Exciting Howick MTB Classic on the cards

Exciting Howick MTB Classic on the cards

Howick MTB CLassic promises exciting activities this weekend

Quattro/ROAG rider Jedson Tooms will be back to try and defend his Sappi Howick MTB Classic 40km marathon title on Sunday, 4 March. Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

Howick – KwaZulu-Natal’s oldest mountain bike event, the Sappi Howick MTB Classic is set to shake up the KZN Midlands town of Howick this weekend as elite riders, weekend warriors and trail runners plan their assaults on the array of events on Saturday 3 March and Sunday 4 March.

With the introduction of two trail runs this year, the 10km and 20km, the weekend’s action has been given another element and will appeal to those that might not feel the inclination to jump on a mountain bike.

Once again Saturday’s action will see the adrenalin junkies take centre stage with the two Sappi Enduro events, the Heavy and the Light, providing riders with some heart stopping descents as they bomb down

2017 silver medallist Kathryn Fourie will be back again to fight it out for the enduro prize at the 2018 Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Saturday, 3 March. Gavin Ryan/Quick Pix

the well prepared tracks. Enduro heavyweight Kath Fourie is excited by the prospect of taking on bits of trail that have been off-limits and hopes that this will give the riders another exciting aspect to the days riding.

Due to the harvesting in the Sappi Shafton plantations in 2017 and 2018, many of the trails leading from the iconic Howick Fire Tower have been closed for ten months or more,” Fourie said. “What is great about the Enduro this year, is that these trails have been cleared and are open for the weekend of the Enduro only. New sections have been built joining fresh trails to old classics, the event will be a playground of super-tubing fun. I think half the field will forget they’re racing, purely because it’s going to be ear-to-ear smiles testing out all the new connections!”

Kiera Duncan, who was responsible for building one of the stages for the enduro, will be on the start line and will be eyeing out a win following his second place finish in 2017. Giba Gorge local Dylan Williams is also focussed on a strong ride, training across both the downhill and xc disciplines and growing his foot print in the sport. The final line-up for the men’s showdown might only take shape on Saturday morning, with a few riders such as local speedster Sam Bull expected to enter on the day.

In the ladies enduro there will be a full-on showdown for the women’s title on Saturday. The names are there for all to see; including Fourie, Kim Westbrook, Sabine Thies, Charné Dreyer and Joburg’s heavy swingers of Michele Reynolds, Louise Kotze and Wendy Odendaal. Thies is especially hungry after an unfortunate electronic time tagging incident in 2017, where she lost the time for one of her stages effectively knocking her off the podium. With little room for error this year, the race is sure to be hotly contested across the age groups.

The Sappi Enduro will once again form an integral part of the 2018 Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Saturday, 3 March. Gavin Ryan/Quick Pix

Defending champion of the men’s Sappi 40km Marathon Jedson Tooms will be back in 2018 while he will have tough competition from a number of angles on Sunday. Ever-green Jeremy Thompson will once again provide a fight for race title hopefuls while Andrew Johnson will also be in the market to claim the overall victory this weekend. Dean Wortman finished fourth in 2017 and will be hoping to break onto the podium at this year’s event.

The 20km Half-Marathon will once again provide riders with an exciting morning out on the trails. The route will offer the riders a mixed bag of trail and jeep track that will keep all the riders interested and entertained.

DATE: Saturday, 3 March and Sunday, 4 March
EVENTS: 5km, 10km, 20km Trail Run on Saturday
Three Stage Enduro on Saturday
40km Marathon, 20km Half-Marathon, 10km Fun Ride on Sunday.
ENTRIES: www.roag.co.za

More information can be found at www.howickmountainbiking.co.za or www.facebook.com/howickmtb.