Course shake-up for Eston MTB challenge

2014-07-12 00:00

ORGANISERS of the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge have decided to mix things up and make substantial changes to the route of one of the country’s most popular one-day classics that gets under way at the Eston Club on August 3.

The challenge of remaining contemporary is something that Illovo Eston MTB Challenge chairperson Ant Foster and the rest of the course designers believe has led to the changes that have been made. And following years of successful trails, Foster believes the new route will be just as popular.

“You always want to stay current and fresh,” he said. “But, we still want a route that caters for the top guys and for the people at the back of the field, therefore we have made the changes accordingly.

“I am happy with the way it has turned out and think we have done the right thing.”

Having almost entirely reversed the course this year, Foster still believes it has the same charm it has enjoyed in the past. The balance of the course remains the same with some tricky sections but a lot of enjoyable riding.

“The major difference is the direction which we have changed completely. The same sections of track are used but are approached from a different angle.

“You still have to work hard in the opening sections of the 60 km marathon but then there is a great single track to play around on and enjoy.

“A few years ago, single track was quite original but now all races use it. I believe if we are going to use single track it has to be the best and from races like Sani2c and Karkloof, we know what to expect from our single track,” said Foster.

The 40 km aQuellé Half Marathon route for the 2014 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge has been changed as well, with more single track added, but one specific change has got Foster excited, hoping it will draw more riders to the event.

“The 40 km race is also popular and we wanted to give riders something different this year. What we have done is taken the riders along a route that takes them behind a waterfall.

“With the lack of rain, it isn’t flowing too fast at the moment but I think that it’s a novel idea and I can’t think of other races that allow the riders to ride safely behind a waterfall. There are no major drop-offs and our philosophy is that everyone should be able to ride it,” he said.

The Illovo Eston MTB Challenge’s 60 km Illovo Eston Marathon, 40 km aQuellé Half Marathon, 18 km Tala/aQuellé Family Ride and the 10 km Stihl Kids Ride take place at the Eston Country Club on Sunday, August 3.

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