Get in gear for the downhill biking season

2010-01-16 00:00

THE 2010 downhill mountain bike racing season begins tomorrow morning at World’s View, Pietermaritzburg.

Downhill racing is one of the disciplines within mountain biking that is represented at the World Cup Series and World Championship each year, attracting major sponsors worldwide and where riders like Pietermaritzburg’s Greg Minnaar have become world famous­.

The discipline of downhill racing incorporates a single trail that begins atop a mountain or hill, and descends to the bottom of the trail, where riders begin individually from a standing start and their “run” is timed from start to finish. This exciting, fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping sport is hugely spectator friendly, and spectators are welcomed to line the course for no entry­ fee at all.

To participate in the Greg Minnaar Mongoose Downhill Series, riders require a bicycle (preferably with suspension), helmet and protective gear. The more suspension, the better.

The route has been completely revamped and offers excellent spectator viewing for the first 800 metres. The track starts at the World’s View viewing sight with a two-metre rock drop, into sweeping right- and left-hand berms, over a six-metre hole jump and proceeds into the pine forests at speed. The track finishes near Howick Road in the vicinity of the municipal refuse dump, and has been designed to be fast-flowing. Although it will challenge­ the experienced riders, it also caters for the novice rider as other routes have been built as alternatives to the major technical obstacles.

The 90-second track (for the experienced riders) is rated as easy to difficult. It is an easy track when dry, however the difficulty level will increase with speed and if the conditions are wet.

Registration is open between 7.30 am and 10 am at World’s View. Practice is open between 8.30 am and 12.30 pm and the racing will start at 1.30 pm.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

The first event in the KwaZulu-Natal Cross-Country Series takes place next Sunday at the Stainbank Nature Reserve, Durban. For more information, phone Allegra Wykerd at 083 233 8768.

ROAD CYCLING

Competitive cyclists will be gearing up for the KZN Road and Time Trial Championships, which take place early this year on the weekend of February 6 and 7. For many though, the focus at this time of the year is on the Cape Argus Pick ’n Pay Cycle Tour on March 14.

The road league kicks off in Newcastle tomorrow with the Checkers and Waterside Cycle Challenge, which offers 100-kilometre, 65 km and 20 km races. For more details log onto www.cyclingkzn.co.za or phone Pieter de Bruyn at 082 343 7772.

For those planning their calendars, the Battery Centre Midmar Notts Cycle Challenge takes place on February 28 and offers a rare opportunity (on the local calendar) for cyclists to test their racing form ahead of the Argus.

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