Trails return to their roots for 25th Karkloof Classic

2018-05-23 06:02
PHOTO: supplied The beautiful, swooping trails of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival have been given a revamp in 2018 as trail builder Hylton Turvey takes riders back to the familiar trails for the event coming up over the weekend of May 26 and 27.

PHOTO: supplied The beautiful, swooping trails of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival have been given a revamp in 2018 as trail builder Hylton Turvey takes riders back to the familiar trails for the event coming up over the weekend of May 26 and 27.

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THE KwaZulu-Natal Midlands gem that is the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival will take its famous trails back to their roots as the event celebrates its 25th anniversary over the weekend of May 26 and 27.

The Karkloof trails have become famous over the decades for being accessible and enjoyable for hardcore mountain bikers as well as beginners. In recent years there has been a significant switch in the trails but trail builder Hylton Turvey is nostalgically taking riders back to the original route.

“Last year was the first year that we didn’t use the Lebanon section of the trail for the 60 km marathon and we are going to use it again this year,” Turvey said.

“It’s such a popular part of the Karkloof trail network and we have changed things back this year quite significantly. “We have also changed the trail coming down from Lebanon and this year it is going to be a very unique and special bit of trail that will take riders through natural forest and grassland.”

Due to the nature of the Sappi plantations that form a crucial part of the trail network around the Karkloof Country Club, Turvey has had to change some sections of trail as plantation harvesting takes priority.

“There are sections that we have included this year that have been out of action for the past few editions of the race. “Especially for the trail runners, there is a lot more trail involved because we were told that that was an area we needed to improve on.”

“A Canadian film maker by the name of Matt Hunter came to Karkloof and we took him through the Bat out of Hell section and we needed to get it back on the Karkloof route. “We have made a few changes to it and we are calling it Sisonke, which means we are all together in Xhosa.

“It’s named after my brother, who was pretty influential in the reworking of the trail there and we are glad to have it back in the race,” Turvey added.

“We will set up the course for the 40 km race around the club where we have set up some new trails as well as incorporating a stretch of track that we haven’t used since 2015. We are lucky to have such a huge expanse of trails and hope that this year will be another exciting year,” Turvey added. — Supplied

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