Cyclists to race through wind farm

2018-06-14 06:01

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THE sixth edition of the JBay Wind Farm MTB Classic, one of the top events on the Eastern Cape off-road calendar, will pedal off at Kabeljous on July 14.

Featuring a 25km fun ride, 50km marathon and 85km ultra-marathon, the event caters for mountain bikers of all fitness levels.

All three routes will tra-verse the spectacular JBay Wind Farm, from which the race derives its name.

Riders will have the chance to ride along roads interspersed by 80m tall wind turbine towers, spread more than 500m apart. The wind farm site spans 3 700 hectares on which there are 60 wind turbines.

Over the past five years, organisers of the event have worked each year to innovate and improve both the routes and rider experience, with the 2017 event featuring an almost entirely new route that included large sections of singletrack.

The 2017 event was won by East London’s Jason Reed af-ter a closely fought battle with Max Sullivan from Stellenbosch. Reed eventually ma-naged to breakaway from Sullivan in the Wind Farm and claimed the victory (and the R10 000 first prize) in a time of 03:20:41. Sullivan came in se-cond (03:21:19), with 2016 defending champion, Ndumiso ‘Maza’ Dontso, rounding out the podium.

“It was a great mix of singletrack and jeep track,” Reed said of the route afterwards. “It was tough, rocky and technical with lots of corners, braking and accelerating. Definitely suited to ‘real’ mountain bikers,” he said.

In the 2017 women’s race, Yolande de Villiers successfully defended her title, finishing sixth overall in the 85km, in a time of 03:34:44. She also collected the R10 000 first prize. Three-time champ and darling of the Eastern Cape, Anriëtte Schoeman finished second, with Siska van der Bijl in third.

These and other big names are bound to be back in 2018 gunning for the top spot and equal men’s and women’s ultra marathon purse, however the main focus of the event is not on the racing snakes, but rather all levels of mountain bikers.

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