Annual Illovo Eston MTB Challenge
Eston – The 18km STIHL Tala Family Ride remains a key attraction of the annual Illovo Eston MTB Challenge, which takes place at Eston Farmers’ Club on Sunday 7 August, as mountain biking look to safely adventure through the spectacular wilderness of Tala Collection Private Game Reserve alongside family and friends.
While the sport’s top snakes battle it out for the overall spoils in the 60km Illovo Eston Marathon – the feature race of the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge – scores of riders young and old are expected to enjoy a slower paced, family-orientated time in the saddle during the 18km exploration through Tala.
“Tala is unusual as a Private Game Reserve in that it does not practice a policy of exclusivity but rather encourages daily outings with family and friends,” explains Tala Collection Private Game Reserve General Manager, Mike Nunan.
“Thus the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge, and the 18km STIHL Tala Family Ride in particular, fits perfectly into our philosophy of spending time with family in a safe conservation environment pursuing healthy activities,” he adds.
Parents and their children, novice mountain bikers and social weekend warriors alike all look forward to another chance to enjoy the bushveld’s trails and pathways while spotting the reserve’s variety of game from a distance, all in the safety of the Tala rangers’ watch.
“Tala has a long association with the Eston MTB Challenge and welcomes the opportunity to expose our reserve to the cyclists and supporters on race day again this year. It is all about family and friends enjoying themselves in a safe environment, all of which also contributes to our conservation efforts at Tala.”
With the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge’s four events – 60km Illovo Eston Marathon, 40km aQuellé Half Marathon, 18km STIHL Tala Family Ride and 10km Omnia Kids Ride – offering a wealth of off-road adventure options, Nunan urges friends and families to enjoy themselves and make a day of the trip to the Eston region.
“Have fun, be safe and respect the wonderful environment through which you cycle!” encourages Nunan. “And once you’ve had a great time in the saddle, why not come visit us at Tala and enjoy a meal at Aloe Restaurant or a snack at the Rock Pools Tuck Shop?” he adds.
The 2016 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge takes place on Sunday, 7 August. Entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za and more information can be found at www.illovoestonmtb.co.za.
Illovo Eston Mtb will see Olympian Reid at Start
Olympian Reid seeks fast & fierce Eston Marathon
Eston – Defending champion James Reid has confirmed he will be on the start line of this year’s 60km Illovo Eston Marathon, the feature race of the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge on Sunday 7 August, before jetting off to Rio de Janeiro less than a week later to represent Team South Africa at for the 2016 Olympic Games.
The 23 year-old Team Spur athlete was recently confirmed alongside youngster, Alan Hatherly as the country’s two male cross country mountain bikers to compete at Olympics and Reid hopes a competitive outing at the popular Eston event will be the perfect final hit-out.
“I grew up here in KZN and I finally won the Eston race last year,” explains Reid. “Hopefully I can go there again next weekend and replicate all those good feelings and try get another good result before I head off to Rio. It will be nice to have Alan (Hatherly) at Eston too and it would be great to see guys like Max Knox and Phillip Buys possibly coming through for the event as well. Last year’s race was a really stacked field and it would be great to have another hard, fast race again this year. The more fast guys at Eston the better,” he adds.
Known for the speed at the front of the field, Reid believes the Eston event – although a marathon rather than a cross country race – will replicate many of the elements of a cross country event, serving as good preparation for his all-important Brazilian clash.
“Eston is always a super fast race and my winning time last year of two and a quarter hours is only approximately 45 minutes longer than a cross country race. It is always interesting with the King of the Mountain hotspot prize right at the beginning of the race and then there is usually a sprint finish – which I’m expecting will happen again this year.”
Having moved to the Western Cape shortly after matriculating from Kearsney College in 2010, Reid is currently back in KwaZulu-Natal for the final phase his Rio preparations.
“At this stage you’re looking for a simple, stable training environment and in the Cape you’re permanently playing dodgems with the weather at this time of the year and having to work your training programme. I also love being in KZN and with the snow and the rain this week hasn’t quite played ball, it is improving now and should be a great place to base myself for the last couple of days before I leave for Rio on 13 August.”
Through his Eston win last year and his recent crowning as national cross country champion, the Team Spur racer also brings good confidence with him into next weekend’s KZN Midlands event.
“The first five months of the year were action packed and was a fiercely contested qualification battle. I then went off to race in Europe for a bit and when I got back, somehow I managed to get it right for national champs – I was probably a bit on the euphoria of being selected for the Olympics. I managed to take a short break after that to try recover a bit and then it has been another big push for a couple of days here in KZN and it would be great to cap that all off with a good performance at Eston before I leave,” says Reid.