Growth of MTB in South Africa progresses

2017-07-20 06:01

MOUNTAIN biking is a growing phenomenon in South Africa and being enjoyed by young and old alike.

Just like in all sports, it requires strength, balance and skill to master a two-wheeled machine. |
You have to pull away from a standing position, in the middle of an eager group of peers, and maneuver your way through to the front of the batch, all while attacking various obstacles in the form of berms, jumps and glorious pieces of single track. While this description explains an exciting XCO or Marathon event, MTB is a sport that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

With the dawn of the new millennium, MTB in South Africa became one of the country’s most-loved sports. The first South African MTB events took place in the late 1980’s with the SA National MTB Cup Series taking place in 1992.

According to Meurant Botha, director of Amarider, the principal organiser of the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League (South Africa’s leading MTB tournament) the sport is “intense, but worth every kilometre”.
The Spur Schools Mountain Bike League was launched by Spur Steak Ranches and Amarider in 2009. The aim has been to provide the correct regional and national structure for the sport at school level.

“MTB has grown tremendously since its inception. We’ve come a long way since the first race in 1881. The Spur Schools MTB League somehow is a product of that race. The League has advanced so much and we are thrilled. The overall enthusiasm for the sport is growing among kids, and schools are now more open to offering the sport in school, which are two of our main objectives,” Botha says.

He explains the league aims to introduce school-going children to mountain biking and to encourage schools throughout the country to adopt mountain biking as one of its official sports. “We want this sport to develop in such a way that it’s recognised at school level as an in-school sport. It should fall into the same category as rugby, cricket, hockey and tennis, and kids should be motivated to participate,” Botha says.

For the league, high schools are encouraged to enter as many riders as possible to accumulate a large amount of points using a short and fast format; these points are awarded to each rider on completion of each race. The high school to finish top of the point’s log, at the end of each season, is awarded the region’s school champion floating trophy.

 The Spur Schools Mountain Bike League wraps up each season in October with the interschools final, which schools work hard to qualify for.
About 400 riders representing 60 schools from different regions are able to participate in the final at Magaliesburg on October 7 and 8. Here schools go head-to-head, moving the race away from the individual rider focus by using team strategies to accumulate points on the short and fast lap format. Recently the league started, including primary schools, in the racing categories of certain regions to “introduce a feeder system for the sport”. Now riders in the seven to 13-year-old age groups can experience the league.

For more information visit www.spurmtbleague.

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