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Van Eeden looks forward to new course in Karkloof Classic

Defending MTB champ

VNQSH Pro Cycling team rider Brendan van Eeden in action at the SA XCO Championships in Pietermaritzburg. Van Eeden will be back to defend his Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival MTB title on October 10. Picture: Gavin Ryan/Quickpix/Gameplan Media

After blasting onto the KZN MTB scene with his victory in 2020, rising star Brendan van Eeden has confirmed he will be back to defend his title at the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday, October 10.

His shock win last year started a succession of impressive results and set the 21-year-old product of Potchefstroom Gimnasium up as a force to be reckoned with on the local MTB racing scene.

Last weekend he came away with a sixth place at the national U23 XCO championships at The Cascades MTB Park and says he wants to focus his energies on the races remaining in the Quattro ROAG series.

Huge moment

“The Sappi Karkloof Classic win last year was a huge moment for me because I was new in the province and gave me great recognition and a real confidence boost,” said the VNQSH Pro Cycling team rider.

“I live in Hilton now and I ride the Karkloof trails a lot, so I am ready to come out all guns blazing for the Classic on October 10.

“It is really nice to see all these great races back after so many events had to be cancelled,” he added.

New MTB trails for Karkloof Classic

Brendan van Eeden will return for the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival MTB 2021 edition. Picture: Sane Louw/Gameplan Media

While he can claim to be a Karkloof local, the dramatically altered elite race will throw the race for the 2021 title wide open, as the shorter elite race sets off in the opposite direction to the familiar route that crests the Lebanon climb.

“It might make it a bit of a sprint!” he mused. “With my XCO background I love riding the Karkloof trails and I think the course will suit me,” said Van Eeden.

“I will miss the 60km distance but if there are plenty of punchy climbs on the new 45km route I will be smiling!” he added.

The 2021 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at the Karkloof Country Club on Saturday, October 9 and 10.

More info here

Entries are strictly limited

Saturday, October 9
7am: 18km Sappi Karkloof Classic trail run
7.30am: 9km Sappi Karkloof Classic trail run
8am: 45km Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB
9am: 20km Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB
1pm: Stihl Karkloof Enduro
Sunday, October 10
7am: 18km Sappi Karkloof Classic trail run
7.30am: 9km Sappi Karkloof Classic trail run
8am: 45km Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB
9am: 20km Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB

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