Ex-Bok tackles MTB race

2014-05-21 12:06
Jeremy Thomson (Photo: Pierre Tostee/Gameplan Media)
Howick - Former Springbok and Sharks centre Jeremy Thomson is looking forward to returning to one of the truest mountain biking challenges on the KwaZulu-Natal calendar when he tackles the 40km feature race of this year’s Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday, June 1.

With 2013 race winner and former Kargo Pro MTB Team member Patrick Belton having opted to hang up his cycling cleats early in 2014, the men’s title race is wide open with numerous KZN Classic top 10 regulars putting up their hands to claim this year’s spoils.

It is unlikely that Thomson will feature amongst the leading front bunch come race day, but the former rugby star and evergreen MTB performer is excited to return to the popular event nonetheless and enjoy the sights and trails of the Howick region.

“The Sappi Howick Classic is one of my favourite events on the calendar,” exclaimed the 46-year-old Thomson.

“Having been schooled up at Maritzburg College, the area is one I hold very close to my heart.

“I always love being able to head back to that part of the world whenever I get the chance so I’m really looking forward to heading back to the Sappi Howick Classic again this year, especially after missing last year’s race.

“The event is one I’ve supported for quite a few years now as I really enjoy how both the club and the event are run by the local community themselves and so it’s great to head back there each year and be a part of things."

The route for both the 40km Classic event as well as the 20km SPAR Intermediate Ride are known for the tough yet rewarding nature and this true mountain biking challenge is another aspect Thomson struggles to ignore.

“With me now being sponsored by Patrick Morewood’s PYGA Bikes, we often cycle the fantastic trails through Howick and surrounds when we’re testing bikes and they really are such a treat!

“The Howick Classic has lots of rocky, technical sections, which allows us regular mountain bikers to really test our skill levels and is something I really enjoy about the race.

“It also has a great mix of technical sections, manicured single track, climbing and then, of course, that great descent down to the finish,” added Thomson.

Despite unlikely to mix it up at the front of the race, Thomson’s familiar figure will be far from out of place just a little way back as he, whilst always prioritising safety, looks to add yet another solid performance to his long list of impressive Howick results.

“The Howick Classic is a race that I have always enjoyed and, for whatever reason, have always done quite nicely at and had some good finishes there in the past.

“I’ve won my age category a couple of times and stood on the other steps of the podium a few other times too.

“At this year’s race, as always, I’ll be hoping to have a safe ride first and foremost. Then, as you soon learn in mountain biking, anything can happen out there but hopefully I can be up there.

“I’m just starting to come into a little bit of good form now and I’ve got the Compendium MTB Derby in Hillcrest this weekend and will be good preparation for Howick, so we’ll wait and see how things go for me on the day next Sunday,” added the widely recognised and well-liked personality.

The Howick event offers participants the choice of the 40km Sappi Howick MTB Classic, 20km SPAR Intermediate Ride or the 10km Fun Ride and takes place at Howick High School on Sunday, June 1.

Read more on:    mountain biking

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