 Start:
Glenhaven Camp along the first Coleford Road.

Finish at Early Mist Farm along the second Coleford Road.




Sani Spoors GWK Trail Run:


Day 1 Start:
Restmount (23 Km along the Drak Gardens Road).

Finish at the R617, Swartberg Bridge at the Drak Gardens turn off.


Day 2 Start:
Glenhaven Camp along the first Coleford Road.

Finish at Early Mist Farm along the second Coleford Road.



Cut – Offs: 12.00

Cut off   for day 1 will be at 12.00 at Ekerolds water table at the Eurosteels waltzing bridge and at Glenhaven on day 2 at the GWK water table. We request that riders who are stopped or redirected onto the shorter course respect the decisions made. It will be for your own health and safety.



Ian Kynoch Sprint

To add a bit of a difference and excitement to the race we will be having a seeded sprint over a kilometre with a timing mat at either end as part of the day two race. This sprint is in memory of Ian Kynoch one of our Sani Spoors members who sadly passed away whilst cycling last year. More details to follow!

Friday 20th January – 6.00pm: “Meet the Sponsors” and Landowners Evening

“Meet the Sponsors and Landowners” evening will be held at Sani Spoors (2kms on the Drak Gardens road) on Friday 20th Jan at around 6.00pm. It is hoped that after Registration which is at the same venue riders and runners will stay and mingle with our sponsors, landowners and other riders and runners and enjoy a few drinks and food that will be for sale at the Olde Ducke Restaurant.

You will be able to select your meat from our local butchery, Underberg Meat Supplies who will be present and then braai it yourself on the fires provided.



Batching: S A Seeding will be doing the batching for Day 1. It is for this reason that we encourage all entrants to make sure that if you have changed or plan to change your partner that the substitution is completed by midnight on the 15th January 2017

Batches will go off at 5 minute intervals.

Should you feel that you are batched incorrectly please will you bring proof to substantiate your claim, to the registration on Friday so we can consider your concern.  NO changes will be made on race day.

Any rider moving up a batch without prior approval will have a 1(one) hour time penalty added to their team time.

Late Substitutions.   Substitutions after close of entries at midnight on the 15th will cost R 200.These will be entertained from 16h00 on the day of registration.

It is critical that should you change your partner that the substitution is done on the system as the full race entry file containing Medical and Ice numbers are given to the medical team.

 Medical and Safety

IPSS under Doctor Grant Lindsay will be handling any medical issues.

ICE arm bands with contact telephone numbers will be issued to all competitors at registration.

We must stress that the race is challenging and technical in nature and we request that riders ride at speeds suitable to their capabilities. We really want to avoid any accidents.


We would like to request that you all install the mySOS app onto your phones so that in case of emergency, whether it is for yourself, your partner or fellow participant assistance can be called.

Links to install the MySOS will be forwarded to you shortly

For any further details or queries please contact:  support@mysos.co.za or Elja Van Urk on 0828570085

Administration Issues

Unfortunately, as with most matters in life, there are the inevitable admin issues to be handled :-

  1. Cycling SA - Day Licenses

As the Drak Descent is a Cycling SA sanctioned event there is a legal requirement on Sani Spoors, as the race organisers, to collect CSA Day Licenses at R35 per day (or R70 for the event) from anyone who is not licensed with Cycling SA for 2017 It is up to each rider to be able to prove at Registration that they have purchased a 2017 Cycling SA license – or they will have to pay the R70 prior to us being able to issue them with a race number board.

Prizes and Prize Sponsors

As advised on the Sani Spoors webpage there will be no cash prizes awarded.  There will however be product prizes handed out at the end of day 2 for the top Men’s, Women’s, Mixed and junior winners, second and third positions.

Sani Spoors is also sponsoring product prizes on both Day 1 and Day 2 - to the first three men and women in both the Fun Ride and the Trail Run.

Two exciting lucky dip prizes will be drawn registration and at prize giving on Day 2 - from all the stage race and the MTB challenge and trail run entries  

Emergency Spares and Bike Repairs

Good news is that Howick Cycle and Gear, represented by Travis Boden (076 913 3879) and Sean Symons (072 454 7689), will be present at Sani Spoors from Friday afternoon/evening to assist you with minor bike maintenance and repairs. Howick Cycles will be providing the chain lube for the water tables.

 Farm Equipment and Garden Centre (033 - 701 1119) in Underberg (next to the Shell Garage and KFC) also stock basic cycle spares and equipment.

Water Tables

We will have two water tables on day 1 and two on day 2 as well as the river along a large portion of the route. This is a lot for the distances but once again we must stress it is a challenging route.

We do warn that we have been experiencing days of extreme heat and request that riders and runners take their own liquid and not to rely solely on the water tables.

The river is also a real option for filling up water bottles if desperate, but a real way to cool down if you feel you are overheating. (Just watch out for canoeists who definitely have the right of way in the river)

Vehicle Shuttles

Please consider

We would like to encourage riders to make use of the Shuttle Service offered by Underberg Education Academy.  It alleviates traffic and contributes to the bursary fund for less privileged Learners that attend the School.



Alien Plants

The Sani Spoors team would like to thank all competitors who have made a contribution towards eradicating alien plants along the route. We would also like to thank Mike Streetfield at Farmers Agricare for the chemicals he has donated



The Eurosteel organising committee would like to appeal to all riders / runners to refrain from riding or running on any of the route other than the tracks forming part of Sani Spoors.

We have got permission from landowners along the route to use the tracks on the race days only and persons using the tracks illegally are putting the whole race in jeopardy.

In conclusion

Thanks to you all for the wonderful response to the Euro steel Drak Descent. Interest in the ride has been fantastic and we are sure that all will be in for a great two days of riding, running and fun.

If you hear that your team mate has not received an email Newsletter please ask him/her to email me their correct email address. We have had a fair amount of difficulty with some of the emails coming back “Undelivered”.

Otherwise, 16 days to go (no festive season excuses anymore!!) and watch your emails and Facebook for more updates. We are looking really forward to hosting you in Underberg for a ride that promises to be challenging, exciting and beautiful. Our target at the start of preparation for this year’s route was to prepare a route that we felt 90% of riders would be able to ride 90% of the way. We think we are achieving this.

Derek Christie and the Sani Spoors Team



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

My Profile My Forum Content My Followed Content Forum Settings Ad Messages My Ads My Favourites My Saved Alerts My Pay Deals Settings Help Logout