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Illovo Wartburg MTB Classic

[image] 28 January 2015

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Race Report: Illovo Wartburg MTB Classic 22 February 2014

Perfect conditions for some really amazing racing! Light drizzle on Friday settled the dust, and thecool cloudy conditions on race day helped to set some record times. As the clouds burnt off, theless-sharp end of the field welcomed the refreshing sponsored aQuellé handed out in the racevillage. Heaps of bikes and riders littered the finish areas and lots of war stories were overheard.

The full race results will be posted on our time-keepers website (www.elitetiming.co.za), but a fewof the highlights will be mentioned here. For those who set their new 10km PB in the Spar trail runthis year, well done! The route was shortened (to 8.55 km) at the last minute to cut out a marshysection, but your secret is safe with us. In the Spur 10km Fun ride, the standout performance wasthe first boy Daniel van der Watt, who was so far ahead that he had almost got his breath back,stopped shaking and had some colour return to his face by the time second place arrived. In theBP/Supa Quick 25km ride, to cherry-pick from the results, I would say the performance of the daywas that of Tiffany Keep who came close to embarrassing all the boys with a sterling ride. AlanHatherly took 11min off last year’s 45km time. Some would give the perfect weather and trackconditions credit for this, but if you saw this young man finishing, you would know that this superblyfit young athlete still had a lot left in his tank and was untouchable on the day. The racing up front inthe premier event of the day, the Illovo 65km Marathon, is always the talking point of a race report.We bow in absolute amazement at the performances that placed the men and woman on thepodium. Travis Walker, Rourke Croeser and Derrin Smith in the men and Jeannie Bomford, NatalieBergstrom and Jackie Church in the ladies.

The 10th edition of the Wartburg Classic was a resounding success from many aspects of the race.We received many compliments on the race, which means that we probably have the right balanceof distance, technical difficulty, single track and open farm roads. Strangely, one of the revelations ofthis year’s race was the excitement surrounding the concept of the dirty double (the multi-sportoption of combing the times of the 10km trail run and 25km MTB), and perhaps this is something wecan build on for the future. As race organisers, we have stumbled upon an incredible synergy withour new title sponsor Illovo, and we hope that together we may be able to do great things for thelocal community and MTB in years to come. From a fund raising perspective (the race is one of theprimary fundraising events for Wartburg Kirchdorf School), the race makes a significant contributionto the bells and whistles we can offer at our school and we are thankful to MTB’ers for supporting usin numbers. A good school has a ripple effect throughout the community and impacts propertyvalues and job opportunities. We are also looking forward to making a contribution to a lessprivileged school at Windy Hill on your behalf. If you ever doubt the impact that your support canhave on someone less fortunate, then perhaps this next story would change your view.

In our 2011 Wartburg Classic a young cow-herd named sThembiso entered the 45km classic in armyboots riding an old road bike. His skinny road tyres were no match for the tough course but hemanaged to finish with much help from the sweeper. The sweeper later donated a mountain bike tosThembiso, and many others helped with lifts to races, servicing of his bike and acquiring more race- appropriate clothing and shoes. Well, one thing has led to another and he is now part of MartinDreyer’s ‘Change a life academy’. That first small act of charity by our sweeper has really changed his life. He has since flown in his first aeroplane to a race and managed a top ten finish in the Illovo Wartburg 65km Marathon this year. Earlier he had heard that our sweeper was struggling with ill- health so he paid him a visit and reciprocated the kindness he was shown by presenting the sweeper with his most prized possession; his shiny new Wines2Whales medal. How cool is that story? Come on mountain bikers, we can make a difference!

Finally, a massive thank you: again to all our sponsors (listed in our sponsors page) for making thisrace possible; to the landowners (Hillermann Brothers, the Meyer and Wittig families, HolleyBrothers, SAPPI) for allowing us access to cut and use track; to the residents and plot owners ofWartburg for tolerating the cyclists’ parking indiscretions; to Ganga our safety officer and the localmunicipality, traffic police and SAP; to the staff, pupils and parents of the school for helping out onthe day; to the race committee for months of dedication, careful planning and commitment (Marie,Charles, Pete, Gigi, Sonja, Kathryn, Craig, Jean, Gerald, Mark and Dave). Thank you for making thepilgrimage to Wartburg this year, and I look forward to see you all again next year.

Antony Jarvie

Race Committee

5 comment(s)

Martin Schoeman
This was the best race ever.Everthing was just perfect.Well done to the guys and girls who made this an amazing experience.Best route best markings.Will not skip this race ever again.Thanks to everybody who made this a very special event.

Rory Nossiter
Awesome race with a good mix of single track and breather sections in between. We were a group of nine mates who train together and everyone sung the praises of this event!

A big thank you to Gareth and Grant who assisted me with a chain break during the race. Cheers guys thank you very much and thank you to the host for a great event.

Scott Pearmain
Perfect!!!! Thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors and ROAGsters!!!

Excellent event! As always!
Interesting and a challenging route.