Action-packed MTB weekend ahead for Somerset West

This weekend will see a combination of both Cross-country and Downhill mountain biking disciplines take place as the second round of the Stihl 2016 SA XCO Cup Series takes place on Saturday 27 February, and the Western Cape DHI Provincial, which doubles as the first round of the SA National DHI Cup, takes place on Sunday 28 February at Helderberg Farms in Somerset West.

For the cross-country race, the UCI Category 1 rating for Pro Elite Men and Women aims to attract not only local, but international cross-country heroes to the event, with all-important UCI points on offer for Olympic qualification.

There was a great international showing of riders at the Western Cape XCO Provincial at the weekend, and the hope is that they will test their talents against some of the nation’s top cross-country specialists on Saturday.

Online pre-entries are open, and close at midnight tonight (Tuesday 23 February 2016). Click here to enter: https://entries.cyclingsa.com/events/4441-sa-cup-series-xco-2. Late entries will be accepted at registration, with a nominal charge of R50 in addition to the entry fee.

For event information and route map, please visit http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-mtb-cup-series/, or contact Dellah Paul on 082 781 5656 (for administration info). Please see the revised Programme of Events here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/s/20160222_SA-XCO-2-2016-Program-V01.pdf

For 2016, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal will use two of their downhill provincials to double as SA Cup events; one of these events is this weekend’s provincial at Helderberg Farms. The results will be used for selection and towards a SA Cup Series.

Home grown international downhill hero, Andrew Neethling, chats about the hard work behind the trails and courses for XCO and DHI at Helderberg Farms: “These guys have been working tirelessly to build unbelievable tracks for everyone to enjoy. We’ve upgraded about 90% of the already-existing trails, and the course has an offer for any skill level.”

Although mentioning that this is not a new mountain to MTB specialists, Neethling added that the efforts put in and upgrades to the tracks will certainly be appreciated on the day of the DHI National. “This is on the same mountain that we have held provincials and local races before, but there has been a lot of work put into this. Looking at it, I’d say that it’s one of the most technical, world-cup standard courses in the country,” he said.

“We’ve got a great rock garden on the top. It’s a very steep but flowing course, and there is a massive mixture of terrain - which keeps it so exciting. There are some chicken runs for those not too keen to take the technical, so it’s really a track for everyone,” he concluded.

The venue does tend to embrace the African sun and does not offer too much shade, so sunscreen is a must for all who attend.

Registration for the downhill will take place on Friday 26 February from 12:00 to 16:00 (late entries accepted) and Saturday 27 February from 07:00 to 13:00 (late entries accepted). No late entries will be allowed after 13:00 on Saturday.

There will be practice on Saturday from 08:00 to 16:00, and Sunday from 08:00 to 09:30 with the seeding run beginning at 10:00. Depending on the amount of entries, the race run is scheduled to begin at 12:00.

Online entries for the DHI are open, and close at 22:00 on Wednesday 24 February. To enter, click here.

ENDS