Double Youth Festival spectacle for north and south

The end of June will be a true celebration of the youth in cycling when two Youth Festivals will be hosted to cater for the northern and southern parts of the country. Kicking off the week is the Oudtshoorn Youth Festival from 29 June to 2 July, with the Badplaas Youth Festival running from 2-5 July 2015.

The objectives of the Youth Festivals are to focus on team and mass participation and to assist with the critical development and transformation goals of the provinces.

Event organiser, Corne Botha, says that preparations are running smoothly and there is a great buzz of excitement around next week’s festival. “There has been about a 10% increase in the number of entries this year. We have a huge amount of interest from the Western Province, quite a lot from the Eastern Cape, the Free State has been well represented, and of course Eden and solid numbers from the Cape Winelands,” he said.

Botha was thrilled to mention the new route this year, which is located near the Cango Caves. “It’s about 20km outside of Oudtshoorn, making it very safe for cyclists as there are almost no cars on the road,” he said.

He also mentioned that there are super meal deals available for riders and families at the top of the hill, and great packages on offer for riders and parents who visit the Caves, with riders also standing the chance to win voucher entry into the Cango Caves.

Minor changes to the Oudtshoorn Youth Festival format will benefit young riders more than ever before. The Road and MTB events will take place along brand new routes and a 1km hill climb replaces the Team Time Trial. This means that team composition for the revised format will be critical. Events will include Road Races, Hillclimb, Criterium, MTB cross-country (XCO) and MTB half- and quarter-marathon races.

“All-in-all we have catered for not only the young cyclists, but have made every attempt to accommodate the parents and spectators as well by making the courses spectator friendly and close to restaurants and amenities,” concluded Botha.

From Thursday 2 July, the attention will turn to the Forever Resort Badplaas for the annual Badplaas Youth Festival, now in its third year. The secret to the event’s success has been the free entry to compete, with year-on-year growth in participation since inception.

Designed to accommodate its neighbouring provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, North West and Limpopo will compete with host province Mpumalanga in four days of mountain bike and road cycling to encourage cross-pollination between the disciplines that caters for the u10, u12, u14, u16 and junior age categories.

The racing format is much the same as that of the Oudtshoorn Youth Festival, with the inclusion of the Team Time Trial event. Event organiser, Hendrik Wagener, has not been able to gauge the exact number of entries as yet due to riders not having to pre-enter, but says that he is expecting about 150 participants. “It is important to have an event just for the kids. In this way, we promote cycling skills development and encourage teamwork. And every race for every participant is free!”

Forever Resort Badplaas is located approximately 200km from Johannesburg, and this holiday destination is well known for their warm baths as well as their range of leisure activities for the family, such as game drives, and more. The resort has offered a 20% discount on accommodation to all competitors and their families connected to the Youth Festival event. When booking your reservation, please clearly state that you are there for the cycling event to claim your discounted rate.

More information about the 2015 Oudtshoorn Youth Festival can be found here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/s/20150506_Letter-Youth-festival-2015.pdf

For more information or to enter the Badplaas Youth Festival, contact Hendrik Wagener on hendrik@hatoere.co.za or call 082 741 1514.