Cycling

Scottburgh route adds interest

2011-06-13 14:33
Ready, Steady... GO! (File)
Scottburgh - Mountain bike enthusiasts are itching to try out the tweaked course for the hugely popular Sappi Scottburgh MTB this weekend that offers a unique south coast flavour.

The prospects of cycling past crocodiles or catching a glimpse of the spectacular fish eagle whilst overlooking the magnificent south coast ocean are just some of the reasons the event continues to attract MTB enthusiasts from around the province.

“We have quite a few very unique aspects to our race which brings something special to the overall experience,” said course designer Flavio Scarpa.

“I don’t think there is another race on the globe where you could cycle alongside a crocodile enclosure like our riders do when they head through Crocworld.”

“A couple of years ago we had the most insane butterfly experience. As our riders came through the forest millions of beautiful butterflies suddenly took off. The trees just came alive. It was the most incredible sight!” he added.

Scarpa, along with race director Billy Harker, has been hard at work to ensure the track is in tip top condition come the firing of the starter’s gun on Saturday 18 June.

“We’re working flat out at the moment,” said Scarpa. “We’ve kept the track fairly similar to last year’s however we’ve tweaked and adapted a couple of sections which should take the riders on an even better journey,” he added.

Some of these changes see the riders doing some sections the other way round compared to previous years but the popular finish on Scottburgh’s main beach remains unchanged.

“One of the notable changes sees Sean’s Beast done in reverse this time and so with it now being downhill I’m sure many are breathing a sigh of relief. However, with the recent rains, this may well prove to become rather technical!” warned Scarpa.

“It’s one of the most beautiful finishes to any mountain bike race,” said Scarpa. “The last stretch through Farmer Glen’s farm, onto the conveyer belts on the beach and across the finish line is just fantastic.”

With the race aimed primarily at the novice to intermediate rider the course is manageable and gives the inexperienced rider a great opportunity to enjoy a variety of surfaces and scenery.

“The course is a superb mixture of everything. It has everything you could ask for from a mountain bike race!” said Scarpa. “It is the perfect opportunity for someone just getting into to mountain biking and test the waters.”

Race director Billy Harker agrees. “The race is moderately difficult and positioned at the rider who is not interested in pushing their bike through soft sand or rocky bits.”

“However, last year’s top guys described the course as “fast but still tough” and this goes to show there is also plenty to keep the experienced campaigners interested,” he added.

The course for the 2011 Sappi Scottburgh MTB race sees riders gather on the grass banks at Scottburgh main beach before heading through a ‘neutral zone’ to the race start at Renishaw sugarcane farm.

An early climb should spread the field and takes riders to the first hot spot at Sunrise Surprise and then it's on to one of the notable changes at Sean’s Beast which sees the previously tough climb now done in reverse.

Riders then head through the cane fields once more before enjoying some great single track through the forest which builds to the magnificent Riverview crossing where the spectacular sight of fish eagles nested in the nearby trees is not uncommon.

With the Clansthal lighthouse directly ahead of them, riders turn right and head into the ‘Environmental Zone’ of Crocworld where organisers have urged participants to slow down and admire the beauty of the monster crocs for just a second.

Having conquered Morning Glory, the final hill of the day, all that’s left for competitors to do is soak up the magnificent final 2km downhill stretch which takes them through Framer Glen’s farm and before heading for the finish line back on the main beach where friends and family await.

The Sappi Scottburgh MTB race takes place on June 18 and forms part of the three-leg Scottburgh Winter Solstice Festival.

More information can be found at www.roag.co.za or www.surfski.co.za

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